Q and A: Norbert Haug

norberthaug

Mercedes-Benz chief explains why McLaren are taking nothing for granted ahead of the season finale in Brazil

The situation for Lewis prior to the final race is the same as last year: he will arrive in Sao Paulo with a seven-point advantage. Don t you worry that it will again not work out with the championship?

“The title win is everything but a formality. For Lewis s title contender Felipe Massa there are in Brazil only a few drivers in the field who, according to the current balance of power, are able to challenge him for the race win; Lewis and Heikki are two of them. Of course, there are races with surprising conditions or Safety Car periods which can mix up the field, like in Singapore previously, and provide unexpected results. Lewis will be as focused as the team to score the necessary points in Brazil.”

Brazil is the home country of Lewis s title rival Felipe Massa. Does this mean a disadvantage for Lewis?

“Of course, the majority of the crowd will support Felipe at his home race in Brazil, this will be the same for him as it was for Lewis in Great Britain. What will count in the end will be speed, reliability, to avoid crashes, and the cleverness of team and drivers. We will focus on our job. We know, of course, that we have to work a lot until Lewis will be able to clinch the title.”

What is in favour of Lewis and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in the finale in Brazil?

“Four months ago, after the races in Canada and Magny-Cours, Lewis was 10 points behind the leader. In the following nine races he scored 17 points more than Felipe Massa. Lewis started from pole position five times and was second on the grid twice, which means that in the previous nine grands prix, he started seven times from the front row. In these races since July, our team won four times, Ferrari and Renault twice each, and Toro Rosso once; in these races we scored 87 points, Ferrari 65, BMW 61 and Renault 60. We now have to continue this trend in the final Grand Prix of the year. A task which we underestimate by no means.”