McLaren: Development race could last until Abu Dhabi finale 25 Aug 2010
With five drivers within 20 points of each other in the standings and Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari still firmly in contention for the constructors title, this seasons hunt for championship glory couldnt be tighter. And in the midst of such a closely pitched battle the speed and success of a teams development will make all the difference over the remaining seven races.
As a result, McLaren, currently second with an eight-point deficit to leaders Red Bull, plan to continue improving their MP4-25 right up to Novembers season finale, with managing director Jonathan Neale revealing during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 'Phone-In' that the team may well take an upgrade to the last race in Abu Dhabi.
Its a very close championship at this stage, said Neale. It will be a straight development race, as we knew it would be at the beginning of the year, with a number of drivers being very close. It depends on what we can invent between now and then. We will be expecting upgrade packages for Singapore and beyond.
At this stage of the season, some teams will be debating whether to abandon further development on their 2010 cars and instead focus exclusively on 2011. But if the points table stays as tight as it is now, Neale says such a move wont even be a consideration for McLaren.
I suspect it will be one of those long development races and we will, if we are as close as we are at this stage, be expecting to take an upgrade package to the last race, he confirmed.
Just before the summer break, McLaren endured a tough time at the Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying almost two seconds down on the Red Bull of polesitter Sebastian Vettel and clinching just four points from the race. But Neale believes with hard work the team can get the measure of Red Bull and Ferrari over the forthcoming rounds.
We underperformed in Hungary, he said. The gap to Ferrari and Red Bull was significant. But were working very hard to do something about that. Its very close at the top and weve got to fight back and thats what were planning to do. Every race is important and it will be a very close end to the season. We want to win it as much as anybody so well rise to the challenge.
McLaren will be back on track this weekend for the Belgian Grand Prix, which gets underway on Friday at Spa-Francorchamps.