Hamilton: reliability and pace concerns for McLaren

2011 F1 testing

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Lewis Hamilton says his concerns about the MP4-26 are “reliability and performance.”

Speaking to journalists at Barcelona he said: “I can only be guessing [how quick we are] I don’t know where anyone else really is. Yesterday I looked at the times and everyone was in the 1’21s and I can’t get into the 1’21s.

“Yesterday Jenson didn’t do any light fuel runs, just tyre runs. It’s difficult to know exactly where we are. 1’21.2 is very competitive. I would guess we could get to a low 1’22 maybe. But yes it’s just a guess.”

Hamilton described the conditions in today’s test as “similar to Korea. There was a lot of aquaplaning but if it was race day, I would be saying ‘let’s do it’.”

He said he’s keen to start racing again as over four months have passed since the last Grand Prix: “I’m positive. We have a lot of racing ahead and I’m looking forward to it. It’s felt like the longest break.

“I would have been happier with a shorter time off because it feels like it’s been a really long winter. I’m excited to go back racing and I’m looking forward to getting out to Australia nice and early and prepare.

“I am always hoping for the most optimistic improvement. All of a sudden the team say ‘we have this coming’ the day before and then we have something new. You never know when this happens. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and try and keep an eye on what the guys are doing. I know everyone is working as hard as they can as they always are.”

“I never like to use the word ‘frustrating'”

Hamilton denied he was frustrated with the situation, saying: “It’s not frustrating, for me it’s unfortunate.

“Of course we pushed our test back for these two days by a day later and it was beautifully sunny on Thursday. That’s the way the luck goes.”

He added: “I never like to use the word ‘frustrating’. I’m not frustrated.

“It’s tough on everyone in the team because everyone works so hard and when you have something that looks so beautiful and it’s not a disaster, it just hasn’t found as much performance as we would have liked.

“It’s a foundation we can build on and that’s all that really matters. It means that we can get there. If you look at last year we didn’t have the fastest car at the beginning and we were there or thereabouts at the end of the championship. It’s a long, long year and I have no doubts we will get there.”

He expects some confusion over the tyres in the opening rounds: “The first few races everyone is going to be confused.

“Eventually it will settle down and people will get used to it to how ever many stops and it will become more common. Where now it could be two, four or five pit stops. We will see.

“It’s about quickly making the call when your tyres lose the temperature and they go. Then you have to hope the team say ‘don’t come in’.

“I think our race pace doesn’t seem so bad, if we can finish the race. Our race pace doesn’t look so bad compared to others. There’s a definite different driving style and approach you need to make these tyres last.”

“The fun is the qualifying”

He denied that having to spend more time conserving tyres would take away the fun of driving: “No. The fun is the qualifying and there will still be overtaking hopefully so that will be fun. At least we can have some fun. Fun is when you get the grip in qualifying and I think we’re still going to get that.

“Qualifying is one of the most fun parts of the weekend. We will still get fun because the tyres do hold up for a couple of laps. It’s just over a race distance with over 140 kilos [of fuel], they really begin to struggle.”

He compared the current tyres with the Bridgestone compounds used four years ago: "It’s going to be the same as 2007. We were pushing a lot more and the tyres were giving.

“In 2008, we had to push a little bit less, 2009 push even lesser and 2010 even more. 2011 we just have to push even less."

Hamilton said hadn’t been surprised by anyone’s performance in testing so far. Asked about Schumacher’s time yesterday, he said: “He’s a seven-time world champion. When he does a fast lap you’re not going to be surprised. He’s been racing for God knows how many years.”

Hamilton added that returning test driver Pedro de la Rosa would now be driving the car for anything other than straight-line aerodynamic tests: “Pedro won’t drive the car.

“Pedro will do some straight-line tests which he will tell you is not exciting. There is no input he can give from that.

“The only thing he can do is when me and Jenson go back and ask for developments, he can test them and new aero components on a simulator. When it’s the optimum setting, me and Jenson will test it and see if we like it. It’s a completely different role than it used to be.”

Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves

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    Keith Collantine
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    115 comments on “Hamilton: reliability and pace concerns for McLaren”

    1. McLaren will really have to up their game before the season if they want the championships, unfortunatly I see Mclaren having the 5th fastest car (behind the Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault) however they will finish 4th in the WCC due to their drivers being better than Renault’s.

      1. I think that might even be a bit of an optimistic predition!

      2. Who knows how far back they are. If Lewis says he cannot get below 1:22 that is about a second back. Hard to get even into Q3 with that kind of times.

