McLaren talks up title hopes

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh believes the team can win every race remaining in 2005 and snatch the titles from rivals Renault, who have led both championships since the beginning of the season. While Renault and drivers' standings leader Fernando...

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh believes the team can win every race remaining in 2005 and snatch the titles from rivals Renault, who have led both championships since the beginning of the season. While Renault and drivers' standings leader Fernando Alonso were very strong in the early season, McLaren have fought back hard. Juan Pablo Montoya took his first for the team at Silverstone and Kimi Raikkonen was also on the podium.

Raikkonen, who is Alonso's main challenger in the title race, has had some bad luck, such as crashing out of the European GP on the last lap while leading. The last two races he's suffered the ten place demotion penalty on the grid due to engine changes, without which he certainly would have been a contender for the victories.

"We could have won the last eight races, we can win every remaining race," Whitmarsh told reporters at Silverstone. "Both of our drivers, unquestionably at the moment, can beat Alonso and if we do that, and we have good reliability and they (Renault) make a slip or two, then we're in there to win both championships."

However, Whitmarsh knows it won't be an easy task. McLaren may have the faster car but Alonso is consistent and has been around to take advantage when Raikkonen has problems. The Spaniard won in Europe thanks to Kimi's crash and widened the points gap between himself and the Finn in the last two events. Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella has been unlucky but has also been picking up points to add to Renault's tally.

The other teams not being as competitive as Renault and McLaren is something Whitmarsh would like to see change. "Renault has been remarkably reliable, they've done a solid job," he said. "There's no-one other than us taking the points from Renault unfortunately, we could do with a few others up there. The constructors' is probably an easier one than the drivers', but we can win it and we are there to win it."

Renault believed that the British GP would be one of the harder races for them but it was much better than they feared. Alonso took pole position and finished the race second, while Fisichella came home fourth -- if not for a stall in his second pit stop, Fischella would have been third instead of Raikkonen.

"Our ambitions were not particularly high when we arrived (at Silverstone), after the recent test where we saw that McLaren were very competitive," said engineering chief Pat Symonds. "However, we took the fight to them this weekend and came away with a very creditable result."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams McLaren