McLaren: Tyre problems won t reoccur

lrg-1621-barc08-051McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh is confident that the tyre problems that hampered Lewis Hamilton in Turkey will not be an issue around the twisty streets of Monte Carlo.

The Woking-based outfit were forced to run Lewis Hamilton on an unconventional three-stop strategy in Turkey to avoid the risk of tyre failure.

Hamilton had struggled all weekend on the Bridgestone option ‘soft tyres, and his aggressive driving style added to the risk of problems in the race. The team were particularly cautious given the Briton s tyre failure at the Istanbul circuit in 2007.

“We are very confident that there will be no repeat of the tyre issues we experienced in Turkey with Lewis s car because the characteristics of the circuit are very different,” confirmed Whitmarsh.

“The levels of aerodynamic force that are generated on the tyres and the tyre construction are much lower and therefore there is no chance we will have that problem.”

But the McLaren chief acknowledged that the team will face a different kind of challenge around the legendary street circuit:

“At Monaco as we all work towards extracting the maximum performance from the tyres and the whole of the package, this historically leads to relatively soft compounds and this can provide a durability challenge, so a different issue but not one we are concerned about given the work we have done in this area with Bridgestone.”

McLaren spent the last week testing at the French Paul Ricard circuit with both Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen trialing the soft and super soft Bridgestone tyres the two compounds that the Japanese supplier will bring to Monaco.

Despite Hamilton s impressive charge to second place at Turkey, McLaren arrive at the principality with an increased gap to Ferrari in the constructors championship due in part to Heikki Kovalainen s race-ruining puncture in Istanbul.

Mercedes-Benz Boss Norbert Haug has shrugged off the deficit and insists that the Scuderia are well within reach.

“McLaren Mercedes have been closer to the leader on the challenging circuits of Barcelona and Istanbul than before in Malaysia and Bahrain.”

“Lewis is seven points behind, Heikki 21. Last year at a later time of the season Kimi Raikkonen had a greater gap to the top than our drivers now. The team has to improve further, and then everything is possible.”

Monaco has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for McLaren with the Woking concern having won the race five times, including a dominant 1-2 last year.