McLaren start 2011 with doubts over radical car

2011 F1 season preview

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Car: MP4-26
#3 Lewis Hamilton
#4 Jenson Button
Form 2006-2010: 3rd, DQ, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd
2010 points: 454

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have dropped hints in recent days that all is not well with the new McLaren.

The team have blown hot and cold in recent years. Concern over the new car will inevitably raise fears they are heading into another of their ‘cold’ seasons.

Just two years ago they started the season with a car that wasn’t able to reach Q2 on some occasions. In 2006 they failed to win a single race and their 2004 season was only saved by a substantial redesign of the car.

The MP4-26 is radical in design both outwardly – with its unconventional U-shaped sidepods – and underneath, where the team have tested an unusual exhaust solution. But the team have had a slow start to testing and have struggled to get the mileage they need.

Next week’s final test session in Barcelona should give further clues into how serious the problem is. The worst-case scenario is their championship chances may be over before the first race has even started.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2011

What makes it particularly difficult to tell is that McLaren have taken a different approach to the off-season than their rivals have.

Most teams had their regular drivers on hand for the first run on the new Pirelli tyres in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year. Similarly, most had their new cars ready for the first test at Barcelona.

McLaren, however, ran Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey at Abu Dhabi, and turned up at Valencia this year with last year’s car.

In theory, the advantage of that approach is that it gave their drivers a chance to experience the new tyres in a chassis they were familiar with.

The disadvantage is they’ve put less mileage on their new car than their rivals. At the time of writing Ferrari have covered twice as much distance with their new car as McLaren have with theirs.

McLaren have repeatedly demonstrated that their excellent resources allow them to bounce back after starting the season with a car that’s off the pace.

Other aspects of the rules changes should play into their hands. The Mercedes Kinetic Energy Recovery System was the best in 2009 and McLaren won two races with it.

And after several years of chopping and changing drivers they appear to have settled on a pairing that are both fast and get on well. The strength of their driver line-up was the difference between them finishing second instead of third last year.

Whether Hamilton and Button will be fighting for wins, podiums or just points this year remains to be seen.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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120 comments on “McLaren start 2011 with doubts over radical car”

  1. McLaren are sand-begging. It’s pretty much as simple as that!

    1. ferraricod123 (@)
      5th March 2011, 10:31

      I don’t think they are. I think they are struggling a bit.

      1. I too think they are struggling. At the moment it seems like Ferrari & Red Bull have it in there bag.

        1. The Last Pope
          5th March 2011, 11:33

          Isn’t it too early to say that? The new HRT might be incredible :P

          1. Fast as lightning (only available electronically rendered)!

          2. yep, we don’t know what HRT is going to reveal but we can be pretty sure it’s going to be up there with the flying bulls and prancing horses. If it is close though at least HRT much superior drivers will make the difference.

          3. If it is close though at least HRT much superior drivers will make the difference.

            You mean driver, not drivers…

        2. i think that U-Pod is excellent from aero design view, cause can makes dirty air from front tire becomes streamline flow.

          but have side effect:another team have clean air supply to inlet sipepod

          1. Turbulence flow from front tire make less cooling capacity from inlet air, but i guess their already count this with big vert inlet or miss calcutate :)

          2.softer Pirelli hurt their engine cooler (all dirt and compound) looks all dirt on another team front sidepod bodywork. U-pod shape that have lower inlet n face-to-face with front tire cross section contribute on this reasons.

          3. U-pod that have wider coss-section, get more difficult to make it tight on the end bodywork (make it like bottle neck) so air flow on back end more dirty (mean more turbulence). that makes air speed lower than team that have bottle neck configuration,

          why thats important?air flow on back end supply diffuser system. easily HIGHER AIR SPEED can grab more under-body air flow. likes VACUUM that suck car to the ground, thats why old school ENGINEERING BANN have fan on the back car to suck under-body flow (air on underbody travel more speed)

          on science: air plane wing cross section have higher speed on the top (cause curve makes air travel longer distance with lower one)and lower speed on the bottom. create less pressure on top and make lift-force that makes airplane fly, in F1 flip it over.. You need more higher speed on bottom than upper section

          THATS why Mr.Newey RB7 have tiny little sipepod clean back, williams lost gearbox (hope mechical issue sort out) and tororosso double floor to supply clean more speed airflow to Non-double Decker diffuser. Sorry thats a loooong comment :)

          1. dirty air from front tire becomes streamline flow.

            I don’t think that’s true at all, As I understand it, behind the tyre their there is a pocket of low pressure, which results in air moving into that space, hence creating an area of “dirty air”, much like the situation created behind the entire car itself. I think the sidepod is just to far back to really solve this problem.

            But, I really have no idea! And I really liked reading your comment!

