Posts Tagged ‘McLaren’

Button and Hamilton hope to be all smiles at Silverstone

McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have vowed to do all they can to win the British Grand Prix next weekend.

The British pair have both won a race apiece this season – the only races where Sebastian Vettel has finished off the top step of the podium.

“I know what we are up against, but nothing is impossible,”Hamiltonsaid,

“What we really want is a one-two – think what that would do for British sport and the fans.

“It would feel massively special to us. Hopefully one day there will be a younger version of me at Silverstone looking up at a photo of myself and Jenson on the podium,” the 2008 world champion said.

Hamiltonfinished fourth inValenciaand trails Vettel by 89 points in the standings.

Team-mate Button lies second in the championship but he is still 77 points adrift of the German ace.

But the Somerset-born driver is optimistic that McLaren can create a race-winning package for his home Grand Prix.

“You always want to do well in front of your home crowd,” he said. “Last year was just a sea of rocket red [McLaren] caps everywhere, and it was quite emotional.

“It was great to see the support, and you always want to put on a good show for your own fans. Hopefully this year I can get a podium finish.”

Button has never finished on the podium in 11 attempts at Silverstone and despite finishing a lowly sixth last time out, he is confident he can challenge Red Bull’s dominance.

The 2009 champion said: “We’re still going to be trying. We have a fantastic team and if we keep pushing hard, we can slowly, slowly pull Vettel back.

“The only people to beat him this season are Lewis and myself. We are the challengers.”

Hamilton all smiles before his Canada horror show

Lewis Hamilton has vowed to stay at McLaren for as long as they can provide him with a competitive car.

The 2008 world champion’s future has been the subject of much speculation all season.

And Hamilton on Saturday was seen talking to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner in Montreal.

But the 26 year-old has rubbished speculation of him moving to the Milton Keynes-based outfit when his contract expires at the end of next season.

“In terms of where I am, again I’m just very fortunate to be a part of McLaren,” said Hamilton at a promotional event with NASCAR’s Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen.

“So as long as we have the car that can do the job, then there will be no reason to leave.

“It’s one of the best teams there with great history, and we’ve now a car which is capable of winning, as my team-mate showed at the weekend.”

Sunday’s crash is unlikely to have helped relations between Hamilton and Jenson Button within the team.

The incident on lap nine forced Hamilton to retire with a broken rear suspension after he struck the pit-lane wall trying to overtake the eventual race winner.

He is now 76 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

But there was no indication of any ill-feeling after the race as Hamilton praised Button for his drive.

Hamilton – a race-winner in China back in April – is confident McLaren can produce a title-winning car – although his 2008 triumph is the team’s only title since 1999.

“We are the only other team that has won Grand Prix this year, so I don’t see why you’d particularly want to move when you have the most competitive car.

“I’ve grown up wanting to be world champion and I’ve definitely not achieved all that I want to,” he said.

Hamilton said it was not unusual to talk to other teams during the course of a weekend.

“I know Stefano Domenicali and we chat all the time, with Norbert Haug we chat all the time, and Christian.

“When I was going from Formula Three to GP2 I had a meeting with Christian when he was running the Red Bull team back in Formula 3000 I think it was.

“But I know everyone, so I speak to all the people during the weekend.”

Horner said last Thursday that Red Bull were trying to tie-up Mark Webber’s contract for 2012.

But the Australian appeared somewhat less keen. Webber said: “We’ll see how we go. There’s a bit to go yet in the summer. [I’ll] keep thinking.”

Coughlan was banned for two years

Mike Coughlan has apologised for his role in the 2007 spygate affair as he today starts his first day with Williams.

The ex-McLaren man was at the centre of the scandal four years ago when he joined them from Ferrari and passed on a 780-page dossier with technical secrets to his new employers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who was affected by my conduct and in particular the people at McLaren and Ferrari and the fans of those teams,” Coughlan said.

Following the scandal, Coughlan received a two-year ban from the sport and McLaren were fined $100m and thrown-out of the 2007 constructors’ championship.

“I sincerely regret my actions and I fully accepted the penalty given to me by the FIA. I can only hope that I can earn back everyone’s respect,” Coughlan said.

But he is looking to put the past behind him as he starts his new job as chief engineer with Williams.

“It was life-changing because it made me reflect upon myself and my actions. Leaving a team and a sport that I love, and then seeing the consequences of my actions on the team and its fans was devastating,” said Coughlan.

“All I can do now is work hard and try to earn my place back in Formula One. This is what I am determined to do with Williams.”

His appointment was announced in May following the resignations of Sam Michael and Jim Tomlinson. They came after Williams made their worst start to an F1 season in their 33-year history.

But the team have scored two ninth-place finishes with Rubens Barrichello in Monaco and Canada as the team slowly rebuilds.

But the rebuilding needs to come quickly as the team have not won a race since 2004 – their longest drought.

And the team, who were so successful in the 80s and 90s, have not won a title since Jacques Villeneuve beat Michael Schumacher in 1997.

Coughlan hopes to bring the glory days back to the Grove factory.

“I think we all have one goal – to win races. I’m hoping to help bring an upturn in the team’s results and put it back to where it deserves to be,” he said.