McLaren may not unleash full potential until China - Dennis
McLaren has been so aggressive with the design of the MP4-30 it could take two or three races to hit its full potential in 2015, according to CEO Ron Dennis.
McLaren has re-formed its iconic partnership with Honda this season but managed only 79 laps in the four-day Jerez test earlier this month as teething problems severely limited running. When the team did run, it did so with the engine turned down so it could focus on aero tests.
By contrast, Mercedes managed to complete over 100 laps on three of the four days in Jerez, accumulating a total of 515 laps, though Dennis says this was to be expected.
"Are we surprised that a Mercedes can do 100-plus laps?" Dennis said. "No, not at all, because that's where you'd expect them to be coming out of a season where they were dominant and effectively developing a different package. Clearly if you are behind in any sport catching someone requires you to accelerate faster than they are running, otherwise you're not going to catch them up.
"Therefore, have we taken some calculated technical risks? Yes. These relate to technologies where we are the first to deploy them and need to work hard to get performance advantages. It probably won't even be until Australia until we know how well we are doing; I expect two or three races before we really get the lie of the land. The key word for everyone in the team - patience. We have to live with the frustrations we predicted for ourselves and some of these things aren't as optimised yet."
The McLaren spent frustratingly long periods in the garage in Jerez as it worked through various issues and Dennis says that is because it is still finding a common understanding with its new engine partner.
"We are trying to think a lot. Instead of just jumping on a problem - especially with the cultural differences between us and the Japanese - we have to take the time to make sure we communicated correctly and have taken the right decisions. So probably every decision we are taking at the moment takes three times longer as we start to interface with people that have previously been in Japan doing other things.
"Their team is very new and their English is multiples better than our Japanese so we can't be critical that they can't completely communicate perfectly with us because they are speaking in our language so we just need to patient for them to get up to speed and get everything working properly."