Title chase not over for McLaren says Whitmarsh

Ian Parkes,Pa
Sunday 23 October 2011 01:01

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh feels Sunday's Korean Grand Prix perfectly illustrated the vagaries of an extraordinary Formula One season that is far from over for his team.

In the space of one rain-lashed race, Red Bull went from favourites to land both drivers' and constructors' titles to wondering how it could all go so horrifyingly wrong.

Mark Webber's crash and Sebastian Vettel's blown engine means they are both now hunters as they chase down the in-form Fernando Alonso who made it four wins from his last seven races.

Webber, who had started the day 14 points clear, is now 11 adrift of the Spaniard, whilst Vettel, who at one stage could have been leading the standings if his engine had not given way, is fourth and 25 points down.

Ahead of the final two races of the year in Brazil and Abu Dhabi on November 7 and 14, it underlines there are no guarantees for any of the drivers.

With Lewis Hamilton firmly in the hunt after finishing second to Alonso to leave him 21 points down, Whitmarsh said: "We are still very much in contention with Lewis.

"We've two really interesting races ahead, in particular Brazil, with Interlagos a great circuit which always produces a great race.

"But there is little doubt now the championship decider is going to be in Abu Dhabi, which is great for Formula One.

"But there has never been a better race than the one in Korea to demonstrate anything can happen in this championship. It really is still wide open."

As far as Whitmarsh is concerned, it is the driver who now makes the fewest mistakes who will be crowned champion, with Alonso at present flawless.

Webber underlined he is fallible when he put a wheel out of place that sent him spinning out on Sunday.

Hamilton, too, had one minor detour off track, but that was enough to cost him what may well have been a win given Vettel's retirement later on.

"Errors were costly for Red Bull, and they will feel they are under pressure," added Whitmarsh.

"Of course Lewis will be disappointed he fell off and let Fernando through, and okay it didn't quite work out for him.

"But he is definitely up for racing. He still has self confidence and self belief.

"Overall Ferrari have made a great recovery. From struggling mid-season they are leading the championship. They're tough to beat.

"Fernando is a phenomenal competitor, so that will be a good fight as well. It's great.

"Red Bull are also tough to beat, so we have to make sure we're at our best, that we keep improving the car and we minimise errors.

"If we do that then there is no reason why we can't win this world championship."

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