• Korean Grand Prix

We have to beat Webber in Korea - McLaren

ESPNF1 Staff
October 20, 2010 « Abu Dhabi young driver test line-up takes shape | »
McLaren is aiming to finish ahead of Mark Webber in Korea © Sutton Images

McLaren has admitted that Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button cannot afford to finish behind championship-leader Mark Webber at this weekend's Korean Grand Prix if they are to keep their title chances alive.

Hamilton is currently 28 points off Webber with three races to go while Button is 31 points adrift. McLaren has been off the pace of Red Bull at the last two races and the team's principal race engineer Phil Prew is under no illusions as to the challenge ahead.

"I think our target is very much to get on the podium and we need to be in front of Webber," he told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "We need to have two cars at the front competing for the front row of the grid in qualifying and then delivering a race result on the podium."

The venues of the last two races, in Singapore and Japan, did not suit the McLaren but Prew is confident his team can be more competitive on the brand-new circuit in Korea.

"To be honest it's a very good combination of quite a few different sorts of circuit," he said. "It has some long straights with big stops, which is not dissimilar to Canada and should suit our car. Sector two is a bit like Turkey, where we performed quite well and the final sector would typically be on a very high downforce circuit, a bit more like Hungary perhaps.

"If I had to say which car it would favour, I would actually say it was quite a neutral circuit and there are aspects of the track that will favour every one of the top teams. It just depends whether we can gain enough in the high-speed section to compensate, perhaps, for the strengths of the Red Bull in the long corners that we see towards the end of the lap.

"I think there are certainly areas where we will excel in and certain areas where Red Bull will be very strong. I don't think any of the cars will have it all their own way."

Prew also said that McLaren had now understood the problem it had with its new rear wing in Suzuka and was hoping it would give his team an extra push this weekend.

"We will certainly be running it on Friday," he confirmed. "We also have a modified front wing and those will be the two visible updates on the car. In addition to that we have a number of smaller mechanical updates which are all aiming to add to performance.

"We will run the new rear wing on Friday and continue the investigations that were cut short a little bit in Suzuka. Our understanding has improved and we are optimistic we can make it work here."