McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says his drivers are right not to be totally happy with how his team has performed this year, after former boss Ron Dennis criticized the duo for speaking out.
Dennis told AUTOSPORT during a visit to Indianapolis last week that he was "infuriated" Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button complained about the MP4-25 not being the best car in qualifying, when its design concept was optimized for delivering results in the races.
But with McLaren's qualifying woes continuing in Hungary, where Hamilton was left almost two seconds adrift of pole position, Whitmarsh openly admits that his outfit has to start doing a better job to get more speed out of its car.
"Ron is, as we all know, is an absolute racer and a competitive individual," Whitmarsh said about Dennis' comments. "He has got enormous pride in the team and he knows how hard everyone is working.
"He made some observations and I don't think he made them to either gentleman [the drivers] sat alongside me. I think the important thing is what we are saying here - we have got two great racing drivers, they don't always get it right, and nor does the team. It is that old saying: we race as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team.
"We are not here to apportion blame; we are not as quick, particularly in qualifying, as the Red Bulls, and now the Ferraris. I think that is duly acknowledged by me. But I don't think either driver has been complaining. They have been stating the facts as they are and, for a whole host of different reasons, we have been trying to play catch up with Red Bull, in particular.
"I think we will keep pushing, we have made good progress with the car so far but not as much as we would have liked to have made. It is a long season."
Although McLaren is leading both championships, Whitmarsh thinks that the outfit still needs to develop at a faster rate than its rivals if it is to have a decent shot at winning the title.
"We are, in one sense pleased to be here leading both championships, but also mindful of the fact that our role is to develop the car as quickly, or quicker, than our competitors," he explained. "At the moment we have to develop it at a faster rate than Red Bull and Ferrari, unless they come backwards towards us, and that is the role. I think the drivers have reflected that, and I have openly reflected it as well."