Martin Whitmarsh Q&A

McLaren boss in conversation with Martin Brundle

Last Updated: 13/10/12 11:37am

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Ahead of qualifying for the Korean GP, McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh talked to Martin Brundle about the remaining five races and the 2013 season.

Martin Brundle: Lewis has been the main focus, the talisman of McLaren for so many years now, how is it going to affect the team losing him?
Martin Whitmarsh: "Losing someone as good as Lewis would have an impact on any team, but I think Formula 1 is about looking forward. Clearly Jenson is a great team player and a great World Champion and a great driver. And then to have a young kid, someone who is the same age now as when Lewis came into the team, that is a great opportunity for us to look forward and see if we can take him to another height. If you think Prost, Senna, Brundle - we have lost them all. Mika retired, Raikkonen, Alonso - you don't like losing them but sometimes you have to accept it."

MB: Sergio Perez hasn't been particularly strong in qualifying in GP2, has been out-qualified by Kobayashi at Sauber and is reputedly not a strong qualifier. Does that concern you ahead of next year?
MW: "Well qualifying is very important. We now have to get hold of Sergio and develop him. At 22, he is still a very, very young driver. He is very smart, but he is very raw - he hasn't had the grooming that Lewis had at this point in his career. So we will see when we get hold of him and see if we can help him realise his potential."

MB: Lewis has moved on to become a great he says and help a struggling team get to the top and do a Michael Schumacher. Have you seen those kind of qualities in Lewis in the years you have been involved with him that suggest he can do that?
MW: "Well he is a great racing driver and a team can build around a great racing driver. A lot of people can speculate about Lewis' reasons for leaving. I think quite often young men have to leave home to feel that they have grown - I don't understand it fully personally - but I think he has got a great challenge there, it is a team that has a lot of support from Stuttgart and they know they have to do a better job.

"We enjoy working with Jenson and now having the experience of Jenson and the youth and developability of Sergio what an exciting challenge for us next year. Maybe we are wrong, maybe it won't work out for us. But the aim is to be winning from the first race and I think we can do that."

MB: You are 42 points behind in the Drivers' Championship and 41 in the Constructors', you need some silverware this year don't you?
MW: "We do. But we are McLaren and we need silverware every year. We've had a great car, but we haven't got all the wins we wanted, but we have had five great victories. We have got five races left this year. Championships are hard to win and I think what we have to do is focus on each of those five races and who knows what can happen."

MB: Do you get up in the mornings, jump on an aeroplane and still say we can win both Championships?
MW: "I get up in the morning just as anyone else does and say we have five races left, we can win those and if we win the first four we can get to Brazil and win two Championships. It looks tough at the moment, but there have been many Championships that have turned expectantly in that final race."

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