McLaren not underestimating Ferrari 

Written by David on September 01st, 2007 at 12:55 amLast Update: December 09th, 2007 at 1:03 pm

McLaren are not taking the threat of title rivals Ferrari lightly ahead of next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, despite the fact that they lead both world championships. Lewis Hamilton is 15 points clear of nearest Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, while McLaren have an 11 points margin over Ferrari – and could win 15 more if their appeal against their Hungary penalty is successful next month.

But despite their position at the head of the field, the team admit that there is still everything to play for in the fight for both championships. Martin Whitmarsh, the team’s F1 CEO, said: “Whilst we are arriving in Monza leading both championships, we are more than aware they are both still very open. There are a lot of points to be won over the next six weeks and the determination within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to take as many as possible is massive. Monza is very individual in terms of characteristics and with this in mind, the test this week has enabled the successful proving process of a number of key components and we are feeling cautiously optimistic going into this race.”

With the high-speed Italian and Belgian Grands Prix back-to-back, there is going to be a great focus on the work of the engine departments at the two teams fighting for the title over the next fortnight. In fact, Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug thinks that the challenge of getting through the next two races with one power unit is the greatest the manufacturers have faced since the V8s raced for the first time last year. He said: “At around 80%, Monza has the highest full-throttle proportion per lap of all Formula One racetracks. However, the following race (Spa) will challenge the engines even more. “As scheduled, we will start in Monza with a new engine in both cars, which, according to the rules, is designed to be used in Spa as well. The combination of these two circuits is the highest expected strain for an engine so far since the new V8 engine generation has been introduced last year.”

source: autosport

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