Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug says McLaren remains calm and focused in its efforts to return to the front of the grid – as he predicts a tough time at next weekend's British Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen have had a troubled start to the season, with the MP4-24's lack of high-speed downforce scuppering their chances of fighting for a victory so far. And with the high-speed turns of Silverstone expected to expose the McLaren car's weaknesses, Haug says he is under no illusions about the team's chances for the British GP.
"Silverstone is a great track with a unique layout," he said in a team preview on Friday. "We have fond memories of this traditional circuit with Lewis's superb victory in the rain, more than a minute ahead of the second finisher last year, certainly being the most memorable moment.
"One year later, however, we will not be in a position to win. Since the beginning of this season we are in a catching up process. This is because we have not yet managed to get the best technical package out of the new rules in contrast to what we achieved with the old regulations in previous years when we built a winning car which we fought for the World Championship with and won it.
"Nevertheless, everybody in the team is highly motivated to further reduce our gap to the top - particularly on fast circuits. We are currently experiencing tough times, but this is not new for us: after a year without victories in 2006 we missed our target to win the title by one point in 2007 and then, a year after, we clinched the World Championship with Lewis in 2008.
"We all work in a calm, focused and concentrated way to get our job done. And we will manage to do so – but certainly not overnight."
Despite the low expectations for the weekend, Kovalainen insists he and Hamilton will not take things easy because they have little chance of gunning for the win.
"While we know our car won't be at its best through the fast corners, the challenge as a racing driver is to push to the limit so I'm just going to try my hardest," he said. "After a couple of disappointing races, it would be fantastic to get back into the points in one of the team's home races."