Monday August 20th, 2001
McLaren boss Ron Dennis has said that Ferrari's Michael Schumacher is a worthy champion after the German clinched on Sunday his fourth world title and also helped his team take their third consecutive Constructors' crown at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
McLaren had to concede defeat in both Championships for the second year in succession after the German driver scored his seventh win of the 2001 season in front of teammate Rubens Barrichello and Scot David Coulthard, who was Schumacher's main title rival before the race.
Dennis has admitted his team have made things easier for Ferrari and Schumacher after a disappointing year full of reliability problems. McLaren have scored only three wins out of thirteen races and are currently on 72 points to Ferrari's 140.
"Michael deserved to win, and we recognise that," Dennis told Autosport. "We made it a little bit easier for him than we would have liked, but that's motor racing. We've had performance drops in the past and they're going to happen again in the future, as with all teams."
However, Dennis has no regrets over this season, as he believes his team gave everything to try and stop Ferrari. The Brit has vowed to work harder next year in order to return to the top.
"You should never be able to reflect and say you could have done a better job," Dennis added. "That's the worst condition to be in, and I don't think we can try any harder than we tried. We're a pretty deep company, and we've got plenty of engineering and design capability, so I don't think we've lost any pace on any car.
"We'll try a bit harder maybe, and maybe [technical director] Adrian [Newey] won't come to the last couple of Grands Prix or something like that, but other than that we want to win the remaining races and then try and raise our game for next season."
Published at 18:19:10 GMT