Connect with us


Whitmarsh: McLaren MP4-27 is a logical evolution of the MP4-26



Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team Principal Martin Whitmarsh speaks exclusively to (Official F1 website).

Q: This time last year the MP4-26’s mediocre testing form must have already forced you to lower your sights for 2011. But it turned out to be a pretty decent season for you all the same. How is the MP4-27 shaping up? What is your gut feeling?

MW: I recognize the point you’re making, but first I want to say a bit about 2011, which as you say was a pretty decent year. Very few Formula One teams ever win a Grand Prix, and yet even in a year which you’ve described as ‘pretty decent’ but no better than that, we won six out of the 19 Grands Prix – a strike rate of roughly one win in every three Grands Prix.

That strike rate more than maintains McLaren’s all-time strike rate of one win every four Grands Prix, or 175 wins from 703 Grands Prix, since 1966. We’re proud of that strike-rate, but of course this season we aim to improve on it again. At this time of year, before testing has begun, you never know how well your car is going to perform relative to its principal opposition.

And I’m well aware that Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes AMG, as well as all the other teams, are working just as hard on their 2012 cars as we are. But, bearing in mind that unknown variable – in other words the performance of our competitors’ cars – all I can say with any certainty is that the MP4-27 is a logical evolution of the MP4-26, adapted to the new technical regulations, and that from what we can discern its development is going in the right direction.

Q: The MP4-27 will take to the test track for the first time on February 7 with Jenson Button rather than Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. Should we read anything into that?

MW: Not at all, no. As you’d expect, with pre-season testing as restricted as it is nowadays, our race drivers will be doing as much as they can. Both Jenson and Lewis will consequently be spending a lot of time in Spain over the next few weeks, and both of them are raring to go. We’re fortunate that we have two world champions in our driver line-up – a claim that can be made by no other team – and McLaren’s ethos has always been, and remains, to treat both its drivers as equal number-ones.

That’s what we’ve always done, that’s what we’ll do this year, and as long as I’m around that’s what we’ll always do. So, to answer your question specifically, it just so happens that our pre-season testing schedule has Jenson driving on the first day and Lewis on the second day, but it could just as easily have been the other way around.

Q: Kimi Raikkonen is back in Formula One racing this year with Lotus. From your long experience of him, how do you think he’ll fare?

MW: Kimi is a great guy, with a super talent. He was very successful during his five seasons at McLaren, winning 12 Grands Prix for us and, although he narrowly failed to win a drivers’ world championship during that time, he could easily have become world champion in both 2003 and 2005 if he’d had a bit more luck or a little more reliability.

Even as things were, without that extra bit of luck and reliability required to win world championships, he still won 12 Grands Prix for us and some of those wins were truly majestic. During an FIA press conference at a Grand Prix in the latter half of last year – I forget where – I was asked by a journalist whether the team principals of the teams then rumoured to be considering Kimi for a 2012 drive, a couple of whom were sitting alongside me, should hire him or not. My answer was an unequivocal yes. I stand by that answer, and I’m pleased that he’s made a Formula One comeback.

He’s a very popular driver, and I think Formula One will be the better for his return. No fewer than six world champions will be competing in Formula One this season – more than ever before – and each of them, including Kimi, is not only a fantastic racing driver but also a colourful character with a robust fans’ following and a unique global allure. If the Lotus car is quick, Kimi will be quick in it; it’s as simple as that in my view.

Read Full:
Interview ©

All material and photos are copyrighted material and owned by their respective owners. Use or depiction of images or trademarks throughout this website is for illustrative and editorial purposes only.Images come courtesy of;,,,,,, toyota, bmw-sauber, williamsf1, lotus, virgin,, getty Images/LAT and AP Photos.

Latest Results

Latest F1 News

2018 F119 hours ago

Ferrari to reveal 2019 car on February 15

Ferrari will reveal its 2019 challenger on February 15, team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said on Thursday. The Italian attended an...

2018 F12 days ago

F1 teams worried about Brexit crisis

F1 teams admit they are worried about the Brexit crisis that is occurring in Britain. After British people voted in...

2018 F12 days ago

‘I have mixed feelings’ about Kubica return – Vettel

Sebastian Vettel says he has “mixed feelings” about Robert Kubica’s return to formula one. Former grand prix winner Kubica, now...

2018 F12 days ago

Monza seeking EUR 100m for upgrade

Monza is looking for EUR 100 million to upgrade the Italian grand prix venue and secure a new grand prix...

2018 F13 days ago

Sirotkin to test DTM, Hartley to Porsche

Sergey Sirotkin could keep his motor racing career alive in the German touring car series DTM. SMP Racing, his Russian...

2018 F13 days ago

McLaren not ‘copying’ Red Bull car – Sainz

Carlos Sainz has played down claims McLaren is ‘copying’ Red Bull’s chassis concept for 2019. With Red Bull moving to...

2018 F13 days ago

Barcelona hopes for new F1 contract

Organisers of the Spanish grand prix are still not sure they will reach a new agreement with Liberty Media. Vicenc...

2018 F14 days ago

Berger sees F1 chance for nephew Auer

is hoping his nephew may have a future in formula one. One the one hand, the F1 legend said he...

2018 F14 days ago

Hamilton teammate Bottas ‘is not there’ – Verstappen

Max Verstappen has admitted he will try to emulate Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ approach to winning the world championship. The...

2018 F14 days ago

Mexico GP future in doubt

A cloud has moved above the future of the highly popular Mexican grand prix. The rejuvenated race at the iconic...

Most Popular is not affiliated with Formula 1, Formula One Management, Formula One Administration, Formula One Licensing BV, Formula One World Championship Ltd or any other organization or entity associated with the official Formula One governing organizations or their shareholders. Copyrighted material used under Fair Use/Fair Comment.

We could use the following leading F1 news sources for stories: SkyF1, BBC F1, Autosport, ESPN F1, FIA Media Center, MotorSport, JamesAllen and others leading authors blog.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Prime Sport Media