F1 title impossible to call says Whitmarsh
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes it is a brave man who predicts the destiny of this season's Formula One world title.
Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel are separated by just 24 points with five races remaining, starting this weekend in Singapore.
The quintet have claimed between them the 14 race victories so far, and it is becoming more apparent the championship is destined to go down to the wire with the final grand prix in Abu Dhabi.
At present it is the most closely contested title fight since 1981, and for Whitmarsh he concedes it is the most dramatic he has been involved with during his 21 years in F1.
"We've been in some fantastic fights, but typically there have only been two teams or two drivers," said Whitmarsh.
"Inevitably the best ones are those you win. I enjoyed 1998 for all sorts of reasons, a great championship with Mika (Hakkinen). It was nice to beat Michael (Schumacher).
"That was a great, great one that went all the way down to the final race in Japan. That was fantastic.
"But for the fans that year, as with many, it was two drivers fighting it out. This year, who knows, there are five drivers fighting for this one at the moment.
"The great thing is you've Jenson and Lewis, both the Red Bull drivers, you've got Fernando, all very much in this title fight, which is tremendously exciting.
"So to predict the outcome of this championship would be a very brave thing to do."
As with any championship battle, the keys to success are simple, particularly if you are a driver or team involved at the sharp end of the season.
"If you're confident or complacent then you really will not get the job done," added Whitmarsh.
"You can never be confident because Red Bull and Ferrari are strong teams who are going to keep improving their cars, so we've got to keep improving ours.
"We've just got to continue striving to make our car quicker and better, to try and minimise mistakes because that's how you win championships."
Sunday's race is essentially a pivotal one for McLaren as it marks a return to a low-speed, high-downforce track that has so far been their undoing this season.
Monaco and the Hungaroring are similar circuits to the Marina Bay venue, and where McLaren collected their lowest points hauls of the year, just 10 and four respectively.
Whitmarsh is naturally hoping some ground will have been recovered since the Hungarian Grand Prix on August 1, otherwise his team's title hopes will again be exposed.
"It's the first race at a low-speed, high-downforce track since the Hungaroring back in August," said Whitmarsh.
"It's also the first high-downforce track we've visited since the FIA tightened up its regulations on flexible bodywork.
"So it's likely to give us a much clearer idea of the respective pace of the leading teams after two less representative events in Belgium and Italy.
"But this is a race the whole team looks forward to enormously, and we travel to Singapore with a number of new ideas to try out on our cars, feeling positive we'll again be in a position to race at the front."
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
Arsenal transfer latest: Arsene Wenger set to sign...no one on transfer deadline day as manager heads to Rome to referee charity match
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal offloads fringe players as he looks to the long term
Radamel Falcao transfer latest: Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City linked with blockbuster move
Tottenham to offer Andros Townsend to Southampton in £14m deadline day bid for Jay Rodriguez
Radamel Falcao to Manchester United: Striker hasn't played in Champions League since 2010
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward