• British Grand Prix

Silverstone 'important' for McLaren

ESPNF1 Staff
June 29, 2010 « Kubica set to commit to Renault | »
Martin Whitmarsh sees a close battle developing between McLaren and Red Bull © Getty Images

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says the British Grand Prix will provide a vital pointer for what shape his team is in for the rest of the season.

The Woking based outfit is set to unveil its version of the exhaust-blown diffuser, pioneered so successfully by rivals Red Bull Racing, at the team's home race.

Red Bull, who won the European Grand Prix at Valencia, has been on pole in eight of nine race this season. But McLaren's superior race pace means they still lead the constructors' and drivers' standings heading to Silverstone.

And if their blown diffuser proves nearly as successful as the Red Bull model, a significant performance gain in qualifying could prove decisive in the fight for the championship.

"The upgrade was planned for Hockenheim, but all being well we will have it for Silverstone," said Whitmarsh. "But the British Grand Prix is an important race for us, and at a circuit like that we have to be competitive with Red Bull if we are going to be able to beat them this year. If we can be competitive there then we have a good chance to win both championships."

Despite his cause for optimism, Whitmarsh is only too aware that with only half the season gone, it will be too early to say who has the upper hand whatever the result.

"It will be a big race, but it will not be the end of it whatever happens. If we beat them they will not stand still, and if they beat us we are not going to stand still. I hope it will be close - certainly closer than last year.

"To come out of it leading both world championships, having seen what the others have got and with our decent upgrade to come, we must believe we are in the position to have a strong second half to the season."