McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh has gotten kind of lippy this year with his suggestive trash talk about flexi wings, diffusers and people. While normally he has refrained from the hair-pulling and name-calling, Whitmarsh feels obliged to bask in the glow of controversy with some words not all to unlike his boss Ron Dennis.
What good is a head game if it isn’t properly deployed and I like the cheeky, more controversial Whitmarsh if I’m honest. He launched a bit of a diatribe against Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel today at ITV regarding Vettel and his mistakes:
â€œI think heâ€™s made a few too many,â€ said Whitmarsh on Sunday evening.
â€œUndoubtedly heâ€™s clever, heâ€™s quick. Heâ€™s still young, and I think heâ€™s learning.
â€œIâ€™d rather he did his learning by hitting other cars, not ours!
â€œYou sense outwardly that he deals with it [the pressure] very well.
â€œBut there have been or two too many mistakes that have cost other drivers dearly. So I donâ€™t know.â€
Let’s look at it this way, Red Bull have shown they are struggling with the pressure of closing the deal on a world title and they also have internal issues under the pressure. On the outside, they seem as calm as a Christian Horner interview but with their drivers colliding with each other and others, it seems they may beat themselves for the championship instead of McLaren legitimately doing so.
If Vettel is a little on edge, some finely crafted criticism about how he is erratic and makes too many mistakes goes a long way and Whitmarsh knows this. Ferrari and McLaren have waged this battle of the head and words for years but Red Bull is new to this neighborhood and you have to at least try. Sometimes you can beat your opponent before the game starts by merely messing with his/her head.
It’s a good gambit and one that, on the surface, seems to be working. Add some pressure int he media about Vettel’s fragility and Red Bull’s inability to operate like a big team and close the deal. Way to go Martin, Ron would be proud.
Let’s face it, Horner could easily counter with a polite suggestion that Whitmarsh had his own, erratic, impressionable, immature driver in Lewis Hamilton just a couple of seasons ago and should know full well the challenge that presents. At least if I were Horner, I think I’d volley the head game back at McLaren and might even throw in a mention of the Alonso/Hamilton debacle for good measure.