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Whitmarsh: We really, desperately, hungrily want to win the championships

NEWS STORY
17/03/2012

Even though his drivers have locked out the front row for tomorrow's race, the Englishman refuses to be complacent, though he admits there is a definite buzz in the McLaren garage and back at base.

"I think you can sense it," he says. "It's a tremendous feeling of satisfaction, but again we've been around long enough to know that poles are great but that wins score points, and ultimately they're more enduring.

"The guys, both guys, did a fantastic job and great laps by both of them," he continues. "We deserve the front row, people have worked hard during the winter.

"It's all very satisfying but there are 58 laps of racing tomorrow. We always say it but it's true we've got two race drivers here so we've got to avoid mistakes, they've got to avoid mistakes as well, we've just got to be cool, not make any errors in our strategy, make sure we're reliable. It's certainly achievable to win here but taking a front row is a pretty nice feeling. We haven't done it as frequently as we would have liked to have recently so to be there for tomorrow is a great feeling for the whole team."

The Woking outfit already has a reputation for its furious rate of development, and this year has been no exception. "Firstly there was a very large upgrade package that is the most of what we've brought here," he admits. "Little bits and pieces, but we had a large upgrade package and we were quite satisfied with that. T

"Going forward, even if we can get a result tomorrow, which obviously we hope we can, we've got to get it first. Then, to win championships, you've got to improve on a race by race basis.

"Formula One now is such a competitive environment if we don't improve at a faster rate than our competitors then they will quickly overhaul us and a championship slips away. We've proven that we can improve quite a lot during a season, sometimes we've given ourselves an easy starting point; i.e. improvement was easy. Improvement when you've got a quick car is a little bit trickier, but I think there's quite a lot coming through the system at the moment."

Talking of developments, before he can be asked, the Englishman raises the issue which is over shadowing the paddock this weekend. "With regards to the flap or the DRS activated f-duct controversy, we're looking at some of those ideas," he admits. "I think there are some interesting things and one would imagine that they'll feature on cars as the year progresses.

"I think we've got a reasonable understanding of the system," he continues. "The packaging of a Formula One car is pretty tight so squeezing ducts and things through is hard work, but I think our engineers are usually pretty good at doing those sorts of things. What we've got to make sure though is that in trying to achieve the f-duct you don't compromise the fundamental, underlying performance of those aerodynamic parts, but I think it's not too challenging a job to introduce the various ducting if indeed you can find a solution that's going to give you a better solution."

Asked specifically about Mercedes, he replies: Martin: "I think there is an exception for DRS mechanisms and I think it's a part of that. I think they've used that exception to be able to operate an f-duct type device. Looking at the regs, that's what I think. I'm sure others will take a deeper look than I have."

Even if the MP4-27 isn't a championship winner, it is the best looking car out there, the new rules having produced some absolute stinkers.

"I don't think it's a question of right or wrong," he says. "There's no doubt which one looks best, but ultimately it's which one's quickest. I think you can pick on one individual aspect of a car and try and establish whether it's the right or wrong thing but I think the overall package is a range a different trade offs of the high nose that people were pushing with that particular design.

"In our view it's difficult for a driver to see out, and I think you can see some evidence that drivers are struggling to see out of their cars, judging by head positions. I think you also trade centre of gravity issues. We took a decision, we felt that was the right balance, the right position, and we are pleased the car looks good and is reasonably quick as well.

"We've got no points on the board yet," he adds, "hopefully we'll go away with some solid points tomorrow. Then we know we've got very, very competitive drivers and we're a competitive team. We really desperately, hungrily want to win the championships this year and as many races as we can along the way. So we'll be working hard to improve the car at every race.

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