- Japanese Grand Prix
McLaren puts faith in 'big test package' at Suzuka
McLaren is putting its full weight behind a series of upgrades for the Japanese Grand Prix in an attempt to claw back the points deficit to Mark Webber and Red Bull at the top of the championships.
McLaren lost ground at the Singapore Grand Prix after Jenson Button finished behind his title rivals from other teams and Lewis Hamilton crashed out. Both drivers were comprehensively outpaced by front runners Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel and after the race Button revealed that the team had to postpone a major upgrade due to "reliability reasons".
However, managing director Jonathan Neale is confident McLaren has overcome the problem and is now in a position to maximise the potential of its car at this weekend's race.
"We're throwing everything and the kitchen sink at it," he told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "So from that respect we will be pushing very hard. If it means we have to pull the modifications one race forwards and we've only got limited components, I'd rather have a fraction of a second lap time than wait until we've got a comfortable set of spares and bits and pieces. We are running on a very lean edge of what we've got."
He revealed a number of areas the team was updating for the Japanese Grand Prix and said Friday practice would be used to evaluate the new package.
"We are taking a reasonable sized package to Suzuka," Neale said. "We've got a front wing upgrade, we've got a new rear wing and there are some aerodynamic details. I think what we've got is a big test package for Friday and after that we will be in a position to say what we are actually going to run in anger. Certainly we're taking everything we had in Singapore and some more to Japan."
When asked if he felt the title outcome was no longer in McLaren's hands due to the points gap, Neale said: "I don't think the destiny of the title is ever in anyone's hands, I don't think any of the teams would say it's in their hands. What we'll do is keep shifting the odds in our favour by working to make sure the car is bulletproof reliable and the drivers have got to not make mistakes. It could still go any way at the moment - it's a tough one to call."