Thursday August 23rd, 2001
Mercedes boss Norbert Haug has admitted the McLaren team's failings in this year's Championship cost Scot David Coulthard the chance to present a better fight for the title.
As Coulthard faced the media after his title dreams were finally ended by a Ferrari one-two in Hungary, Haug hugged him and promised him the team will provide better equipment next year. And Haug has now admitted that Coulthard's Championship potential was hit hard by the team's failure to cope with change.
"We, and I mean the team, created some problems for him," admitted Haug. "We made some mistakes when the new rules came in but we did get that under control. There were lots of things that went wrong, like starting in Monaco, like Barcelona, like being hit by Trulli in Silverstone or wherever.
"Without these problems it is easy to imagine that David could be still in the fight for the Championship."
Coulthard had a promising run in the early part of the Championship, but the team were apparently hit by problems coping with the introduction of new electronics in Barcelona.
After a run of four podiums, Coulthard managed just four points in the following four crucial races, during which time Ferrari rival Schumacher claimed two firsts and two seconds. But Haug says that the first area the team must improve on for next year is their performance during the crucial qualifying sessions.
"Certainly we need to improve during qualifying," he admitted. "Our race speed was quite okay during the season if you look at the 13 races. But we need to improve everywhere, always going on and on."
Published at 12:43:56 GMT