• Australian Grand Prix

Whitmarsh admits McLaren 'undoubtedly struggling'

ESPN Staff
March 15, 2013 « Australian Grand Prix Qualifying | Friday times not important - Vettel »
A grim-looking Martin Whitmarsh looks on during FP1 © Getty Images

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted that he was "worried about the pace" after a poor showing during the first day of practice ahead of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, admitting Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were struggling.

McLaren has made significant changes over the winter and while Whitmarsh remains confident it is increasingly clear the season has come too early.

"I think we should be worried about the pace," a glum-looking Whitmarsh told Sky Sports. "It's a tough day at the offices. We're lacking grip and have got poor ride. There's a lot of head scratching at the moment. As of today we are still undoubtedly struggling."

Sam Michael, the sporting director, agreed with Whitmarsh and admitted McLaren was "not where we need to be at this point in time.

"We still believe [ the changes] will be good for the course of the season. But we are still unoptimised in the areas we need to be, so we still have some work to do on the car. But it's a long season."

Button and Perez finished ninth and 11th in the morning practice and then 11th and 13th in the second session.