• German Grand Prix

McLaren hoping for good weather to analyse upgrades

ESPN Staff
July 19, 2012 « Bottas ready for race seat | Lotus 'have to improve' - Raikkonen »
Sam Michael believes refining set-up is almost as important as improving the car © Press Association
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McLaren sporting director Sam Michael says that the team is hoping the weather does not hamper its analysis of new parts at Hockenheim.

Rain at Silverstone prevented McLaren from understanding its updates at the last grand prix, and as a result it was unable to challenge for the podium as Lewis Hamilton finished eighth and Jenson Button tenth. With even more new parts being brought for the German Grand Prix, Michael admitted to Sky Sports News that he was hoping rain did not affect Friday practice.

"[The weather] can be a pain because - especially if you're trying to get forces and loads out of new components, so you're trying to measure different things during practice sessions - having the weather there, especially if it starts raining and being intermediate conditions then that is a bit of a pain. It's the same for everyone, but if you're trying to bring a load of upgrades then it can make it more difficult to distinguish them."

Michael also said he believes the MP4-27 is fundamentally quick but pointed to the set-up as crucial to competitiveness this season.

"I think it's all part of the game we're in at the moment, and it's extremely tight. So setup has probably become more important now than what it was in the past. If your setup was out by a couple of tenths previously but you still had a second over the rest of the field it wasn't as critical because it wasn't first order. It is first order now, because the gaps are so tight.

"If you look at the last competitive dry session we had in Q2 in Valencia there was 0.29s across 13 cars. So that tells you Formula One is extremely competitive right now and we're searching for those last little tenths. Aerodynamic development is still top of the list, but understanding the tyres and the setup of the car and keeping on top of it [is crucial] because when you understand something rules can change or aspects of the tyre or the car setup can change that mean your previous understanding wasn't valid and you have to move on."