SHANGHAI, Oct 6 (Reuters) McLaren boss Ron Dennis says he is not superstitious but is still taking nothing for granted ahead of a Chinese Grand Prix that could end his team's long wait for a Formula One title tomorrow.
He gave short shrift to a question about a title finally coming his team's way, with 22-year-old rookie Lewis Hamilton poised to become McLaren's first champion since Finland's Mika Hakkinen in 1999.
''I'm not going to answer the question because effectively we haven't won any world championship yet. We are focused, day at a time....I'm not going to tempt providence,'' he said.
''I don't consider myself superstitious,'' Dennis continued.
''For example, I don't hesitate walking under a ladder as long as I can see what's above it. I don't care if I pass someone on stairs, all those sorts of things.
''But I do think there is a pattern to life that you've got to recognise.
''I believe that there are patterns to life and that if you deviate away from values, approaches etc then you can find yourself not getting the best out of life.'' Hamilton is 12 points in front of team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso with two races, including tomorrow's, remaining. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen is third overall and 17 points adrift of the leader.
Stormy weather is forecast for tomorrow, which could make the race more of a lottery, and Dennis was also mindful of the events of a turbulent season.
McLaren have already been stripped of all their constructors' points and fined 100 million dollar for having Ferrari technical information in their possession in a 'spying' controversy.
Asked whether he thought the tide might have turned, with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone hailing Hamilton as the saviour of the sport and the driver escaping sanction from the stewards yesterday, Dennis remained wary.
''Every time we think we are moving forward with complete clarity, suddenly we are faced with another hurdle to jump. we are taking nothing for granted,'' he said.
The team boss also had a rebuke for Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who suggested earlier in the week that Hamilton would have them to thank if he won the title because he had plenty of Ferrari in his car.
Dennis said the comments were ''poorly considered'' and possibly aimed for domestic consumption in Italy rather than for wider distribution.
''There is no, and never has been any, Ferrari intellectual property on our racing cars,'' he said.
REUTERS PDS PM1820