Monday June 25th, 2001
McLaren team chief Ron Dennis believes just one race win for his driver David Coulthard and a non-finish for Ferrari's Michael Schumacher will throw the championship race wide open.
Dennis said he was relieved to get a third place from Coulthard at last weekend's European Grand Prix after things did not go according to plan. And although Coulthard now trails title leader and European Grand Prix winner Schumacher by 24 points Dennis has refused to panic and believes the battle for the championship is still on.
"One race and a non-finish for Michael and we are back in it," said Dennis. "But we are not going to rely on it by any means, right now we have just got to get on with our job and that is what we are going to do. We are very comfortable with what we are doing.
"Rarely do I go away with a third place feeling we have achieved something. We really got it wrong in practice and we paid the penalty. We salvaged the third place out of nothing. The circumstances are that we are halfway through the season. We are not panicking, we know what we need to do and we are going to go away and do it."
Dennis is unhappy with claims that his team are unlikely to recover from their less-than-convincing performance at the European Grand Prix in time to beat Ferrari at Magny Cours.
"If people say the McLaren-Mercedes combination is losing their direction it would be a ridiculous thing to say," said Dennis. "We know how to go motor racing and we know how to win races. You're not going to win them all. One thing we're never going to do is panic.
"A lot of the problems we've experienced in the last three races is because we've been trying too hard and we've just got to calm things down and get a couple of results. We don't feel we're the team we've been in the past and we don't feel we are the team we will be in the future."