          2. thanks, thats another true from u Mike :)

            thats why we need wind tunnel to sort these.. or CFD with veryx1000 good calculation (with fluid dynamic are damn complicated, i think we need 5-10 years more time for CFD).. i imagine more speed you travel, u get more long back area of dirty air..(specially on corner or straight >150kph)..


            i reconds mclaren want to keep clean air from front end travel far to rear wing smoothly (with lower cross sec valley thats shape U-pod) to cut dirty air from rear body, specially air box.. but i thinks air travel on higher position n give less suction press drama to diffuser.. n thinks mclaren eager to cosed these handiap n make exhaust combustion gas exit on lower-front placed to help this wider U-pod speeding their lower flow..(they try more configuration exh on test)

            and longer wheel base just more hurt them, cause MORE underbody-air you must suck..(mechanical grip advantage but aero handicap)see Lemans vid merc car fly? more flat cross section get more unstable create lift-force u get.

            But once again that just my point of view seeing that U-pod. to proof it we need mclaren scale on windtunnel :)

            For Merc:
            I hope they can install their 2010 FDUCT activated pressurized by thats DRS.. or there’s specific Reg to bann Fduct..? sorry another loooong comment in bad English :)

          3. but again.. i think Mclaren boys have plenty of best engineers in market with best tools available.. they will sort these things so fast if they have faith never stop to try… im Merc fan but eager more close competition ever.. just not agree with overtaking spot box..what?600m straight ..sick

    2. I really really hope they are!!!! The problem is it is so hard to tell anything from pre-season tests, as you all know with fuel loads what test they are running, engine settings ect. I just hope they pull it out of the bag soon.

    3. There is no reason for McLaren not to push their car to the limits whilst testing, so they are not sand-bagging. This has 2009 written all over it for me.

      ….or if you are implying they are ‘begging for sand’ for some reason than that’s another thing altogether.

      1. Find it hard to believe they are sandbagging when they can’t even get enough mileage in it. Get the feeling though that Red Bull are sandbagging and will have clear edge over Ferrari when hit Melbourne.

        1. I think you’re right. Red Bull were sandbagging last year in testing, and everything they’re doing this year seams very similar.

    4. UKfanatic (@)
      5th March 2011, 14:16

      The press is talking too much about it last years car want good and they finished 2nd anyway so I dont know but my guess is that they are the 3rd fastest car in the grid again

      1. Talking of HRT,they still need to name their third driver,last year they started the season with a car with no testing this year they will start with a driver with no testing.

        1. …and probably another car with no testing. That’s if they start the season.

    5. I don’t know, usually when a team sand-bags, they are just a bit off pace and they say things like ‘we still have some testing to do’…these guys seem genuinely concerned, a little more so than if they were sand-baggin’

    6. There is absolutely no point in sandbagging any more. Gone are the days when Michael would spend weeks whipping round the Ferrari test track while the team nailed down the shiney new red car. Testing is limited to try and balance that luxury that few teams could afford. Is testing too limited? Maybe, but it does mean we see evolution over the season and a tighter field – which is nice.

      So McLaren sandbagging? Nah. No team has that luxury. Well, they might if they have rocket scientist Adrian Newey designing their car, but generally no.

      Lewis and Jenson would both make lousy poker players. They arn’t entirely happy so McLaren goofed by coming to the party late.

      Will Macca catch up? Mostly. RB will be faster. But Ferrari with Alonso is in the box seat for me. Fast and CAN overtake without wearing someone elses carbon fibre.

  2. I don’t think they will do well immediately. They didn’t have real long run, so they don’t understand car well. even if everything goes fine next week, it won’t be enough to challenge against Redbull and Ferrari. Maybe they could bounce back from middle of the season, but we knows it might be too late. weak early, strong late, another 2009 possible.

  3. I get frustrated if I’m honest the mclaren always seem to be playing catchup at tge start of the season since newey left.

    I have to say I’m yet to be convinced that their faith in developing things and testing on the sim is accurate. The blown diffuser was great on the sim and took ages to get it dialled in on the track.

    Just imagine, if they made a car that actually worked straight out of the factory, and were able to refine. Seems like a pipedream for mclaren fans at present.

  4. It’s only the radical design and lack of testing that’s raised questions from naysayers. It’s been designed to leap-frog the competition and because it hasn’t already blown them away in it’s limited testing runs it’s seen as a failure (despite already posting times comparable to it’s rivals). It’s simply too early to tell.

    1. i hope you are right dude

      1. Right now no one knows the real pace of any of the cars let alone their race pace with the Pirelli’s performance factored in. When McLaren take a different tack in design and testing doom mongers suggest test times matter but when Toro Rosso, Williams, Renault and Sauber post fast times it’s implied that their test times don’t (glory runs etc). Hamilton nearly always says his car is great or disastrous or both at the same time and still people don’t take what he says with a pinch of salt.

        1. But generally, Mclaren have looked generally slower than Ferrari or Red Bull. This will generally have the general effect of causing the general audience to think they are generally slower.

          But I agree, testing is testing.

  5. They have a strong combination but as Keith pointed out testing the tyres with test drivers & bringing their car late wasn’t the best of the decision made by the team.But as we all know they have the resource & the power to fight back.But it’s better to be strong from the beginning rather then from the middle.

