McLaren chiefs to thrash out problems of car with ‘no pace’
JENSON Button believes there will be tough talking at a meeting of McLaren’s top brass today amid the team’s current woes.
Just four weeks ago in Canada, team-mate Lewis Hamilton grabbed victory to reclaim the lead in the championship. But two races later, Hamilton has crashed to 37 points behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso after a disappointing British Grand Prix in which both McLarens were hopelessly off the pace.
Button has endured his share of issues after a solid start, notably winning the opener in Australia. But after another sorry run at Silverstone, extending his woeful record to 13 races without a podium, the 32-year-old was left to point an accusing finger at an under-performing car.
Now 79 points adrift of Alonso, Button’s title hopes are all but over after collecting just seven from the last six grands prix, which means answers will be sought at tomorrow’s meeting at their headquarters in Woking.
Button said: “We’re fourth in the constructors’ (championship). That’s something we have to sort out because we can’t end the season there, or worse. We have to improve.
“We’ve a technical meeting tomorrow which will be a sombre one, but I’m sure everyone is going to be very aggressive about trying to improve this car. “We will get back to being strong. It’s just a matter of time. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later.”
At Silverstone, Button felt McLaren had slipped to the midfield, an alarming fall from grace given Hamilton’s win in Montreal. “We don’t have the pace of the top three teams. At the moment we are racing Williams, Sauber and Force India,” said Button. “I don’t feel they had the best weekend. If they had had a good day they would have beaten us, which shows we’ve a lot of work to do.
“We just didn’t have the pace [yesterday] and I think Lewis struggled more than I did with the car. When you see a car come past you like you’re stood still then it is a surprise, and you think ‘Well, how good does their car feel? It must be on rails all the way around’. I don’t know where we’re missing out. I don’t know how so many teams can be getting it right and we can’t.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has vowed a more visible upgrade package will be on the cars for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim on 22 July, notably pertaining to the top body at the rear.
The race will be Lewis Hamilton’s 100th in Formula One. As his contract expires at the end of the year, the question of whether he stays or leaves McLaren will soon arise. Whitmarsh, for one, is convinced a race such as yesterday and the team’s current slump will have no bearing on his decision. Whitmarsh said: “I think he’s smarter than that. He’s got to want to stay in this team, which I believe he does.”
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