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Expectations not yet met - Whitmarsh
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has admitted his team's start to the season has not met expectations.
Jenson Button won the Australian Grand Prix and McLaren currently lies second in the constructors' championship. However, the car has often been outpaced by Red Bull and Ferrari in qualifying, and slip ups in strategy at the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix have led Whitmarsh to concede he is not yet satisfied with the team's performance.
"By our own very high standards, we've not fully met our very high expectations in the first three races, despite having what we feel is the necessary race pace to compete at the front and despite having won the Australian Grand Prix," he said. "That might sound overly self-critical, given that we are second in the constructors' championship, and given that Jenson and Lewis are both close to the top of the drivers' championship, but that's merely a reflection of the fact that we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes aim to excel at all times.
"So I regard that objective as a positive: it's our desire to improve and to eliminate mistakes from the operation that will make us stronger championship contenders. There's no denying that our successes - Jenson's integration into the team, his win in Melbourne, and some of the greatest drives of Lewis's career - have given us a great early-season boost. Now we are looking to establish ourselves as consistent challengers at the front, and to pick up the maximum available points on a regular basis."
In 2009 McLaren had a much worse start to the season but managed to turn its car into a race winner midway through the year. Whitmarsh is confident it will be able to make a similar level of progress this year.
"One of the greatest qualities of this team is its considerable strength in depth. After establishing a strong and solid start to the season, we're confident that we'll become an even more formidable contender as we head into China and then the start of the European season."