  6. Compared to the guys that designed this, I’m no expert, but I know that surely if you’re going to come out with a radical car you need to hit the ground running as soon as possible.

  7. The truth is that we don’t know. If Keith has access to Mclaren’s data, i would believe every word of this -but he doesn’t. Their times are not at the sharp end but neither were Red Bull this time last year and look what happenend come Bahrain quali. F1 is a cruel sport and i think it takes a brave man to make assumptions like this…

    1. I’m not making any assumptions – Hamilton said the other day they’ve got catching up to do.

      1. It’s true both Hamilton & Button separately said that they think they are struggling now if they lie that’s a different story.

        1. And why would they do that. I think they are worried, surely just the limited milage gives reason for concert. And it also means they had less time to work on setup solutions to get the most out of it.

          Sure, they might bring another second to the car in Barcelona or Melbourne, but I would not bet on it.

          We might be seeing McLaren again playing cach up this year to be strong for wins in the second half only.

          1. Bigbadderboom
            5th March 2011, 13:53

            Jenson and Lewis are in personal damage limitation mode. Their quotes are worded to ensure minimum blame for the cars lack of pace, it has become common for teams to underplay their hand but not so so common for drivers to do so. The poor start to the season that is looking innevitable is difficult to attribute to them, but the development of it’s potential will be. Hopefully they get to grips with tyres, aero, KERS and DRS in Barcelona, otherwise this will be another difficult season for McLaren

      2. But if they’d tested the car every day since the end of last season both drivers would want more wouldn’t they?

    2. @howick20
      Actually RBR times were at the top of the time sheets this time last year….

  8. As much as I’m a mark webber fan, that lewis has serious skills! Even if it is a dog of a car for even the first couple of races he will still score valuable points until the car is improved. And button is Mr smooth so he will make the pirelles work as good as any other, which might enable him to have one less pit stop! The car is not looking that great on the performance front now, but with their drivers and mid season development it is far from over.

  9. I think McLaren are behind the Red Bull and Ferrari, maybe about half a second, but I think they’ll have an upgrade at the Barcelona Test or during the Australian Grand Prix. McLaren really need to get some milage in the next test, to understand their car more better than they do.

    1. I think half a second is a bit generous,i’m thinking more like one and a half seconds as I am massively pessimistic. This car will probably struggle to make Q3 for first half of the season….what makes me annoyed is how much money all these people at mclaren make for being useless, I mean if i was useless I wouldnt make money and i’d be living on the streets.

  10. We’ve seen in recent years that McLaren have started the season with a substandard car, and got it to the point where it isn’t off the pace in the second half of the season. Remember 2009 where Hamilton was very dejected with the performance of the car at the start of the year, but had a reasonably good second half to the season.

    McLaren’s substantial resources allows them to build a strong car over the season, even if they start out with a car that isn’t particularly good.

    1. fullthrottle
      5th March 2011, 17:21

      like 2010 seasson

  11. Although it’s nice to see many cars fighting for wins, I think the emotions offered by duels are almost same if the drivers are battling for a lower position. If last year we had 3 teams battling for wins and 2 battling for 4th places, and this year we had 2 teams battling for wins and 3 battling for 4th places, the Championship would be closer but the racing would be just as entertaining.

  12. Hmmm,Of course if McLaren ARE in trouble they’d be wise to bring back someone like Pedro De La Rosa to sort out the MP4-26 as he has great technical feedback and much experience. Liked by the team too. ; )

  13. Hopefully they can luck into good solid early points with good tyre management – then get good pace for the latter half of the season? He says clutching at straws…. :'(

    1. I think McLaren should be made to pay fans compensation for the upset and dispair they have and will cause to fans.

      1. It would be easier to take if they didn’t talk their chances iof titles up 100 times more than usual!!

        1. I know, whats all this about “long wheel base will help give 2010 downforce levels” Its absolute BS they don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

  14. I guess the only advantage if this lack of performance continues to be the case is that it makes an opening for Mercedes and LRGP.

    Considering the bounce back in 2009, they shouldn’t have many problems. I can’t see this year being as bad as that!

  15. No surprise. Two drivers who can’t develop a car. A constantly changing design team. The last vestiges of a potentially greet team have now all gone. Starting with the exit of Alonso in 07.

    1. Mef…I totally disagree…look at 2009 toward the back and the team developed th car to the front. Hamilton was involved in that process.

      1. team developed th car to the front.

        I agree, I think Mclaren is the team most likely to make good on a bad start. And that I can respect.

        Of course, I hope Williams beat them! :D

    2. That’s complete unfounded nonsense Mef.

    3. Thats why Hamilton won the following year, they bounced back to actually win races in 09 after a shocking start, and came 2nd last year…

      1. yes,he won it because it happenned a year or two after they stole the ferrari’s design. now that much of the rules from that time are gone, they had to start from scratch and since they don’t have an opportunity to get the ferrari’s papers any more ,they are lost and will be lost for seasons to come.

