SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom, June 29th, 2013 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that the team is now starting to shift its efforts more towards its 2014 car, to the detriment of trying to get this year’s car competitive.
Significant changes to the technical regulations await next year, most notably that turbocharged engines are to return to the sport in addition to many enforced changes to chassis design. The extent to which a team shifts its focus as this year proceeds onto the challenges that await them in 2014, rather than to its 2013 results, is a key matter for every team. And at Silverstone in the wake of its latest frustrating qualifying session of a difficult 2013 – wherein neither Jenson Button nor Sergio Perez got into the top ten – Whitmarsh confirmed that McLaren’s focus is to shift.
"We’re at the point where we’ve got to ensure that we are in a competitive situation next year. We’re now frankly earlier than usual putting a lot more resource and effort onto next year’s programme, which we need to do because (there is) a whole new raft of regulations, and you’ve got to be realistic about what’s achievable.
"Those of us that come racing are still racers…so there’s no ‘give up’ in the race team, were going to do everything that we can to understand the car, make it quicker, make it better, and then race as well as we can. So, we’ll be pushing hard, but we’ve got to be realistic about what our priorities are…We’re only going to apply ourselves to areas of development (for this year’s car) which give us learning lessons and help for next year. So, things like exhausts we’re not spending a lot of time (on) because they’re not relevant next year."
Whitmarsh added: "We’ve got a big few years ahead of us. 2014 is a challenge for everyone, and that makes it an opportunity…we’re strengthening the team at the moment…that’s to meet the challenge not only of 2014 but also, for us, the exciting challenge of 2015 (when Honda starts to supply its engines to McLaren)."
McLaren pilot Jenson Button was supportive of the move, stating: "I think it’s great that we’ve got more people working on next year’s car…our main aim is to win the world championship, and that is something we cannot do this year."