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McLaren pushing 'to the ragged edge'

Chris Medland
July 1, 2011 « FIA announces 15,000 rpm limit | »
Paddy Lowe says McLaren is "absolutely not a conservative racing operation" © Sutton Images

McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says McLaren is always pushing to the limit in order to enhance the performance of its car.

After finishing sixth in the European Grand Prix, Jenson Button said that the team needed to take more risks in order to close the gap to championship leaders Red Bull, while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton said that McLaren had been conservative and decided not to run an update that would have given more performance for fear it could prove unreliable.

Speaking to ESPNF1 at the FOTA Fans Forum, Lowe said that there were further updates being brought to the car for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and dismissed any notion that the team had not been willing to take a risk in Valencia.

"We've got stuff going, the sort of normal updates - bodywork parts - that were happening anyway," Lowe said. "I saw that quote [from Hamilton] and we don't understand it actually; I think there's a little bit of misunderstanding by the drivers about some things that we'd done. There's absolutely no aspect that we don't push to the ragged edge on what we can with the performance of the car. We are absolutely not a conservative racing operation.

We take higher risks at times when the formula requires it; it depends where you are in the championship. You may at some point start playing it a bit safer to be sure that you finish races rather than always win them. That's an unusual state to reach and we definitely haven't reached that, that sort of state you reach when you've got the championship virtually wrapped up and it's not the state you reach when you're trying to claw back points against another team who are winning."