        Just take a look at how the car was (unreliable and slow) when montoya and raikonnen drove it and how fast and relialbe it was a year after they stole ferrari’s papers.

        Also I remember reading how dennis claimed ” that only two people knew” about the existence of those papers, when in reality even the drivers knew about that. How could someone trust that team? and how they represented a entire country?

        1. Coefficient
          7th March 2011, 14:52

          Absolute nonesense!! Your comment is uneducated babble!

    4. Entirely agree with Mef. Mclaren should worry more about producing a competetive car and less about PR moves like hiring Button and their ill-fated late launch. For a team of such vast resources failing to win a WCC since 1998 is simply embarrassing and I can’t see things improving without a radical overhaul of personnel and philosophy. A meaningful livery wouldn’t go amiss either.

  16. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ ;)

    Theres still one more test to go and McLaren have had alot of time since the last test to try and put things straight at the factory..

    here’s hoping :)

  17. Can’t wait for Melbourne, only time will tell how it all pans out but I would think that pre season testing is generally a fair indicator regardless of fuel loads, testing format etc of which teams are looking good. It would be strange for mclaren to sandbag it ‘s hard to gather valuable data in testing as it is without spending valuable time going slow on purpose, history says mclaren are in for a “cold” year this year. I agree and so does Lewis it seems…..

  18. The real question is, how important will track position be this year, and how will the KERS play out. If the new wings and aerochanges make overtaking easier, perhaps not looking so good for McLaren, but if it’s just as tough as ever, having the best KERS will make them just as impossible to pass as before. I’ll be amazed if they’re not still in the top 3 across the season, but I doubt they’ll be up there with Red Bull and Ferrari, just hanging around spoiling the odd race between the top 2 as they did last time KERS was in play.

  19. I remember same stories of Red Bull this time last year. Missed the first test and reliability was hitting them hard with an innovative design car.

    Barcelona on Tuesday will give us the indication of whether McLaren are going to challenge or not. Could be interesting to see if someone has something up their sleeves with an “F duct” type idea.

    1. I remember same stories of Red Bull this time last year. Missed the first test and reliability was hitting them hard with an innovative design car.

      It’s much easier to deal with a fast but unreliable car than it is to deal with a car that is reliable but slow. Unfortunately for McLaren they are both unreliable and slow.

  20. I think that missing the first test sessions has really hurt mclaren.

    But I think Lewis will probably scoring most of the points if they are struggling with the car.

    Because Jenson is just fades away if the car does not suit him.

    1. Currently the car suits Buttons style better than it does Hamiltons, if the few long runs in testing they did were anything to go by.

      Button, unlike Hamilton, said he was happy with the tyres.

      In fact the whole Pirelli tyre thing as probably played right into Buttons hands. It’s just a shame that the McLaren will be more than likely a mid field car at best.

  21. Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault, Sauber, Williams and STR are currently the best cars at hanging on to their tyres. They have more downforce than McLaren. It’s as simple as that.

    Regardless of what the fastest lap time is in the next Barcelona test, if McLaren can’t get their car to use its tyres in a better way, then they will struggle in the races.

    And don’t be surprised to see some of the new teams making some of the more established teams look silly.

  22. What I find amazing is that, the drivers still complain about downforce, when the odd shaped sidepods were to allow for better airflow and improved downforce from the lower wing structure.
    Obviously, I don’t have the talent of the Mclaren engineers and aerodynamicists, but its looking like, either bureaucracy is stiffling talent, or better talent is available elsewhere.

  23. I wouldn’t be that surprised if Mclaren had a slowish car to start with as it seems to be their pattern of one year having a good car the next a bad which is strange because with the way they rotate their design team it should cut this problem out.

    Unfortunately, even if they are well off the pace I can’t scream with glee that Ferrari (if they’re any good) will have one less competitor to worry about as Mclaren’s in season development is usually so good they should be at the front in no time. Although last year they did seem to struggle to get all of their updates working well and maybe that was because of the car or the lack of testing giving teams a bit more of a headache.

  24. The Mercedes and McLaren both look off the pace. It’s just a question whether Red Bull or Ferrari have turned up with the fastest car at Melbourne.

  25. Have McLaren used their 2010 aero package already? I think I’ve only seen them with the 2010 front wing on it still.

    Just like Mercedes, they have been working on reliability and simulator data first. That gives the designers and the people in the factory more time to finalise the aero.

    This new aero will then be used in the last test so the drivers can work on setup for the car before it actually races.

    At best they can guess how much faster the new aero parts will be. They can also only guess how much slower they might be compared to the competition. So it’s a whole lot of guesswork to determine if and how ar behind they might be.

    Either way, Hamilton was driving for the WDC just about the whole season in the third fastest car. If it wasn’t for the mechanical failures and Webber, he would have been far ahead (although obviously the same could be said for Vettel).

    1. Unfortunately for McLaren they can’t assume that Ferrari and Red Bull will be standing still while they attempt to catch up. Both Ferrari and Red Bull will also be bringing new aero packages to the final Barcelona test. If both McLaren and Mercedes are a second off the pace now, then the best that they can both hope for is to be half a second off the pace by Melbourne.

