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McLaren promises 'headline-grabbing' signings to technical team

ESPN Staff
October 7, 2013 « Hamilton feels for fans amid Vettel dominance | Hulkenberg plays down impact of Korea on 2014 options »
McLaren is hoping to return to form next year with some big name signings © Getty Images

McLaren has promised some "headline-grabbing" signings to its technical team before the start of next year, in an attempt to stop the rot after one of the worst seasons in its history.

McLaren has yet to score a podium this year with a best finish of fifth place at the Chinese Grand Prix. The last time McLaren failed to score a podium for an entire season was in 1980, but with just five races remaining in 2013 and development focused on next year's car it is facing a repeat.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he had conducted a review of McLaren's personnel from the top downwards and would announce some big-name signings to its technical team before the end of the year.

"We're continuously doing that," he said in Korea. "This year we can't be satisfied with where we are, so we've been recruiting in the technical team, strengthening that quite a lot, and there have been quite a few new starters this year.

"There are some yet to be announced who will be headline-grabbing when they are announced. So there are things going on, clearly. We've got to look at ourselves as a team from the top of the management all the way through to the technical team to make sure we can return to winning ways as quickly as possible."

In past years McLaren has recovered from poor starts to the season to win races, but Whitmarsh said this season had been different as attention had shifted to the new engine regulations in 2014.

"In fairness I think it is a bit closer than it was at the start of the season," he said. "Decisions, which have been well documented and well discussed, put us behind in terms of development. We decided to put our resources into next year so we are not expecting a revolution with his car.

"We know we are six months behind the development curve, and in this business if you are six months behind the development curve you are 0.5s-0.75s behind, and that's where we are."

McLaren lost technical director Paddy Lowe to Mercedes earlier this season, but rumours Ross Brawn could be heading in the other direction are believed to be wide of the mark. McLaren's most high-profile signing this year has been Sauber's Matt Morris who joined the team as engineering director in June.