Next two races suit our car – Whitmarsh

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes the MP4/25 should be well suited to the next two tracks on the calendar.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Valencia street track both have long straights where the McLaren excels and few of the fast corners that suit Red Bull’s RB6.

Speaking during the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in he said:

We’ve got a few more development items on the car for this weekend. This ought to be where we are quickest.

It’s undoubtedly the case at the moment that the Red Bull is very strong in long, high-speed corners. Fortunately the next two Grands Prix don’t feature a lot of those. We hope that we’ll be strong there.

But of course while we’re developing our car we never know what Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari are going to turn up with. Maybe they’ll turn up with a larger step forward than us.

We’ve got a new front wing again. We had a new front wing as part of the package in Istanbul, that didn’t work, we think we’ve understood that so we’ve modified it and hopefully that will work.

We also have a new rear wing lower element and modifications to the diffuser. So we’ve got a reasonable aerodynamic package which we hope will take us a few steps forward.
Martin Whitmarsh

Whitmarsh believes that the team are now more than a match for Red Bull on race pace:

Red Bull still had an advantage on us in qualifying [in Turkey]. But I think it was clear in the race that we had a faster race pace which was very encouraging.

And I think that is down to solid work developing the car. We try to bring small, incremental improvements to the car on a continuous basis.

When you look at Red Bull’s package at Barcelona, it’s very easy to go looking for the ‘eureka’ development that’s going to catch up but in my experience you’ve just got to work away at finding downforce, reducing drag, improving the balance and that’s what we’ve done.

Red Bull haven’t stood still. They’re a good team and I think we pride ourselves on trying to quicker than our competitors, I think we proved that last year. We’ll try to do it to the end this year.
Martin Whitmarsh

He was also asked whether FOTA was supportive of calls for three-car teams. Whitmarsh said that was something that would only happen if the number of teams dropped. He would like to see it used to bring drivers like World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb into the sport.

It hasn’t been discussed recently. A third car is an idea if you get a reduced number of teams. FOTA is working hard to find ways in which we can encourage and allow all of the teams which are currently members – which is all of them – to flourish.

If you introduce a third car McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes would all be, probably happy to have a third car. But I think in fairness to the smaller teams it would only disadvantage them further.

So in the event that the number of teams in the sport dropped below ten – and we’re hoping it’ll be 13 next year – then I think it would be a fantastic opportunity, if we attached to the third car some regulations that encouraged some of the very competent but non-Formula 1 experts to participate. I think it would create some interesting spectacle and public interest.
Martin Whitmarsh

Read more: Hamilton?s engineer got it wrong over Button pass, Whitmarsh admits

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19 comments on Next two races suit our car – Whitmarsh

  1. Well MotoGP doesn’t suffer terribly from having sattilite teams, but I just don’t want it in F1, the fact that we have so many teams that all look somewhat different in the bike has always been a great part of F1. I think Whitmarsh laid down the law fairly sucsfully there. Three car teams will only be necassary once theres less than 20 cars on the grid.

    Seing as we might have 26 next year, we should be alright without.

    In other news, have McLaren made any noise about an exhaust powered diffuser? Seems to be the thing through the long fast corners.

    • Dan N said on 8th June 2010, 13:10

      Im sure I heard Christian Horner comment that it wasn’t that important, when told that Williams were copying the idea. What that tells you I don’t know, what with all the smoke and mirrors.

      • Untitled258 said on 8th June 2010, 15:06

        Yeh he did say that, but he is hardly going to turn around and say

        “Yup, williams are focusing on the exact area where we generate lots of extra downforce, they should totally carry on developing there, itll help them lots”

        • Dan N said on 8th June 2010, 19:10

          Exactly my point. Evertone’s seen how the Red Bull team cover to back of the car before the race. I thought Martin Brundle asking to see it a few races ago was a classic.
          If that is how Red Bull are doing it lets hope Williams get it to work well and improve their chances…

      • Oliver said on 9th June 2010, 12:23

        Exhaust powered diffusers are not a new thing. Matter of fact, all cars had them well into the 90s, It was the need to evacuate exhaust gases from higher performance engines, the mandatory 5cm thick planks and the stepped floors that hastened the move to above centerline exhausts.

    • Chris P said on 8th June 2010, 13:14

      Red Bull and STR were kind of factory and satellite teams in the past few years and STR beat Red Bull to the first win! So bring it on if team numbers dwindle.

      • The_Pope said on 8th June 2010, 13:52

        What’s happening with STR next year? I’m sure I recall something that was forcing Mateschitz to sell (other than he doesn’t need them really).

