Whitmarsh upbeat about McLaren's future

Wednesday 20-March-2013 14:34

Martin Whitmarsh concedes McLaren are facing a few challenges on the track, but he is "feeling comfortable" about the squad's long-term future.

As usual, a lot was expected of the Woking squad before the season started but they struggled during the first in Australia as both Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were well off the pace of Lotus, Red Bull and Ferrari.

Off the track there are also question marks as the team have not only lost Lewis Hamilton and Paddy Lowe to Mercedes, but Vodafone will end their title sponsor at the end of this campaign.

Although he is worried about their slow start to the 2013 season, team boss Whitmarsh insists there is no reason to be concerned about the team's future.

"I am feeling the challenge of F1," he told Autosport. "In terms of the finances of the company they are very stable.

"I think we have got some reasonable long-term deals in the pipeline, so I am feeling comfortable about that.

"At the moment I have a few more concerns about the competitiveness of our car than I have about the longer term issues right now.

"But they are a challenge and you cannot be complacent about it. You have to perform in the here and now and as a business you have to perform in the longer term. We are pretty comfortable with where we are going as a company."

McLaren are yet to confirm who will take over the title sponsorship from Vodafone and there are fears that their current slump could affect negotiations, but Whitmarsh believes they will get a good deal with whoever comes onboard.

"McLaren has since 1966 won 182 grands prix," he said. "We have won more than a quarter of all the races since we entered F1. Our hit rate at the moment is still at that sort of levels.

"We have ups and downs, which is the nature of the sport, but we have a reasonably consistent performance.

"We have only had four title sponsors in 50 years, and I think we are confident about the future."

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