• Australian Grand Prix

McLaren still believes in problematic MP4-28

ESPN Staff
March 16, 2013 « FIA made the right call to postpone - Button | Mercedes still deciding on new role for Lowe »
The McLaren MP4-28 is still not where McLaren want it to be © Getty Images

McLaren is determined to turn the MP4-28 into a winning car this year and is not considering returning to the design concept of last year's MP4-27.

McLaren has made big changes to the design of its car this year, but after struggling in testing it arrived in Melbourne to find the car a long way off the pace. The drivers complained of a poor ride and a lack of downforce, but rather than revert to a B-spec of last year's car, which was the fastest in the field at the end of 2012, McLaren will continue with its new approach.

"It's possible [to go back to the MP4-27 concept] but at the moment I think the best thing for us to do is to work and understand this car," team principal Martin Whitmarsh said. "Winter testing was quite tricky for all the teams and as you know it was relatively cold, there was lots of graining and a lot of people were left scratching their heads. We still haven't run the car in reasonable track temperature conditions and I fear we will leave here not having done so either.

"I think we've got to gather the data and I'm sure we can develop this car and the aim is to give ourselves the ability to develop this car throughout the whole year. That's the thing about Formula One now, the season's incredibly long, if you're going to win races and championships you have to be able to develop the car over the course of the year and we've given ourselves the scope to be able to do that.

"Probably if we had stuck with the original concept of last year's car we would be stronger here today. But we made a decision, we'll now work through this and I'm sure we have a car that has more potential than the one we had last year.

"At the moment this car is too peaky in its performance so we certainly didn't get the best out of it yesterday. I think it's more difficult to get the best out of it in these real-world conditions and that's what we've got to work hard on."

Whitmarsh said the team was unable to see whether changes made to the car since Friday practice gave the desired effect after wet weather mired Saturday's running.

"It's serious because we are a front running team and I don't think any of us enjoyed yesterday at all. We did some work overnight to try and improve the situation. In truth I don't know [if we improved], we hope and believe we have improved a bit, but I think being frank about it, we don't have the car where it should or where we want it to be. We've been in these situations too many times before, but we come out of them by being a team and I think both the drivers were an inspiration yesterday with how they conducted themselves and how they pulled the team together.

"We've got some data, not as much as we'd like, but we'll go away and work on that. There is no magic, no secrets in Formula One, we've got to do the work, be disciplined and deliver performance. We started yesterday and we are going to be racing until almost December so we've got to believe we can catch up with our competitors. I think there is no doubt that we can and we'll push every single race as we normally do and we'll find a way to get ourselves back into contention as soon as we can."