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McLaren taking risks - Neale

ESPNF1 Staff
August 5, 2011 « Ecclestone rules out electric motors | »
Jonathan Neale says the risks have allowed the drivers to perform better © Sutton Images

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale says the team's recent success has been due to it taking more risks to close the gap to Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton won the German Grand Prix having got within 0.007s of pole position, and then Jenson Button was victorious a week later at the Hungarian Grand Prix as McLaren made it four wins to Red Bull's six this season. Neale said that the upturn in form was a result of the team taking risks which have paid off, and in turn allowed the drivers to relax.

"I think when you are coming from behind the Red Bulls, you have to take risks," Neale told the Official Formula One website. "And we have taken risks with the car and we've taken risks with the driving. The drivers are passionate about winning and push so hard that you can easily get to a situation where you overdrive and then mistakes creep in.

"When we managed to get some performance into the car the drivers started to relax a bit. They know that they have a competitive package underneath them and I think the whole system started to breathe a bit more easily because of that. Well as much as you ever breathe easily in this environment!"

Neale also said that McLaren had been more adventurous than in previous seasons such was the dominance of Red Bull earlier in the year.

"We've taken more risks. Some we got away with, and some of them we haven't. But Formula One is not a business or a sport where you can sit back because everybody else is trying so hard. The moment you hesitate then you know that you will go backwards relative to the competition. And that's not why we're here."

With Sebastian Vettel holding an 88 point lead over Hamilton in the driver's championship and Red Bull a 103 point lead in the constructor's, Neale admitted that the titles were a long shot, but said McLaren would push right to the end of the season regardless.

"First of all, we like to win races and have a huge appetite to win many more races this year. Mathematically, the titles are still possible and we will keep on fighting. But even if it wasn't still possible, we wouldn't back off. We've won four races so far this season and two races in a row, so I believe that we can do well this season. We certainly will not sit back.

"Of course at some point we will have to take a look at the balance of resources for next year, but I cannot imagine myself and [team principal] Martin [Whitmarsh] looking at each other and thinking 'should we just lift now and stop'. I cannot imagine that - so we won't!"