Martin Whitmarsh says his McLaren team decided there was no need for a camber change and that it could safely complete a stint on the blistered Pirelli tires that Lewis Hamilton had to start the Belgian Grand Prix on.
Several leading drivers – including both Red Bull men and Hamilton – picked up blisters on the soft Pirellis in Q3 on Saturday, and there were concerns over whether it would be safe to start the race on them. But with Pirelli certain that the issue was being caused by teams running setups with cambers outside its recommendations, the FIA decided that the rules should be followed and the top 10 drivers use their qualifying rubber for the opening stint in the race.
Whitmarsh said that despite Hamilton's tires clearly developing blisters in qualifying, McLaren did not feel any need to adjust its setup.
"We discussed it and our chassis and tire engineers reviewed it, and we believed that a camber change in our situation was not going to assist the situation and we believed that it was going to be safe," he said. "We believe Red Bull had a bigger dilemma than that because their analysis led them to believe that a camber change would have been a safer thing to do. And they were put in a very uncomfortable situation, I think. I will talk to Adrian [Newey] about it.
"I think other teams were quite adamant that we should not be allowed to replace the damaged tires and we should not be allowed to have a camber change without undergoing the penalty of starting from the pit lane."
Asked if McLaren had gone beyond Pirelli's setup recommendations, Whitmarsh replied: "No. We didn't and we don't. Ultimately we are responsible for the safety of these drivers and they reduced the camber coming here, as you may know. That was giving away some performance but it was the right thing to do as it turned out."
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali declined to comment on the Spa issue beyond underlining that his team followed Pirelli's recommendations.
"What I can say is that from our side we absolutely follow the instructions of Pirelli," he said. "If you follow the instructions of Pirelli, they are there to ensure the tire is used in the best and the safest way possible. I heard a lot of discussion about this problem of blisters, but if you run, and this is something I don't know [about in the case of other teams], but if you run in a proper way then I think it is absolutely correct to follow what Pirelli's instructions are."