Jenson Button has come to the defence of the under pressure Martin Whitmarsh, saying the McLaren team boss is "staying strong".
Instead of challenging for podiums and race wins, McLaren have found themselves battling midfield runners in the first seven races of the season. The Woking squad are down in sixth place in the Constructors' standings with only 37 points - behind Force India.
Whitmarsh has copped a lot of flak in the light of the team's disastrous campaign so far, but Button says the McLaren team boss is usually the first to put his hand up when things go wrong.
"It's very easy for everyone to point a finger at the person leading the team, rightly or wrongly," he is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.
"For me, Martin has a lot of respect in the team; from people working alongside him, just underneath him, or people working in the workshops.
"They like his attitude, the way he works with them. It is so tough for him, it really is. He is staying strong, though, and he's keeping the work force confident. He will go to the factory after a race and say, 'We messed up.' He'll take the blame. Martin is a good leader."
To add to McLaren's woes, they have also lost their technical director Paddy Lowe to rivals Mercedes.
Asked if the departure of Lowe contributed to their problems, Button told The Telegraph: "I don't think so. Paddy is a great guy, but I don't think one individual is the reason we are not performing.
"Our mistake was at the end of last year, when we decided to go the way we did with the car. Trying to find your way back from that is so, so difficult."
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