Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Whitmarsh Vows McLaren Will Be Back on the Button in 2010; British Team's Boss Says the F1 Giant's New Car Is Already a Threat and Pledges Lewis Hamilton Will Be a Title Contender. by David Smith

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Whitmarsh Vows McLaren Will Be Back on the Button in 2010; British Team's Boss Says the F1 Giant's New Car Is Already a Threat and Pledges Lewis Hamilton Will Be a Title Contender. by David Smith

Article excerpt

Byline: David Smith

McLAREN boss Martin Whitmarsh today warned his Formula One rivals that next year's car is already quicker than this year's model.

The British team recovered from a wretched start -- 14 points from the first nine races -- to take 57 points from the closing eight grands prix and clinch third place in the contructors' championship.

And, despite former world champion Lewis Hamilton's McLaren succumbing to a rear brake fault just 20 laps into yesterday's final race of the season at Abu Dhabi, Whitmarsh is looking forward to next season with optimism. He said: "Work on next year's car is already very encouraging -- it's already quicker than the current one.

"So there's every reason for us to be confident we'll be able to continue to develop and improve it significantlybefore the beginning of the 2010." Hamilton, who began the season with a dreadful car and endured the humiliation of 'Lie-gate', where he was caught lying about an incident with Jarno Trulli at the Australian Grand Prix, said: "Who'd have thought we'd finish third in the constructors' championship at the start of this season? "It's been an incredible year, and now I can't wait for next season to start so I can fight for the championship again."

New British world champion Jenson Button, who finished third at Abu Dhabi's stunning Yas Marina circuit, is aware of the threat coming from McLaren and Ferrari next season.

"They are going to be competitive next season," he said. "They have the resources, they have the expertise. But I don't think they're suddenly going to be stronger than Red Bull and Brawn.

"There's going to be a big battle at the front which is going to be a new thing for all of us, because having four teams fighting it out at the front hasn't happened in a long while."

Button, who finished third behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, could still line up alongside Hamilton for McLaren next season. …

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