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Struggling McLaren holds crisis meeting

ESPN Staff
July 10, 2012 « 'We've really got to get our act together' - Rosberg | Webber signs new Red Bull deal »
Jenson Button: searching for answers © Press Association

McLaren is believed to be holding a crisis meeting at its Woking base on Tuesday as the team looks to arrest a slide which has seen it pick up 54 points in the last six rounds, of which 25 came from Lewis Hamilton's win in Canada.

Although officially it is just a technical briefing, the lacklustre performance of the car at Silverstone - Hamilton came eighth with Jenson Button tenth - is causing considerable concerns. McLaren is currently fourth in the constructors' championship but with results falling away its title ambitions are hanging by a thread.

Upgrades to the MP4-27s are imminent but there is a growing feeling something more radical is needed. The messages from the drivers after the British Grand Prix left little doubt they thought there were serious problems, with Button admitting rather than battling the big boys, McLaren is scrapping with the likes of Williams, Sauber and Force India.

"We don't have the pace of the top three teams," Button said. "We were perfect in strategy, the pitstops were perfect and nothing went wrong. But if the Williams and Sauber had good days, they would have beaten us, so we have a lot of work to do.

"You see a car come past like you are standing still and it comes as a surprise. You think, how good does their car feel? They must be on rails. I don't know where we are missing out or where so many teams are getting it right. We are just not quick enough."

After winning the first race of the season in Australia and taking second in China, Button has seven points from six grands prix. He has had problems but on Sunday he drove a good race and still only salvaged a point on the penultimate lap.

Hamilton was leading the championship two rounds ago, but in the five races either side of his win in Canada he scored just 22 points. He is now lying fourth and - with unrelenting speculation of his future - it is imperative McLaren has a competitive car if it is to retain his services after the end of this season.

Asked on Sunday if McLaren's current form would influence Hamilton's decision whether to stay, Martin Whitmarsh replied: "No, I think he's smarter than that. He's got to want to stay in this team, which I believe he does."