Brazil to pose championship dilemma for McLaren 22 Oct 2008
McLaren could find themselves facing some tough calls at next weekends Brazilian Grand Prix, as they look to balance the respective needs of their drivers and constructors title campaigns.
Lewis Hamilton requires only a fifth place to be sure of securing his first drivers title at Interlagos. However, to stand any chance of overhauling Ferraris 11-point advantage in the team standings, McLaren would almost certainly need a one-two finish.
Clearly, we can afford to be more conservative than normal in our approach to Lewiss race, but we are still pushing to win the constructors championship and it would be wrong of us as a team to overlook this fact, said McLarens Formula One CEO, Martin Whitmarsh.
And with another 18 points up for grabs, Whitmarsh is not only confident of taking McLarens impressive China pace forward to Brazil, the team could even add further new developments to the MP4-23.
We do have a number of minor aerodynamic upgrades in the pipeline that we are evaluating for inclusion on our Brazil-spec car, he said. As with every race this season, we have brought something to the car - even if it has only been generating a few extra hundredths of lap time - and it would be wrong of us to close down that option for Interlagos.
With no joker engine changes allowed at the final round, McLaren will also have to keep a keen eye on Hamiltons Mercedes V8, which will start its second race in Brazil. However, having turned the engine down in the latter stages of his Shanghai win, the team are not expecting problems. Kovalainen, who failed to finish in China, will have a fresh engine for the season finale.