        • Glenn said on 8th June 2010, 14:33

          Well if the story of Paris Mullins being interested in buying out an existing team and partner with Ferrari. STR would be the logical choice. Either them or Sauber but STR seems like the likely candidate.

        • No, I don’t think Mateschitz has to sell. There aren’t any rules on how many teams one person can own as far as I recall.

          However, STR has been on the market quite openly for some time. This is because STR were forced to stop using Red Bull customer cars following the clarification of those rules in 2007 (they were given two seasons to make the transition to building their own car, which they have done this year). I guess the extra marketing/driver development benefit of having an additional team is outweighed by the cost of that team being fully independent.

          On a related note, I suppose one of the reasons why no one wants to buy STR is that it has to remain based in Faenza for a certain number of years (as agreed when Stoddy sold the team to Mateschitz).

  2. matt90 said on 8th June 2010, 15:39

    Having 3 cars does seem interesting, assuming at least 3 or 4 teams have them, and that they aren’t elligible to score constructors points- potentially not allowed drivers points either, so it becomes more about public interest and developing drivers rather than running the 3 top drivers in a single team. If this was the case, the only real downside I see is the current lack of space on the grid (no bad thing at all really, just bad for the possibility of running a third car) and the third cars taking points away from drivers trying to score vital WDC points, especially in the case of backmarkers trying to score their first few.

    • matt90 said on 8th June 2010, 15:44

      (plus, rules on the number of drivers in the main 2 cars could remain at 4, but a much larger number be allowed for the third car, to encourage giving young drivers a sample of F1.)

  3. giorgio said on 8th June 2010, 18:41

    nothing mentioned about the incident between Button and Hamilton?

  4. Electrolite said on 8th June 2010, 22:49

    It’s done and dusted, surely?

  5. gDog said on 9th June 2010, 4:24

    Keith, any news on the ‘illegal’ Red Bull suspension that has now been banned. I might be imagining it but I’m sure I read somewhere that the Red Bull rear suspension has been illegal since the start of the year, and the FIA has finally noticed and made Red Bull fix it. I cant find anything in the archive now though. Think it was something to do with the angle of the suspension arms relative to the floor plane being too great, allowing them to be used as downforce generating devices – I think they’ve been forced to replacing the aerodynamic shape of the wishbones with plain round section.

    It’s quite possible this is a) old news and I cant find the article anymore, b) a figment of my imagination, or c) I’m stirring.

    • macahan said on 9th June 2010, 5:46

      stirring yes. old news yes. figment of your imagination maybe in a way.. Nothing illegal per say with the suspension but yes in Turkey it was found some of the members that makes up the suspension was aerodynamic shaped which apparently is a no no so they had to correct that basically by removing the shaping and make them plain vanilla round members. Personally I don’t see why that would be such a big no no in the regulations it’s not like it helps THAT much compared for example the blown rear wing which in a way violate the rule about flexing wings but of course the idea is to lower the aero reliance so guess need to start somewhere.

  6. A great piece of prose about Ferrari by Daren Heath:

    “…Team technical director Aldo Costa must be a worried man. Technology is, after all, not an excuse to relax or rely on computers; design is very much about the ideas and the people who have them.

    And in Formula 1, if you don’t deliver you likely won’t last.

    Good team spirit plays its part in cushioning the effects of failure on underachievers, but the Italian team seem bereft of good news in that department, too.

    Perhaps the 2005/6 world champion is the problem?

    The Spaniard appears to wear a constant hangdog expression, skulking around with a dark cloud overhead as he strives to evade the Italian media.

    And imagine the toxic effect his never-ending mind games – so as to destabilise his nice-guy Brazilian team-mate – are having within the team.

    An example: Friday afternoon, Felipe Massa runs wide out of Istanbul Park’s awesome Turn 8, looks in his mirrors and waits for the following car to pass before rejoining the track. It’s Alonso and he ain’t letting this chance for some Machiavellian behaviour pass him by. Slowing to a crawl, he pulls up alongside Massa, turns his head and stares at this team-mate, just to let him know…

    Walk past the Ferrari garage during practice time and you’ll be sure to see the result of Fernando’s shenanigans. Felipe sits slouched and round-shouldered, with a downturned mouth, watching and waiting as his mechanics fettle his not-so-fast car, miserably contemplating the hell of it all.

    Oh yes, something needs to change…

    LINK: http://www.darrenheath.com/season/2010/turkey-2010/blog/stuck-reverse

    • Dianna said on 9th June 2010, 22:54

      Felipe was always happy with MS,very relaxed.Come to think of it,he has looked very unhappy in the Ferrari garage everytime they show him since the Spaniard walked in.

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