“No one needed this win more than me,” said McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh in the immediate aftermath of the win in Budapest.
We were standing in the McLaren motorhome, with Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ pumping out of the stereo. A pressure release valve had popped off and the team was in the mood for celebration.
The team has changed a lot in tone since Whitmarsh took over. There is always a cool playlist on the go whenever you go into their hospitality area, concocted by music loving press officer Steve Cooper. The air of tension which always hung over the team when Dennis was around has palpably lifted, albeit there has been plenty of pressure on Whitmarsh personally this year.
He took over and almost immediately the team had got itself into a mess over misleading the Melbourne stewards. They threw themselves on the FIA’s mercy and with Dennis permanently removed from the scene, they went unpunished.
Since then Whitmarsh has found himself being pulled in different directions with the need to commit significant time to the FOTA cause, which was time he wasn’t spending on making McLaren stronger.
There was pressure from sponsors, who were not happy with the team’s lack of competitiveness. They still have to get their place back at the front of the grid next season, but this was a welcome boost in a season which looked pretty dire.
McLaren has been experimenting with producing viral videos this season, which is a great idea and one I’m all in favour of.
Next season USF1 will take this to a whole new level with regular video posts from their HQ co-ordinated by You Tube guru and major USF1 investor Chad Hurley. The others will have to sharpen up a lot when that team gets started.
McLaren’s efforts are still a bit straight and stodgy and frankly a bit too corporate to really work.
Nevertheless they are to be encouraged and the latest one is a look at how the team turned the 2009 car from a dog which was 2.5 seconds off the pace at the Barcelona test in early March into a winner at Budapest.
Take a look and see what you think. Click on this link: