A horror fortnight for McLaren has been worsened by the revelation that key investor Mercedes-Benz is considering withdrawing from Formula One.
Mercedes' parent company Daimler has suffered in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, losing $1 billion a month, prompting the automaker to consider a variety of cost-cutting measures ahead of a shareholders meeting in Stuttgart later this week.
During the Malaysia race weekend, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice President Norbert Haug conceded that the company's future in Formula One remains uncertain.
He told GP Week magazine: "If you're asking me 'are we here for the next ten years?' then everybody who is honest, and I am honest, cannot give you an answer about how the world, the car industry, the economical surroundings will develop.?
"It is a difficult time for all of us, the whole industry, that's for sure..It's not easy for anybody but I hope it changes."
Although the manufacturer has remained loyal to McLaren - even through the espionage row in 2007 - Haug admitted that Mercedes is disappointed by the recent 'misleading the stewards' scandal which has again tarnished McLaren's image.
?Victories would be better than having discussion like these. But what I want to point out is that we have had some very positive influence. Monitoring what we get back worldwide we are the team with the most international televidion presence and so on,? he said.
?But we are clearly unhappy with the situation, as it is right now. Where we can help from a Mercedes side is to describe it in all openness. I think our team tries to be as open and accessible as possible.
?Yes, this (situation) is not a positive, but on the balance we have had a lot of positives for the money we are investing.?
Despite this latest concern, It hasn't all been negative for the company this season, with the Mercedes-powered Brawn machines boasting a perfect two wins from two poles so far.