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Formula One: Whitmarsh says McLaren won't give up on 2011

Fri, 21 Oct 2011

McLaren-Mercedes team boss Martin Whitmarsh says his team wants to win the remaining races of this season while also taking the opportunity to test development parts for its 2012 car.

Whitmarsh says that the conclusion of both the drivers' and constructors' title battles--with Red Bull Racing claiming both crowns--has made no difference to McLaren's approach.

“There's not been a great distinction,” Whitmarsh said on Friday ahead of next weekend's inaugural Indian Grand Prix. “We go racing to win, and, as I've said before, that's the firm intention we take with us to all remaining races on the calendar. We've made some good progress recently with the 2011 car, and we feel we have a car that can challenge for victory at all the remaining Grands Prix.

“While we're winding down the development of the [MP4-26] and ramping up development of [the] MP4-27, we still have a few more opportunities to track-test components and developments that can be carried over to next year.

“And we take plenty of positives away from the last two races. I think Jenson [Button's] win in Japan and Lewis [Hamilton's] drive in Korea were two of the best performances of their respective careers. Both drivers are motivated to win, and want to lead the team through these final few races and into the winter. There's a lot of positive energy back at [the McLaren Technology Center], and you're seeing that at the racetrack, too.”

Meanwhile, Whitmarsh said he thinks that the Indian Grand Prix will be a major event.

“Certainly, every new venue we visit is important to the sport of Formula One and to our partners, many of whom have a considerable presence in India and who are delighted by the prospect of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix,” he said.

“I think it's important that the world championship is fully represented on the world's stage, and a Grand Prix in India is certainly a very positive step. For Formula One, the most important thing is to educate, nurture and cultivate our audience. I firmly believe that Formula One is the greatest sport in the world and I want us to spread that word across the whole Indian subcontinent.

“Secondly, we want to take Formula One to the people. I know that our partners such as Vodafone are already very actively engaged in this activity in India, but I think we've done the right thing by establishing the circuit close to New Delhi. Initial impressions suggest the track will be a good one, with particular regard paid to close and exciting racing.

“And I'm also told that the prospect of the Grand Prix is causing a great deal of excitement within the city and the country as a whole.

“So I think we're doing everything right, and I sincerely hope we can walk away on Sunday evening having done a great job for the country and for Formula One.”

By Adam Cooper