• ‘We decide to race with our drivers racing’
• We’ve also got a good harmony, Whitmarsh adds
McLaren’s team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, is convinced harmony is the key to winning both of this year’s Formula One world titles and he can clearly sense friction and discord in the camps of their main rivals, Red Bull and Ferrari.
Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have been at odds twice already this season, the bad feeling coming to the surface after the Red Bull pair crashed while running first and second in the Turkish grand prix and being intensified by the front-wing controversy this month at Silverstone.
At Ferrari, Felipe Massa must now be wondering about his worth to the team after being ordered to let Fernando Alonso past and into the lead during Sunday’s German grand prix at Hockenheim. It is clear Massa will now be expected to play rear gunner in Alonso’s title bid and, however sensible that approach is, it will be dispiriting for the Brazilian.
“We decide to race with our drivers racing,” Whitmarsh said ahead of Sunday’s Hungarian grand prix. “In the longer term, it is the healthy thing to do for this team. It is my decision and what we want to do, whereas others do what they want to do. That is up to them. Our modus operandi is simply to make our car as quick as we can, concentrate on that.”
Referring to the proximity of the three teams’ motor homes in the Hungaroring paddock, he added: “We’ve also good harmony in our team, possibly better harmony now than our neighbours.
We’re leading the championship but we have to accelerate the process of developing the car. Obviously I want to win this year’s world championship, and the right thing to do is to concentrate on what we do, how we do it.”
Lewis Hamilton, the championship leader, believes the feelgood factor at McLaren coupled with the bad blood at Red Bull and Ferrari will assist his team’s title ambitions. “For us, our harmony allows us to focus on our job,” he said. “It’s always tough in any part of life when you are trying to focus on one thing, and you’ve other things distracting you a little. As for us, we’ve all our resources focused on trying to hammer down, and that is a good thing for us.”
The Hungaroring, where Hamilton won last year and Jenson Button scored his maiden grand prix victory with Honda in 2006, should be a circuit more suited to the McLaren but the car’s lack of pace is a concern.
Hamilton, though, appears not too worried by the speed Ferrari showed, particularly in the hands of Alonso, in Germany. “We’re not at the point where we’re worried about people catching us up or anything like that,” he said. “We’re fighting for a championship so inevitably other drivers are going to be hunting us down. The only concern for myself, Jenson and the team, is our pace because we feel we should be quicker and we need to figure out where we are losing the time.”