      It must also be remembered that Hamilton was driving a “third fastest car” that was only a couple of tenths off the Red Bull at the most, throughout the season.

      1. Not really, it was about a second slower in qualifying in half the races.

        1. yes but they had good race pace last year. In testing in the mid to long runs you could see that… not so this year (so far at least)
          In qualifying the were almost always over 0.5 off the RBR and sometimes much more, except on the F-duct tracks (Canada etc)

  26. I’m new to F1 (only really followed the 2010 season but have been watching on and off for quite a few years) but I find it interesting that there don’t seem to be any worries so far from other teams who are claiming to have ‘radical’ or ‘aggressive’ designs such as Renault and Williams. Does this mean there is a fundamental issue with the McLaren design or maybe a bungled addition or two to the car? As a Renault supporter I sure hope so!
    On a side note just signed up here, hello everyone

    1. Howdy.

  27. Snow Donkey
    5th March 2011, 14:08

    With such a radical car and such little mileage, I think it’s far too early to judge the package. I mean this car bears so little resemblance to anything fielded by the team in the past that it stands to reason it will take time to extract what potential is there. RBR has been refining the present package for 3 years. Give them time to sort it out.

    I’m no huge Mclaren fan, but I do love brave designs, and brave designs sometimes need time to optimise, especially in this low testing era of ours… short lasting pirellis and limited sets for race weekends will penalise this approach though.

  28. Odds on Narain becoming 2011 world champion? Put a tenna on it and become a millionnaire! Nah you lose a tenna.

  29. Even if McLaren turned up in Melbourne with a three legged donkey they could not be written off just like that.
    They are not the second most successful team in F1 for nothing. They are, perhaps, the best team out there to turn a lemon into a race winning car.
    And no, I am not a McLaren fanboi. Quite the opposite. However, not stupid enough to underestimate their abilities.
    We shall all see how things pan out when the racing gets going.
    Forza Ferrari 150º Italia dot co dot uk or whatever name they turn up with for the start of the championship.

  30. and how exactly do you know this ?. hamilton set a best time that was reasonable compared to others . The drivers said the same about the MP4 25 and did that car not match Red bull on the downforce tracks ?

    I remember clearly Button begging for more downforce during 2010 pre season ,come the first race they blitzed the time sheets .

    I get the feeling there will be surprises come the first race . This test is even trickier to analyse than ever . The ARW will probably be worth 0.5 sec , add that to KERS thats another 0.5 sec. which means a car will be at least 0.5 sec a lap slower if either of this devices are not deployed at once! . Throw in variables like fuel load , tyres , rev levels e.t.c this makes anyone making assumptions look foolish.

    I would imagine that Mclaren have a different front wing for this radical car . The one they have been using is the same as last year ,with those side-pods you’d think they have a different front wing to direct airflow to the rear-wing like they stated during the launch .

    A new car will definitely have some issues , the RB5 had issues and they hardly showed pace during the tests . Can anyone say they had any idea that the RB5 was a race winner with the slow times they posted during the 2009 pre season?

    Only 6% of the MP4 25 was carried over to the MP4 26 , which means 94% of this car is brand new !. The RB7 is an evolution of the RB6 which also evolved from the RB5 , which means much of the Red bull car has remained same for three years . F150 evolved from the F60 .

    Even if Mclaren are not the fastest come Melbourne the potential in this car will see them on top within 4 races .

    The folks at Mclaren have great ideas lets give them a chance here . If Mclaren had done anything other than radical and were still slow would folks still not rant ?

  31. I look less at the time sheets and read more the comments the drivers make. McLaren sound very apprehensive and the results will show in Melbourne.

  32. Pure sensationalism, try not to bu such a jounalist KC.

    1. Looks more like a “2 articles on one team each day ahead of the season start” series to me. No sensationalism here, Red Bull yesterday, McLaren today, Ferrari tomorrow, I guess.

  33. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    5th March 2011, 18:47

    Talking about Pirelli’s degradation, I wonder how dangerous it could be if in quali or race these ones blow. I remember the accident of Ralf Schum at Indy and then the circus of Michelin teams withdrawing… that was terrible but it could be worse now that there’s just one supplier.
    About McLaren, they normally these strange designs and sometimes they prove good, as it was the F-duct last year, or the “horns” time ago. But there’s not only the external design what rules in F1, it’s reliability. Last year the car was reliable and they fought till the end. I don’t think they lost the championship for lack of reliability but for plain unluck or mistakes (unluck as Button pushed away by Vettel, or mistakes like a courageous Hamilton feiling at Singapur and Monza.) But in general all teams made mistakes last year and that was part of the thrill. I woudn’t put McL down yet.

    1. Talking about Pirelli’s degradation, I wonder how dangerous it could be if in quali or race these ones blow.

      The tyres performance will be shot to pieces long before the it becomes too dangerous to drive on. Although, if your car is handling badly, it could be a problem.

