Jenson Button insists under-pressure Martin Whitmarsh best man to turn McLaren around
2009 title winner also expecting to see improvement for British GP
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 18/06/13 7:28pm
Jenson Button insists McLaren are united behind Martin Whitmarsh and is backing him to turn the underperforming Woking outfit's fortunes around.
The eight-times Constructors' Champions prepare to head into their home British GP next week on the back of their worst start to a season for four years with the team currently a lowly sixth in the standings and yet to finish a race in a higher position than fifth.
Although McLaren had appeared to be making incremental steps with improving their MP4-28 in the early rounds of the season, the last event in Canada witnessed a further slump in form as neither of their drivers reached Q3 in qualifying and then in the race the team failed to score points for the first time in 65 events.
Even before their wretched Montreal weekend, which Sporting Director Sam Michael has since described as "brutal", media pressure had been mounting on Whitmarsh with the Briton even asked at last month's Spanish GP whether he had considered resigning, something he insisted he had no intention of doing.
The ongoing nature of McLaren's struggles has meant Whitmarsh has continued to be in the firing line of both media and fans but Button, the outfit's senior driver, has given his support to his under-pressure boss.
Asked by Sky Sports News during an appearance at Silverstone if everyone at Woking remained united behind Whitmarsh, Button replied: "As far as I know everyone's united, yes.
"Martin's is a really good leader and he's a proper human being as well. He's a guy that you can trust, you can believe in. I feel that everyone at the factory, all the people I speak to when I'm there feel exactly the same.
"It's so difficult for a Team Principal when a team that normally wins grands prix suddenly isn't winning grands prix, but I think he is the best leader to bring us through this difficult time."
Although McLaren have made no secret about the big task ahead of them to move back to the front over the remainder of the season, they are expecting a more competitive Silverstone showing next week.
Button himself is optimistic of progress, even if he concedes the prospect of a first home victory at the 14th attempt is not realistic.
"Hopefully, we can see improvements," he said. "The last race for us was a very, very difficult weekend but, yes, I feel there are some improvements in the pipeline and we can see ourselves fighting for a better result.
"Fighting for a win is going to be very difficult for here, and I know that's what the British fans want, but I don't think we're going to be able to give them that. But we're going to do the best job we can and fight for as many points as we can, so you never know what the end result can be."
He added that the Northamptonshire track's more conventional layout should also aid the team's quest for improved performance.
"This circuit is a very different circuit to the last race. It's a lot smoother, it's a lot faster, it's a lot more flowing and it does suit our car a lot more," the 2009 World Champion added.
"We don't know what the weather's going to do, I hope it's going to be dry for the fans and for us after looking at our experiences of Canada."