Whitmarsh expects no repeat of 2011 testing problems

2012 F1 season

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McLaren MP4-27, 2012

Martin Whitmarsh says McLaren should avoid a repeat of their poor start to the year pre-season in 2011.

Speaking at the launch of the McLaren MP4-27, Whitmarsh said: “We had, by anyone’s standards and McLaren’s standards, an abysmal winter testing session last year, where we didn’t have reliability or pace.

“It was really tribute to the fantastic team work, the engineers and everyone with the organisation to respond to the and arrive in Australia in a reasonable, competitive position, which I think surprised a lot of people.

“But it was a relatively stressful process so I’d be much happier to be not fighting those sorts of issues. We’ve put a lot of work into this car and we don’t think we’ll have a repeat of last winter.”

Whitmarsh added: “I’m sure it’s no surprise to everyone here that our goal is to win two world championships this year. That’s what we exist to do, that’s what we try to do every year. We don’t always succeed, it’s a very challenging, competitive series.

“We are there or thereabouts, we don’t like losing, coming second the last two years has had its frustrations. We’re proud of some great moments and some great moments in those years but ultimately we want to win and we want to win world championships.”

Whitmarsh moved to quell speculation over the future of McLaren’s engine arrangement. Engine supplier Mercedes are going into their third year of running their own team, and McLaren are gearing up their road car production programme.

But Whitmarsh denied there were plans for McLaren to produce their own F1 engines: “Firstly, we’ve got a great partner – we’ve been 18 years in partnership with Mercedes-Benz,” he said.

“They make probably the best engine in Formula 1 so the motivation to change is very limited, we enjoy that partnership and we intend to continue for a number of years.

“But I think ultimately Formula 1 is very powerful environment to promote a motoring brand and get brand exposure. We have no plans in the short term, medium term or long term to manufacture our own engines.

“I think we’re not trying to be a facsimile of Ferrari – we have great respect for Ferrari and what they’ve achieved. But we’ll do it our way and a feature of McLaren is having long-term, successful partnerships. We’ve got partnerships on [the MP4-27] in excess of 30 years, 27 years, and we’re very proud of the relationship with Mercedes-Benz.

“We think we bring value to their brand, we give them good exposure, good competition for their own team, and it works for both of us.”

He added: “People will speculate because of our road car programme, but at the moment it makes no sense for us.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Whitmarsh expects no repeat of 2011 testing problems”

  1. I’ve seen a lot of big talk from Mclaren and although they had a good end to 2011 I hope they don’t get too ahead of themselves. Anything can happen.

    1. Bet poor Hamilton´s head will explode is that hapenned…

    2. Big talk? I see no big talk here?

    3. Well, I personally think that Ferrari talks big much more than McLaren.

    4. Like Solo said, no big talk.

      What McLaren do every year is sound naively overenthusiastic. It’s what the non-expert press needs to hear, but we know it will (probably) come back to haunt them.

      Most people won’t remember, so it doesn’t really matter.

      “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” – Niels Bohr, Danish physicist (1885 – 1962).

      “The only way you can predict the future is to build it.” -Alan Kay, American computer scientist (1940- )

  2. I hope McLaren have a successful winter test, so they can arrive in Australia with a competitive package and really challenge the Red Bulls, rather than having to make radical changes in a short space of time.

  3. McLaren’s in season development has always the best. If they start level or ahead of Red Bull they will win both Championships no doubt.

    1. Yeah if this car behaves like they want to in testing then they got a god chance to give Red Bull a big competition and even take the titles.

  4. I wonder what the story behind the McLaren’s nose is? Did they experiment with the ‘platypus’ style seen on the Caterham and find it wasn’t as effective as lowering the entire front end, or did they always intend on going in this direction? It’ll be interesting to see how the other teams have interpreted the new regulations regarding nose height – are we in for a bit of variety in how the cars look?

    I know performance is paramount in Formula One, but McLaren’s style certainly looks a lot better than Caterham’s duck bill…

    1. I read (here, I expect) that the McLaren nose on the 2011 car was built to the 2012 specs so they could get to develop it fully – so they made their design decisions long ago. Of course I may be completely wrong…

  5. A team of McLaren’s calibre would be hard pressed to justify a move away from Mercedes, like he said, they undoubtedly have the best engine.

    Regarding testing, if I was any team other than McLaren I’d be begging for a disastrous testing period for them. They killed everyone’s expectations in Melbourne and delivered a deserved victory in China. They demonstrated their ability to dig themselves out of the mire in 2009 most impressively. Imagine if they could deliver a great car from the off? With McLaren’s track record for development, I’d be very afraid.

  6. Well of course McLaren won’t be expecting the problems they had last year.. afterall.. they weren’t expecting them last year either!

    1. Not too sure about that, after all they did take a big risk with the adventurous “octopus” exhaust thing last year so it was only to be expected that it would pose quite a challenge.

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