    2. Tyre wear is different from tyre fatigue.
      The problem Michelin faced was not wear but rather the construction of the tyre couldn’t take the load of the banked section hence the carcass broke even though the tyre had not even fuffered any wear.
      It turned into a big mess because they were supposed to use two different tyre construct.. But they used only one for their entire range of tyres. They further lied that they could fly insuitable tyres when there was no such available.

  34. mclaren drivers are talking about lack of downforce and its a not a simple problem for a new car. that not only makes a F1 car slow on a single lap but also has a very bad effect on tyres wear on long runs.

    the real bad news is, if there is a considerable lack of down force in a new car’s concept, it means that it will be hard to reach other teams level during the season by development.

    remember 2009 and 2010 seasons, mclaren made huge gains especially during 2009 season but lack of down force was always with them even at the end of season, same thing happened during the 2010 season they were never come close to rival teams level.
    they may shine on some special tracks but overall if their drivers are talking the truth, than they are really in deep trouble once again for the 2011 season.

    1. mclaren have always had downforce issues , even when newey was there .

      1. True. Mclaren almost always seem to leave the downforce in the design room. Which is why they always wear their tyres out faster.

  35. i,m no expert on body language ,but jenson struggles to put the wool over anyones eyes ,and lewis is useless at lying .so i think the cars a dud !

    1. “Ah well there’s always next year” I say to my self realising i’ve said that for the previous two years!!!

  36. Sometimes it’s very difficult to hide the fact that you’ve completely destroyed a set of tyres in only six laps worth of running. Even if they topped the tank up fully every time the car pitted, it wouldn’t explain why the tyres were wearing that much!

    Lewis is a fairly honest chap, and if he says that the car lacks downforce, then the car lacks downforce.

    1. A quote from Autosport on the last day of the Barcelona test:

      “McLaren only did one run of more than 10 quick laps, and it was this 16-lap effort. The times are scattered all over the place and the only explanation Hamilton would give afterwards was that he was getting overtaken a lot… So we’re still waiting for a positive sign on the MP4-26.”

    2. you have made up to five comments on this thread and every single time you have had something negative to say about mclaren .

      Who destroys a NEW set of tyres in SIX LAPS! , just like that ?,why not include track temperature at the time , tyre type, track condition e.t.c , don’t just take issues out of context . can you provide a source to this piece of assumption?

      If you are going after lewis , i can tell you that Button the easiest guy out there with his driving style, destroyed his tyres in 10 laps while lewis did 28 laps! on the same kind of tyres at the malaysian grand prix

      at the 2010 Canadian grand prix , drivers experienced graining but as the cars got lighter towards the end and more rubber was laid down ,the situation stabilized.

      1. VXR always looking to bash Hamilton at the slightest opportunity even when his facts are fiction.

        1. Here are some non-facts taken from the non-factual publication, Autosport. And regarding the last day of testing at the Barcelona track.

          “Webber did 59 quick laps during his three-stop race simulation. We think tyre use went soft-soft-hard-soft. Red Bull has been the best at holding onto the tyres, but the times drop away pretty quickly when he is on a full tank throughout both the first two stints.

          The hard tyre hangs on a lot better and for a lot longer, but the pace is not as impressive as we’ve seen it. Webber explained after the session that the steep drop-off at the beginning of the final stint was due to traffic and not the tyres. The feeling is that this was quite a conservative run, and Webber admitted that they would do things differently in later race sims…

          29.7, 29.8, 30.1, 31.4, 32.0, 32.0, 32.4, 33.2, P
          27.4, 27.9, 28.9, 29.8, 30.2, 30.8, 31.1, 31.3, 31.9, 32.4, 32.6, 33.2, 33.6, P
          29.9, 29.6, 29.8, 30.3, 30.8, 30.2, 30.8, 30.4, 30.6, 30.7, 30.6, 32.6, 31.8, 31.3, 31.1, 32.3, 32.5, 32.3, 33.6, 33.2, P
          24.9, 28.3, 29.1, 28.4, 28.3, 28.3, 29.0, 28.5, 29.0, 29.4, 28.6, 29.1, 32.0, 29.2, 30.1, 29.8, 30.3, 30.7

          McLaren only did one run of more than 10 quick laps, and it was this 16-lap effort. The times are scattered all over the place and the only explanation Hamilton would give afterwards was that he was getting overtaken a lot… So we’re still waiting for a positive sign on the MP4-26.

          29.5, 29.1, 29.4, 29.7, 32.1, 30.8, 34.8, 30.8, 37.0, 31.1, 31.4, 32.3, 44.5, 51.9, 49.2, 34.3

          Ferrari did a lot of laps again. There was no race simulation, but there were a couple of runs of around 30 laps. This one was 27 with one stop in the middle, and the F150 Italia held onto the tyres impressively – less than two seconds slower after 14 laps. The pace was a lot more varied after the pitstop, but the genuine pace seems to drop by around two seconds again.

