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McLaren laughs off Whitmarsh exit rumours

ESPNF1 Staff
July 20, 2011 « Ferrari expects more progress over next two rounds | »
Martin Whitmarsh's position is not under threat, according to McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale © Sutton Images
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McLaren has brushed aside speculation that Martin Whitmarsh's job as team principal might be under threat after poor showings at the last two grands prix.

A report in the Daily Mail following McLaren's home grand prix at Silverstone said Whitmarsh could have just one month to get the team back to winning ways or face the sack.

Asked why the stories had appeared, McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in: "The right people to ask on that question are the people who wrote the article. Martin has done such a fantastic job for McLaren and for FOTA, and up until the last weekend we were the only ones really putting up a credible fight against Red Bull having had both of our drivers win races.

"He is a proven race winner here and championship winner. There are an awful lot of people behind us on the grid that, while they might be looking at some of the heat we are getting in the press, they wouldn't mind a bit of the action that we get.

"I'm afraid it's just part of the media circus and expectation caught in the home grand prix and if you don't deliver - and we didn't - then you can expect a bit of comeback on that. We just looked at it internally, smiled and carried on. I don't take it very seriously to be honest with you."

He added that McLaren intends to continue with its current line-up over the next few years.

"In terms of a succession plan, that is not something that we are either going to publish or need to have ready for a parachute if there is a sudden exit," he said. "We want Martin, we want Lewis and we want Jenson here for the long-term."