“We are still pushing to win the constructors' championship and it would be wrong of us as a team to overlook this fact. There are 18 points available in Brazil and there's no reason why we can't take forward the pace and form we showed in China to achieve a one-two in Brazil,” said Whitmarsh in an interview for Autosport.com.
While also bringing a few updates to their car ahead of the Interlagos race next weekend, McLaren are also praying for Hamilton's powertrain to remain competitive throughout the Brazilian weekend. While Heikki Kovalainen will start the race with a completely new engine and gearbox, Hamilton's units are on their 2nd and 3rd race respectively.
“Lewis's engine will be on its second race in Sao Paulo, while Heikki will use a brand new V8, so we can balance the two approaches to engine life. In terms of gearbox life, Lewis's will be on race three while Heikki will start the weekend with a new box - but the level of reliability inherent in the gearbox means we anticipate fewer problems in this area,” added the McLaren official.
As Hamilton is not allowed to play his engine joker in Brazil, any failure in the practice or qualifying sessions prior to the race would bring him an unwanted 10-place grid penalty at the start. Ferrari's Massa is due to race with a new powerplant next Sunday, as he found himself in the same situation as Hamilton's, in China.
The Brit finished 7th overall at Interlagos last year, despite starting the race with a 7-point advantage over Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. A poor start and a gearbox problem a few laps into the race prevented the Brit from winning the title on his very first appearance in the championship.