          28.2, 36.5, 27.8, 28.1, 28.3, 28.7, 29.0, 28.9, 28.9, 29.3, 29.2, 29.4, 29.9, 30.1, P
          31.5, 26.5, 26.9, 31.4, 27.3, 27.4, 27.6, 28.3, 28.4, 28.9, 32.1, 28.0, 28.1”

          Still not convinced McLaren have any problems? The runs he made under 10 laps all destroyed his tyres completely. Whereas the Ferrari and Red Bull look far better on their runs.

          1. Again no context. No fuel levels, track temperatures, test goal.

            Pretty pointless to make comparisons then.

      2. If you follow testing daily (hourly for many of us Fanatics) you would have read the hundred of tweets and stories from journalist, ex-drivers, and team personell at the test all stating that the MP-26 was destroying it’s tires. Many reports even suggested that the car didn’t look anywhere near as sure footed as the main opposition. It isn’t Mclaren-bashing time, it’s time to get your facts straight. Just as no one can say that the car is 100% a dud, you cannot say that it isn’t. From all the reports
        I’ve read, it sounds like they’re going to have a difficult first pat of the season (maybe longer if their rivals development pace is equal)

        1. Yes but it does seem as if VXR is going out of his way to install even more doubt into mclaren fans than we already have. However that might be the right thing to do, just so we don’t get our hopes up.

        2. The facts are out there if you are willing to look for them and are willing to take on board what they say, rather than simply dismissing them out of hand.

          1. Th epoint is, you are not producting facts. Or at least not comparable ones.

          2. @Patrickl

            The ‘fact’ seems to be that whatever the track temperature (same for everyone), fuel load (Webber did a race simulation, look at his times during his first and second stints on the soft tyre) or test goal (Hamilton set out to do one long run at much reduced pace, but still couldn’t make the tyre last more than 16 laps). The general consensus in the paddock is that the McLaren is currently well off the pace.

            I would like to say that they are sandbagging or have a magic solution to all of their problems (reliability will be more of a concern to them at the moment) that will find them another second of pace, but I cannot.

          3. Webber was on the hard tyres and Hamilton talks about the softs lasting 15 laps.

            Obviously the hard tyres will last longer than that.

            You really are comparing apples and oranges. Or perhaps even apples and coconuts.

      3. If you are going after lewis , i can tell you that Button the easiest guy out there with his driving style, destroyed his tyres in 10 laps while lewis did 28 laps! on the same kind of tyres at the malaysian grand prix

        Not going after Lewis or McLaren. They are having problems. Simples!

        With regard to Button using his tyres in 10 laps: This happened for the opposite reason that the Pirelli tyres are wearing out. The Bridgestones were tyres that were difficult to heat up for some drivers (Button, Massa, Schumacher), consequently the tyres didn’t grip and you invariably slid around on them until they rapidly wore out. Nothing to do with poor tyre management at all, and more to do with tyres that were just too hard and too good. No one really had to manage their tyres in 2010.

        On the other hand the Pirelli’s are heating up far more quickly, too quickly for some, and so the tyres wear out for a different reason. A reason that actually makes more sense.

        1. Would you then agree that hamilton displayed excellent tyre managements skills at Canada ? that was one race where he should have struggled or pitted more than the others because of his legend as “aggressive”?That race had nothing to do with heating your tyres but managing them .

          It is agreed that Mclaren have issues and thats why they have got testing to sort things out .

      4. Who destroys a NEW set of tyres in SIX LAPS! , just like that ?,why not include track temperature at the time , tyre type, track condition e.t.c , don’t just take issues out of context . can you provide a source to this piece of assumption?

        Keith has obligingly provided the “source”: (Lewis himself) in another thread. ;)

        1. I checked the links you provided and no where does ti say lewis destroyed his tyres in 6 laps . I guess you added that one for special effects .

          1. Or maybe it’s just that I know more than you do?

  37. By this stage of testing those working in the pit lane and around F1 regularly know whos got what right and wrong and the general consensus seems to be that Mclaren are not in great shape.

    Its all well and good those of us who follow the sport sitting here and saying its too early and that you cant tell from testing, however in recent years with the banning of in season testing the pre season work has given a very good indication as to where the teams are at.

  38. and turned up at Valencia this year with last year’s car.

    This gives them a know factor regarding the Pirellis. They knew how the 2010 rode with the Bridgestones and they can compare this to the data they get from running the Pirellis. That would be interesting data to read.

  39. No no, I don’t want to see a new year with McLaren constantly strugling again like in 2004, 2006 and 2009, but the indications seem like that. I don’t think they have any excuses for this since they had the third fastest car on the grid last year. I am a passionate McLaren fan for almost 10 years, but I can not suffer anymore from McLaren’s lack of competiveness.

