Team principal Martin Whitmarsh wants fast start for McLaren


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The Independent Online

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is eager for Formula One to be "back with a bang" this weekend, and with the obvious hope Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button spark the fireworks.

Whitmarsh will need no reminding ahead of the curtain rising on the 2012 campaign at Melbourne's Albert Park that McLaren remain without a constructors' world title since 1998.

For a team of McLaren's depth, experience, personnel and resource it is an unfathomable statistic, and naturally unwanted on their part.

But there is genuine hope within the entire organisation that such a miserable drought may well end this year.

Enthusiasm has to be slightly tempered as no team has yet revealed their entire hand, but with McLaren looking strong the surprise will be if they do not have an ace or two up their sleeve.

Whitmarsh said: "As is often the case, you can complete thousands of kilometres of testing, analyse hundreds of thousands of lines of performance data and read pages of web and magazine editorial and still not have a clear idea of overall form going into the first race.

"I think that's an intrinsic and fascinating aspect of Formula One, the resetting of the bar at the end of each season and the relentless, and often invisible, quest to emerge on top at the start of a new year.

"So I think Australia will be fascinating. The winter's testing was so finely balanced it's particularly difficult to judge accurately who'll be the quickest, and that's fantastic for Formula One fans across the globe."

As Whitmarsh points out, his team had what he describes as "an extremely productive winter".

Compared to last year and the mistakes made with the development of the car, the contrast on this occasion could not be more startling, providing the cornerstone of the team's optimism.

In addition to which, Whitmarsh added: "I've never seen Jenson and Lewis looking so healthy, committed and prepared for a new season.

"There's a real hunger within the whole organisation. I've witnessed it in conversation with our heads of department, our engineers and our mechanics.

"We want to win more than ever and we've left no stone unturned in our quest for performance.

"Make no mistake, this will be a long, arduous and difficult campaign, and I'm naturally reluctant to stick my neck out and make any predictions.

"But my greatest hope is in Australia we put on a world-beating show to demonstrate to the world Formula One is back, and back with a bang."