McLaren will conduct back-to-back tests of its new exhaust-driven diffuser along with the regular configuration of the car as it bids to fix the problems with its latest upgrade.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the outcome of the tests will determine whether the upgrade is raced next weekend:
The days since the British Grand Prix have been spent back at the McLaren Technology Centre industriously undertaking rig tests, dyno running and development in the wind tunnel to ensure that the future deployment of the blown diffuser gives us a more accurate and beneficial read.
Of course, that final validation will only come at the circuit. So we’re looking at undertaking a major test programme on Friday at Hockenheim. This will involve both drivers running back-to-back evaluations with the T2 and T3 floors.
And, if these prove positive, we’ll then look at the deployment of the new floor for the remainder of the race weekend. But that’s a decision we’ll only make after a thorough analysis of the inherent risks and benefits.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton expects the team to be competitive at the Hockenheimring but is wary of the progress being made by their rivals:
While there are quite a few low-speed corners that require good traction, I think we’ll be on more familiar ground at Hockenheim, and should be able to successfully balance our car to be relatively competitive around there.
The big question mark surrounds some of the other top teams – they’ve shown improved performance over the past two or three races, even if they’ve not fully managed to score the results that their pace suggests.
So it will be interesting to see just how close things have become up at the sharp-end, because this could affect the way the world championship plays out, particularly if more teams start challenging for victory in the second half of the season.
Meanwhile Jenson Button is focused on improving his qualifying performances having started behind his team mate for the last six races in a row:
After two disappointments in qualifying at Valencia and Silverstone, my aim for this weekend must be to make life easier for myself on Saturday afternoon, so that I can maximise my performance on Sunday without needing to play catch-up during the race.
This will be another busy weekend for all of us as we spend Friday working through the changes we’ve made to optimise the blown diffuser. Hopefully, we’ll have a positive test and will be able to see the benefits of the upgrades in the race for the first time. I’m looking forward to it.
Button added that he missed the character of the original version of the Hocnheimring before it was changed in 2002:
I enjoy racing at Hockenheim: I miss the long, flat-out straights that made up the circuit at the start of my Formula 1 career, that was pretty unique. But the current track is better for the spectators and has shown itself to be a very good place for both racing and overtaking.
2010 German Grand Prix