Formula 1 News

McLaren eye late-season flourish

The team is committed to a strong four race finish through coming back to the form that made them winner of three straight Grand Prix.
Thursday, October 25, 2012

NEW DELHI, Oct 25, 2012 (AFP / Gordon Howard) - Sporting director Sam Michael is adamant that McLaren will not throw in the towel in this season's Formula One title battle, saying the team is targeting wins in the final four races of the season.

Red Bull top the drivers' and constructors' championships after three successive victories for two-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel.

But Australian Michael, speaking ahead of this weekend's Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi, said McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button would fight until the bitter end despite a disappointing few weeks for the team.

"We're going to push to the end. Our target at McLaren is to win every race, and we'll do our best to achieve that," said Michael during a telephone interview.

"Red Bull took quite a big step across Singapore and Suzuka (Japanese Grand Prix), so they will be tough competitors, but our target is still to beat them.

"The gaps are very small now, so it only takes one or two tenths to swing from one way to another, and that can be driven off [one team's] development working, or another team not bringing enough.

"It will usually swing from one race to another. We do believe we can take the challenge to them. We are turning up trying to finish first and second in the last four races."

Before the Singapore Grand Prix on September 23, Hamilton was second in the drivers' title race and McLaren were the nearest rivals to Red Bull in the constructors' championship.

But after Vettel's three straight wins in Singapore, Japan and South Korea, both Hamilton and Button have ruled themselves out.

Hamilton, set to join Mercedes next year, is fourth in the drivers' standings on 153 points, trailing Germany's Vettel on 215 points. Button is sixth with 131 points.

Michael insisted that despite the recent setbacks, McLaren would keep their focus on this year in terms of development of the car.

"It's a pretty straightforward decision between 2012 and 2013, because the rule changes for next year are quite small compared to what they would be for normal years," he said.

"Most of the development work we do on this car will carry over anyway. Although there are different programmes, there is quite a lot of transfer so it is not that big a decision to decide to continue developing the 2012 car.

"Our target is still to do as well as we can, and to achieve that we need the car. At his point we normally don't go into specific details, but we do have upgrades coming (for the next races)."

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F1 Standings

Drivers
Teams
1 Lewis Hamilton 384
2 Nico Rosberg 317
3 Daniel Ricciardo 238
4 Valtteri Bottas 186
5 Sebastian Vettel 167
6 Fernando Alonso 159
1 Mercedes 701
2 Red Bull Racing 405
3 Williams F1 320
4 Ferrari 214
5 McLaren 187
6 Sahara Force India 152

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit
1
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
2
Felipe Massa
Williams F1
3
Valtteri Bottas
Williams F1
Fastest Lap

Daniel Ricciardo
1'44.496s

Pole Position

Nico Rosberg

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