Whitmarsh “relaxed” despite coming under fire

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Martin Whitmarsh has stated that he is “relaxed” despite coming under fire following McLaren’s poor start to the 2013 Formula One season.

McLaren have scored just four points so far this season as drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez struggle to get to grips with the new car, but Whitmarsh does not feel under any pressure as team principal.

“I’m relaxed about it,” said Whitmarsh in an interview. “I’m passionate about what I do and I don’t like it when it doesn’t go right but we’ve all got a job to do and I don’t ever shy away from facing up to stuff.”

Whitmarsh refused to blame McLaren’s poor start on an individual, instead saying that the team succeed and fail together.

“It’s always very easy; people were trying to get me to name names of who might be responsible and people who might not even be here to defend themselves, but that’s not my style. That’s not how I operate and I hope and believe ultimately in our drivers, engineers; we’ve got a lot of bright, motivated people here.

“If you try and make decisions or impose them saying ‘I’m in charge, this is how it’s going to be’, you’ll fail.”

Many critics have called for Whitmarsh to be replaced by former McLaren chief Ron Dennis, but the incumbent team principal has confidence in his own ability.

“I hope and believe that I’ve got a reasonable amount of persuasive influence on most of the people in the organisation because they respect – I hope they do, not always I’m sure – generally respect that I play it straight, I tell them what I think.”

McLaren’s poor start is difficult to attribute to any factor besides their car. The development route taken by the team has sacrificed their early season form, but if they can continue the upward trend on display in Malaysia, they could be in a position to win races towards the end of the season.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.