McLaren-Mercedes Optimistic in Turkish Grand Prix

Ferrari has now taken two consecutive one-two finishes and pulled clear in both championships – and while McLaren closed the gap a little in Spain, Haug expects his team to continue trailing the Italian cars in Istanbul. Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug thinks McLaren has little hope of beating Ferrari in next weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.

“Barcelona, as the first grand prix of the European season and with its challenging track layout, is definitely a yardstick for the following races,” Haug said.”Even with the same fuel load we wouldn’t have been fast enough to beat Ferrari (to pole).”

“Our aim is to improve further over the next few races, however it is possible the
Turkish Grand Prix might be a challenging race for the team. “We didn’t really shine here in the past, and also this time we are not the current benchmark. “The team wants to score as many points as possible, but after three consecutive wins Ferrari obviously arrive here as the favorites.” McLaren has yet to have a trouble-free race this season – with Heikki Kovalainen disadvantaged by the safety car in Australia, both drivers penalized for blocking in Malaysia, Lewis Hamilton hitting Fernando Alonso in Bahrain, and Kovalainen then having his huge accident in Spain.

Haug believes these glitches have proved costly in the title battle, with Ferrari now 13 points ahead of McLaren-Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.”Since winning the season opener in Melbourne, our car has improved gradually and has become significantly faster,” said Haug. “Unfortunately, we didn’t score all possible points, neither in Melbourne, Malaysia, Bahrain or Barcelona, mostly due to self-induced mistakes and this is the reason for the gap to the top of the rankings, after Ferrari had scored only one point in Melbourne.”

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh added that it was now clear that low-speed corners were where his team has been losing out to Ferrari. “Given the challenging nature of the circuit, we have come away from Barcelona with some confidence for the high speed corners, but we also come away knowing that we have areas where we need to strengthen the car,” Whitmarsh said. “The tighter, more twisty parts of the Circuit de Catalunya were certainly our Achilles heel during the race weekend, and there has been a lot of analysis and study of that as we endeavour to strengthen our car in that area.”

But Hamilton hopes the car’s strong performance in faster turns will pay dividends at Istanbul, which features some high-speed sweeps amongst its tighter complexes.”The balance of the car felt good in Spain, and this is really key at Turkey because of the high speed corners,” he said. Lewis was stunned to only qualify fifth last weekend as
McLaren gambled on a heavier fuel load and a longer first stint. After the race he reflected that McLaren perhaps should have run less fuel and tried to beat Ferrari to pole so it could control the race from the front, and he is very keen to start higher up the grid in Turkey.


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