In recent races, the McLaren MP4-25 has been looking less and less like a contender in terms of speed and updates. The opposition have caught up in F-duct technology and have used their early start on the blown diffuser to steal a march on McLaren. Even so, Martin Whitmarsh has arrived in Brazil full of optimism about the penultimate race of the season.
"I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be competitive here," he says with conviction. "I believe that, and the engineers and drivers believe it too. It's turned out to be a very tough battle for the title this year. Ferrari and Red Bull won't be easing up, and they'll be doing their level best to win these last two races. But no-one can predict who's going to have the fastest car at Interlagos."
The McLaren team principal thinks that having a Mercedes engine could be an advantage, not just because of its power but also its reliability: "That could give us the edge. But it's a situation that could change in a split second. Some of our opponents are having to rely on engines that have far more miles on the clock than the ones we'll be using."