    I can’t just understand why such a well organised and finalcially strong team has this troubles…

  40. I have said before on f1fanatic that Alonso could have been champion had he not made mistakes in the first half of the season. Vettel could have won by a colossal margin had he not retired from many races. The same is surely true of Hamilton. Driver errors in 5 races in the crucial part of the championship cost him the title for me. The year before the McLaren was a front runner by the end of the season. I would not write off a poor start to the season but, as 2010 proved all the best can and will make mistakes and the points gained from poor positions could pay dividends when the car works to their standard. Hamilton is still a threat to Alonso and Vettel for me this season.

    1. Hamilton only made 1 real mistake and that was in Monza.

      Of the 3 drivers you mention Hamilton lost by far the least points due to his own mistakes.

      1. I disagree, for a world champion neither driver should make as many mistakes as Alonso and Hamilton did last year. That said I think Alonso’s were recovered better, ie. great races in Monaco and Shanghai for example. I think that in the heat of a championship battle Hamilton cracked and lost stupid needless points to MAIN championship rivals. Otherwise, he should have been champion. Hamilton is a great driver but he still cracks under pressure too often for me. His best season for me remains 2009 because of his mature drives, in 08 he made too many silly mistakes for me.

        Interesting to hear your thoughts mate!

      2. Button didn’t make any mistakes, despite obviously being a really bad driver. But I guess if you drive that slowly you’re less likely to make mistakes. I wonder how slowly he will drive this season? ;)

        Anyway, I’ll look forward to the inevitable Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton battle as always (car and tyres permitting).

  41. “Webber was on the hard tyres and Hamilton talks about the softs lasting 15 laps.”

    Have another look at the times I posted. Webber did a race sim.

    According to Autosport (and other sources) Webber was mostly on the soft tyre. And do you think that Hamilton only used the soft tyre that day?

  42. Those who have commented that Mclaren have always lacked downforce while newey was their are frankly talking out of their back package. THE MP4 13 to even 15 were the best cars aero wise regardless of the power advantge they had during that period. The 19B was mentioned as being planted nearing the end of the saeson.

    Most importantly the 20 made a slow start to the season, importantly it was suggested it was to easy on its tires then became the fastest car and would have won kimi the championship had it not been for the reliability that season which was often the mercedes engine that year. However when newey left they had become more bulletproof which may suggest something I don’t know.

    The change in rules has perhaps slowed them down a bit as it did with williams but Mclaren have not suffered it to the same extent. Rules changes perhaps allow Newey to show his skills more than anything else 98 and 99, nearly 2009 and most certainly 2010.

  43. I meant even when Newey was there. Sorry.

  44. Meh. Maybe it’s a chance (as usual) for Lewis to bemoan the huge lack of pace, then suddenly qualify amongst the Bulls and Ferrari (singular) and give the media an opportunity to declare that he’s by far the best driver on the grid, when perhaps the car isn’t that bad after all.

  45. VXR you are very obviously anti button. He is in no way a slow driver and performed some of the best overtakes in 2009. And before you bring up the double diffuser advantage he had, most teams had it by brazil where he won his championship with top class overtaking.

    Plus it was the Brawns front end being less disturbed by dirty air than other cars which most drivers would ask for and something mclaren have developed their packages more than other teams.

    Mark Webber even eluded towards the RB5 being exellant in clean air but suspect in dirty air. I also believe the Ferrari 0f 2010 was developed for ultimate efficiency in clean air as apposed to racing and overtaking, runnig in clean air from front to finnish.

    1. VXR you are very obviously anti button.

      I was being sarcastic. :)

      Button is generally underrated, which works to his advantage more often than not. He may not be the quickest, but he more than makes up for that in other areas.

  46. Sorry. But it has to be said sarcasm doesn’t really work on the internet, all about delivery and tone of voice. ( even said so in the definition when I was checking my spelling.)

    Those who said Mclaren need a management reshuffle and concentrate less on PR should wise up. That team has rarely been out of the top 3 for the past decade and radical designs are a risk. look what happened with the 18 which came good with the 20. Having to take risks is when a single team has a performance advantage like Ferrari had during the 17 – 19B and like Red Bull have now.

    Mclaren also have a striking Livery just like Ferrari and Renault last year. All very tidy and uncomplicated where as I hate the Red Bull and Toro Rosso including Williams after the end of the Rothmans deal. But hey thats my taste.

    I actually prefer the old West livery and Molborro Livery but I don’t think the latter would suit the current cars.

    1. Good to hear your opinion but you don’t offer any facts that I am not already aware of so I disagree that I need to ‘wise up’ to your argument.

      Consistently finishing in the top 3 over the past decade in no way represents a respectable return on investment when that only includes 1 WDC (with the aid of Ferrari data) and 0 WCC. Ron Dennis himself always believed anything less than victory as a failure.

      I supported Mclaren from 92 until I finally lost faith with them in 07. To me they are a shadow of what they once were – all style and little substance with a large measure hubris thrown in.

      On the livery – I too liked the marlboro and west liveries but now they’re just squatting on mercedes’ silver. They need to create their own identity especially now they are moving into road car manufacturing.

  47. Obviously they should have gone with a bodacious design rather than a radical one. Hell, even a gnarly design might work.

    Tubular probably would have been a bad move, though.

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