Whitmarsh: I'm going nowhere

  • Last Updated: May 11 2013, 18:24 BST

Martin Whitmarsh says he will not be quitting as team principal of McLaren despite the team's wretched start to this season.

Martin Whitmarsh: 'I believe we are going to power through this'

Whitmarsh is in his fifth campaign in charge, with the Woking-based marque yet to win a trophy since he took over the helm in early 2009 from Ron Dennis.

Given the woes currently being experienced by McLaren, with the team horribly off the pace and the raft of upgrades for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix not yielding the return as had been hoped, the pressure is growing on Whitmarsh.

Comparably, given the lack of success and McLaren's standing in F1, a manager at a top football or rugby club would likely have either been sacked, departed by mutual consent or resigned by now.

Whitmarsh, who is known to have a strong relationship with the board at McLaren, particularly Tag Heuer co-owner Mansour Ojjeh, is standing firm.

Asked whether he was aware if the board had considered his position, or whether he himself had thought about walking away, Whitmarsh delivered a determined response.

"No, I don't believe it (his job) has been considered at board level, as far as I know," replied Whitmarsh.

"I believe in the team, I believe we are going to power through this, so no, I'm not considering anything other than getting this team back to where it belongs.

"I've been around in the sport a long time and I've been through dark moments, difficult moments, and I've been through good moments as well.

"I enjoy going motor racing, and I enjoy racing to win, so I don't like it when you have a car that's not good enough to win.

"I've been around when we've won important races, and I'm sure we're going to win some more races, and we're going to work hard to win some more races this year.

"We have come back from worse than this, and we will. Obviously we are not where we want to be, but we're going to come back from this. We're a strong team.

"We've a long season ahead of us, but we just have to work away, find the performance, and I'm convinced we're going to come back from it."

Whitmarsh's remarks followed another tough day, with Sergio Perez and Jenson Button qualifying ninth and 14th, although the former will now start eighth as Ferrari's Felipe Massa faces a three-place penalty.

In particular, McLaren pushed hard overnight to bring to Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya two new front wings, yet neither was ultimately used as they were not confident they would pass FIA tests.

It is clear the pressure is increasing on not just Whitmarsh, but everyone within the team, including drivers Button and Perez.

Given his experience, this is not a new situation for Button who has been through worse, notably a torrid time at Honda before they pulled out of the sport, with such a tough period aiding the 33-year-old.

"It's not just about the bad periods in your career, it's also the good periods, and also coming through the bad periods and winning the world title, that really has helped me in this difficult time," said Button.

"But you also have to realise the differences here, compared to back then in '05 and '06 time, you're with a team that has won multiple world championships.

"We're not there at the moment, and yes, we haven't won the world title for many years.

"But every year we go racing, so far as I've been here, we've won a lot of grands prix. Last year we won seven, which was as many as the people who won the championship (Red Bull).

"So it's a different scenario to what I had at Brackley, but I did learn a lot through those difficult times with a car that's not there.

"We haven't made the step forward everyone expects and we would hope for, but there is so much hard work going on at the factory, I can tell you that.

"So you learn a lot in the difficult times, that you can get back to the front."

The race starts with an all-Mercedes front-row, with Nico Rosberg beating Lewis Hamilton by a quarter of a second.

They are followed by Red Bull's three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus on the second row, with home hero Fernando Alonso fifth for Ferrari.

Felipe Massa did qualify sixth, but drops three places to ninth for impeding Red Bull's Webber who lines up seventh.

Force India's Paul Di Resta starts 10th, while fellow Briton Max Chilton in his Marussia is 21st.


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