    2. DeadManWoking
      12th March 2011, 17:34

      I liked my Headline better 8)

      1. … but the colour is fine. He’s happy with silver :)

      2. Amazing headline!!!
        Is good to have Hamilton giving us this hint.. I thought teams were looking for grid girls by now, not pace and reliability…..

    3. I wonder how much moaning compared to 2009 Lewis will do this season.

      1. I’m sorry, but what do you expect? that he settles in with a not-so-fast car and tell everyone “yeah, it’s great to have a midfield car and to be fighting for regular points instead of wins and poles”

        If I were him, I would be moaning too

        It’s not his fault that mclaren made a dog of a car, he has shown what he can do with a fast car

        1. Alonso didn’t moan when he went back to Renault for 2008/09 and found the car a dog. He just focussed on getting the car up to speed.

          I feel a couple of seasons in the Midfield would do him great.

          1. He has already had a couple of seasons in the midfield or there or thereabout.

            1. SeattleChris
              12th March 2011, 22:21

              Lewis has never been in a midfield car bro montana;

              I agree that he needs to drive a dog so we can see if he’s capable of anything other than whining when the car isn’t faster than everyone else’s.

              With every comment from Lewis, the degree of my dislike towards his character incrementally rises.

              He may be likable as a mute.

            2. @SeattleChris, “he needs to drive a dog of a car so we can see if he’s capable of anything other than whining when the car isn’t faster than everyone else’s.”

              The early part of 09, including the charge from 18th to 3rd (regardless of what happened next…) showed what he is capable in in a dog of a car. By the mid-point of the season he was challenging for race wins, despite still not being in the best car, and his performance relative to a respectable driver like Kovalainen clearly showed just how good he is, as did several charges near the beginning of the 2010 season.

              The argument that Lewis has always been in one of the best cars and therefore his success cannot be judged is getting tiresome. He has not always had the best car, but when he has, he’s had it for a reason.

            3. I await to see him in a Sauber.

            4. Try one of these:
              -I quit
              -I’m back to karting
              -Goodbye cruel world

          2. yeah but alonso knew that would be the case when he left McLaren, and lets face it, with both Ferrari drivers under contract and driving extremely well, there was nowhere much better for him to go- F1 was pretty much a 2 horse race then. Lewis is at the team with resources and wealth that are the envy of Formula 1, and any moaning he does (which is nothing compared to what his Button does) is well justified.

            1. And lets face this: he is a massively overpayed chauffeur living his dream. Also he is an employee of a company and no company can/will/should accept an employee talking badly about them in public. And even if they let him (and Button) what woud it help? Do the engineers work better by being publicly offended and humiliated?

              That is my general opinion, nothing against Hamilton. I must also add, he doesn’t sound like complaining to me, more like giving an honest opinion about the situation and thats what I expect him and all other drivers to keep doing. Nothing else would make sense to me.

            2. Both Alonso and Lewis are crying babies.
              They should learn with Schumacher.

          3. don’t ever give Alonso as an example of a driver which doesn’t moan. ever in your life.

            1. Except when at Mclaren,but then he had good reason to.

            2. alonso didn’t moan when he was in a minardi, or when he was the test driver a year prior of becoming an official driver. on the other hand, hamilton has had everything given to him; a top 3 car in all but one year and a car that was built using the ferrari’s design. why you think that after the fia completely change the rules and specifications in 2009,they haven’t produce a top 2 car?
              And yes alonso can be used as an example of what a real driver is ,tell me who won back to back championships not having the best car?,renault 2005 and 2006 was slower than the mcclaren and the ferrari. He almost won a third driving for a team that was against him (macclaren) and almost won last year’s championship with a car way inferior than the red bull. now tell me when has alonso had the best car like hamilton,schumacher. or vettel have had?

            3. oh common, moaning when you’re a rookie just entering the F1 circus or as a test driver? no one does that, so thats not something to point out about alonso. and renault was the dominant figure in both 2005 & 2006, common. im not taking anything from alonso, he’s a double world champion and a great driver, but seriously…if you think he’s the driver with the most integrity walking around, then you’re fooling yourself big time. when something doesn’t go his way, he complains quite strongly. it’s as simple as that. im not saying drivers shouldnt be frustrated, that’s natural, but they should recognize when its not right to point fingers at someone else, when to have patience or when to up their game instead of blaming the team. and alonso is not a good example of that.

            4. SeattleChris
              12th March 2011, 22:26

              I’m pretty sure that the Renault from 05 and 06 was easily a top 2 car and in my opinion was faster than the Ferrari both years. Fisichela won the opener in Australia in that car and if you look at the times between teammates it is pretty clear that Renault had the faster car and that MSC had to make up about .200 per lap; since he’s a god he was nearly able to lap after lap, but the Renault and its amazing traction control were a bit much.

