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No plans to change approach for 2011 - McLaren

ESPNF1 Staff
November 10, 2010 « No. 1 Button wants to finish with a bang | »
McLaren will not change its approach in 2011 © Sutton Images
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McLaren has no plans to change its approach to racing ahead of 2011, despite missing out on the constructors' title for the 12th consecutive year and Lewis Hamilton being the clear outsider for the drivers' title heading into the final race.

The team has been off the pace of its rivals in the latter rounds of the season and earlier this week ex-McLaren driver David Coulthard wrote in his Daily Telegraph column: "[Team principal Martin] Whitmarsh has said previously that if you want a fundamental change in the outcome, you need a fundamental change in the process. Well, processes are put in place by people so presumably there will be changes afoot?

"We can only guess ... I do not think McLaren are a team in crisis by any stretch of the imagination."

But McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said his team will not be making any major changes for 2011, but would instead continue with its process of constant evolution.

"We change all the time," he told the McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "Certainly we'll go back and look at where we might have made more gains, but I wouldn't say we do that just after the last race. That's a continuous process of evolution and that's why Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and McLaren in its other forms going back to the 1950s, continues to be a success and will continue to be a successful team. Constant reflection, we're certainly not complacent."

He said it would not be helpful to focus on single events that have cost McLaren the title this year.

"In terms of season's objectives, it's not as if this season has been a calamitous failure and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will continue to fight it until the end of the year. We're fighters and we will continue to do that.

"Red Bull has had a quick car since the beginning of the year and the number of 1-2s it's pulled off has been impressive. Of course, we can all look back at our seasons and pick the point where we've had poor reliability - we've had some transmission issues - or where we've had collisions or incidents and say that's where we lost the championship. It's very easy to do that and we've done that for a number of years, but the reality is that the season is a long season, there are lots of decisions, lots of issues around reliability.

"Clearly we have to go back and look at how we improve, but we do that every year. We're in there fighting with Ferrari for second place in the constructors' championship, which isn't bad at all, and we're going to go and do that to the best of our ability this weekend and treat this race like we do every other race - we'd like to win it. That will be our objective."

He said it was impossible to know what would happen in Abu Dhabi but predicted that reliability would play a big part as all drivers are using their last engine in their season's allocation.

"If I knew what Red Bull was bringing I'd have a view [on whether we can beat them], but obviously they will be bringing last minute upgrades, as we will and as Ferrari will," Neale said. "I think rain is unlikely, so it should be a conventional race in that sense. I think reliability will play a big part as we get closer to the end of the season, people are taking risks. It'll be hot, dry and dusty; it's going to be close."

Neale also confirmed that GP2 driver Oliver Turvey will test alongside Gary Paffett at the young driver test after the final round.