- McLaren news
McLaren development 'going well' - Paffett
McLaren test and reserve driver Gary Paffett says that the development of the new car is "all going well" ahead of the 2012 season.
After delaying the launch of the MP4-26 in 2011 in order to maximise development time the car turned out to be slow and unreliable as McLaren struggled to make an ambitious exhaust design work. Following a poor pre-season the team reverted to a more simple solution and was able to emerge as Red Bull's main challengers in Melbourne. The team has stated that a good start to 2012 will be crucial, and Paffett told GPUpdate that the MP4-27 has been making good progress but admitted he was being cautious after the problems of last year.
"It's always very difficult to say because we set ourselves targets to meet; but you can hit those targets and then get to the first test and be nowhere," Paffett said. "So we are pretty happy with how things are going, the progress has been good and we have obviously had the car in the simulator in various stages for many months now; we've got a pretty good representation of what it is going to be like and it feels good.
"So I think at the moment we are pretty happy, pretty positive and just waiting to get the car on-track to see where we are and where we can go forward. There is a lot of development still to be done but we are getting close to our first race package now, and then there are obviously the big updates for the European races - but it's all going well, I would say."
Paffett also said that victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix was a realistic goal.
"Yes, absolutely. I don't see why not. We had a competitive car for pretty much all of 2011. Red Bull definitely had the pace over us for the majority of the season but, all the way up to the end of the season, we were pushing them very hard. So our plan is certainly to go out there and challenge for a race win in Melbourne."