Dennis - Do not write us off

MCLAREN boss Ron Dennis has said that only lunatics would write off his Mercedes-powered team in the championship this year despite their slow start to the new season.

Recent reports in the German media have suggested that McLaren are struggling to retain their competitive edge at the head of the grid this season, views backed up by their performance in qualifying at Sepang.

Dennis said: "There is this trend which says that BMW has taken over on top now and that we are struggling. This is absolutely lunacy... We are a very strong Grand Prix team and we know how to get on with this.

"We are going to knuckle down and show everyone. We are going to get the job done."

Mika Hakkinen restored some pride in a disappointing qualification for McLaren as he clinched fourth on the grid in the closing seconds while team-mate David Coulthard could only manage eighth, but Dennis remained unconcerned.

"We know we could have done a better job," added Dennis. "All the teams are affected by the new regulations and it depends how you cope with them and accommodate them.

"We know what to do, but it will take a little time. We have got another step planned for Brazil, but of course we don't know if that will be enough."

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