Whitmarsh regrets McLaren mistakes

By on Sunday, November 4, 2012

Martin Whitmarsh has said that McLaren should have won a couple more championships during Lewis Hamilton's time with the team.

Hamilton has been one of the fastest drivers in 2012 but a series of mistakes and reliability woes have dropped him out of the race for the title.

With Hamilton moving on to Mercedes for 2013, Whitmarsh reveals that the team should have done a better job overall.

"We've still got an extraordinary record and have had some fantastic races, but between us, with Lewis and the team, we could have done a better job together than we did", Whitmarsh told the Daily Mail.

Whitmarsh clarified his comments in an interview with Sky Sports News.

""I know it's been cast this way this morning in the newspapers [that Hamilton was to blame] but what I said is, yes, he should have won more championships and we could have done a better job as a team", he said.

"We could have been more reliable, we could all do [more]. Lewis is part of this team so we don't point fingers at anyone. I was very clear in what I said about taking that responsibility but clearly it's more entertaining in the newspapers to cast it as I was suggesting Lewis hasn't done a good enough job.

"He's done a great job, we haven't always done as good a job as we'd like to, but we both know rather ruefully we should have had one or two other World Championships in his time".

Whitmarsh's four years as McLaren team principal have seen the team win races but not go on to win a championship, with McLaren registering 2nd in the Constructors' Championship in 2010 and 2011.

"Arguably we have been too conservative and risk-averse in regulation interpretation," Whitmarsh told The Guardian. "Given our brand and our position, I think we are more risk-averse".

Whitmarsh also hinted at a 'Benetton' effect - the team who won the title with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995 - at Red Bull.

"There are things that have happened which, had our engineers come to me and said we're going to do this, I'd have said forget it. I'd rather campaign for clearer, less ambiguous regulations. It's the old Benetton effect, isn't it? Benetton - and I'm trying to avoid [talking about] the obvious one today - Benetton was a brand that enjoyed controversy for their particular consumer. And there are some major brands in this paddock which like a little bit of that, whereas our brands don't tolerate it. There are teams that appear to have racier interpretations on regulations and resource restrictions".

Clarifying those comments, Whitmarsh added, "I think we have, given our brand, got to make sure we're within the spirit of the regulations. So I think we're a little bit risk averse but I think the challenge is to do a better job and make sure we interpret fairly and reasonably the regulations. But there's a limit to how far you can go in pushing them - certainly in our case".

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