Formula 1

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McLaren respond to Martin Whitmarsh's striking comments about the current setup

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In the wake of comments made by Martin Whitmarsh, former boss of Formula 1 giants McLaren, the racing team have responded by calling his remarks 'ill-judged and ill-informed'.

This comes after Whitmarsh criticised McLaren in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, claiming that the solution to the constructor's lack of success in recent years is to have a 'big change of approach', whilst also saying that figures in the upper reaches of the team’s hierarchy “have to go” in order to bring about a resurgence in McLaren’s fortunes on the podium.

This comes after McLaren have now gone over four years without seeing one of their drivers achieve a top-three finish in a race, and November 2012 was the last time they actually registered a race win, despite changing Honda for Renault engines in an attempt to boost podium hopes before the start of the 2018 season.

The report that accompanied Whitmarsh’s comments has made claims that a number of people currently working for McLaren were so displeased with the way things were being done by leading members of the team that they wished to let their feelings known to Whitmarsh, the man who oversaw over fifty podium finishes during his time as team principal from 2009-2014.

McLaren’s response to the report hints that the practices and views held by Whitmarsh are outdated.

"Martin worked for McLaren for many years, but has been outside the business for some time and is not part of our future," a McLaren spokesman told Sky Sports.

"What he said was ill-judged and ill-informed in our view but he is entitled to his opinion.

"There are high expectations in the team and we won't compromise those high expectations.

"Everyone at McLaren is working tremendously hard and is focused on the future, not the past."

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Since his departure from McLaren after 24 years with the F1 superpower, Whitmarsh kept himself occupied by becoming CEO of Land Rover BAR, Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team, in 2015.

Although he is no longer in this role, the former boss continues as an advisor for the team and BAR technologies, the commercial branch of the team.

However, a return to the Formula 1 arena at the Spanish Grand Prix in May and the fact that he was spotted inside the McLaren garage during practice has sparked talk of a possible return to F1 for the experienced Englishman, despite current Chief Executive Zak Brown dismissing any talk of a potential route back for the former chief.

Compared to more recent campaigns, McLaren are enjoying a more successful season so far, finding themselves fifth in the Constructors' Championship at this current moment, four places better off than the ninth-placed finish they achieved in 2017.

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However, there is still clear disappointment at not yet ending their podium drought which dates back to 2014, Whitmarsh’s last season with the team.

McLaren's main concern approaching the French GP will be simply getting points on the board, after failing to do so for the past two races, with driver Fernando Alonso retiring on both occasions.

They have now experienced three retirements from the seven races so far this season, resulting in racing director Eric Boullier commenting that the main concern for the team is 'first and foremost reliability', hoping that they have learned from the issues in Canada.

Topics:
Fernando Alonso
McLaren
Formula 1

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