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Current era of F1 is toughest yet - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
December 20, 2012 « Ricciardo optimistic Key will move Toro Rosso forward | McLaren set to launch MP4-28 on January 31 »
Martin Whitmarsh: "It's more difficult to go out there week after week winning and being dominant" © Sutton Images
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McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes the current era of Formula One is one of the toughest in the sport's history.

Despite winning seven races this year, McLaren finished third in this year's constructors' championship and neither of its drivers were in with a chance of winning the drivers' title at the final round. Speaking about the difficulties his team faced this year, Whitmarsh said the current crop of drivers and teams is the best he has ever experienced since he started in the sport in 1989.

"The strength and depth of the grid in terms of drivers and teams in my view, casting back over 24 years personally, is stronger than it's ever been," he said. "It's more difficult to go out there week after week winning and being dominant, and that's good. It's been great that these last two or three years have been really good Formula One seasons."

Whitmarsh said there were a number reasons that contributed to the close field compared to the early 2000s when Ferrari dominated the sport.

"You've got well-funded teams, a period of comparative rule stability and I think the tyres have been quite tricky. For a good first half of this year they were a baffling ingredient in the performance package. So I think all those things mean it's close."