Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Brazil to pose championship dilemma for McLaren 22 Oct 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007 Post qualifying parc ferme (L to R): Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren, second; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, pole position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 2 August 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 on the formation lap
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007

McLaren could find themselves facing some tough calls at next weekend’s 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 Ferrari’s 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 Lewis’s 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 McLaren’s Formula One CEO, Martin Whitmarsh.

And with another 18 points up for grabs, Whitmarsh is not only confident of taking McLaren’s 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 Hamilton’s 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.