          4. Alonso had nowhere else to go but back to Renault. All the top teams had signed-up drivers at that time. So, he went back to the team he said didn’t want him to win the title, that Fisi wasn’t helping him…let’s not forget that; or his (alleged)blackmailing of Ron.

            And Alonso didn’t get the car back up to speed. He didn’t do anything in 08. And he was surrounded by cheating alegations once more: this time with respect to McLaren data and the deliberate crash-driving of his team-mate that gifted him a win.

            As for Lewis’s benefiting from a couple of seasons in the midfield, he’s had a truly awful car in 09; moreover, although he’s a WDC, he’s never had the best car. people talk about Lewis’s walking into F1 with a silver spoon in his mouth; well, Vettel has driven the best car, by some margin, in the last two seasons. Except for his debut, which was one race in a none-too-shabby BMW, every single car Vettel has driven has been designed by Newey…

            1. Although I strongly agree in your analysis, I’m of the opinion that McLaren had the strongest car in ’07. That year they lost the title simply because of the lack of teamwork.

          5. You have got to be kidding. Alonso moaned quite a lot about the Renault not being competitive.

            It’s obvious that the difference is that you agree when Alonso moans, but when another driver complains you don’t.

            1. I agree with you about that idea, Alonso is diferent to everybody. When he complains is different than when others complain.

              Alonso begun to complain in 2006 when he was champion and he realized that he should ask the team the same quality a dedication than the team ask a driver. Since then he’s allways complain to preasure the team.

              I think it’s ok when a driver complains (or just talk) about a lack of performance. I don’t mind who complains. I think a complain is allways truthfull information.

              Isn’t it what we the fans want? don’t we want drivers giving real information and not empty words?

              Sometines I really don’t know what the people wants. If Ferrari has much money it’s bad. If HRT has less money it’s bad. If someone talks, he’s complaining. If someone doesn’t talk, it’s bad.

              What kind of races do you want, people?

          6. You mean he didn’t moan when his career was hanging by a thread. Go back a couple of season’s when he was Renault’s golden boy and he moaned continually, even with championship winning cars!

    4. Lets face it the car’s a dog! Stop trying to defend it Lewis!, i’m predicting that McLaren will qualify between 13th and 20th for the first few races

      1. It’s benefitial for Hamilton to defend the car as much as he can – he is the star of the team, and if he came out and said the car ‘sucked’ it would be far too harsh on the factory who spent hours and hours designing and manufacturing it – it’s better to accept their efforts and try and publically urge the team on as he did in 2009, he’s got to do all he can with what he has and hope his praise to the factory can spur them on to good developments – just moaning about the car won’t make it better – it will make the team in Woking even more depressed than they probably are.

        One day Mclaren will get it right, and walk down the correct path of development and be able to just keep refining their base car over the years like RBR have done since 2009 – then we can see Lewis win again – a few slow year swill be forgotten in history if he wins another Chamopionship before retirement. ;)Chin up Macca fans :)

        1. Yeah you’re right, I just think the design team within McLaren need to know that it’s not alright to keep designing poor cars for one of the most highly renowned teams in F1. But I guess that isn’t really his job to tell them that.

      2. Come on, he defends the team and everyone working on getting the car to be as fast as possible.

        Its not like he says anything overdone, or unrealistic.

    5. An exceptionally open and honest Hamilton.. Strange.. Maybe they’re just sandbagging? Naah kidding.. But good to see some honesty! :) Liking this new Hamilton with a personality this last couple of months.

      1. I have been a little surprised that Lewis and Jenson have openly criticised the car: normally all F1 drivers these days are PR boys. Perhaps Martin allows this kind of thing; whereas, Ron didn’t and wouldn’t.

        One thing to note: Mclaren have consistently said that they’re not going for times. Rather, they’re collecting as much data for their simulation based work. So, perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom. Whatever, if Lewis and or Jenson is to challenge for the WDC, they will need a better car than the one they had last season. Lewis’s one mistake all season, hitting Massa at Monza, was enough to end his challenge. Whereas, Alonso and Vettel, in far better cars, were able to make half a dozen or so significant mistakes, including a jump start for the double-world champ and, for the German, falling too far behind the safety car and, also, hitting his teammate…

    6. This is a third year in a row that McLaren proves to be unable to produce a car that would be, not better, but just equal to others at the top. So Lewis, find yourself a better team, a better car and better engineers as soon as you can! If this is frustrating to watch I can only guess how frustrating it is to drive and participate in it.

      1. exactly!

        1. Lewis move teams? To where? Ferrari =)

          1. he wont replace webber either at redbull, i think he’ll be at Mclaren for a while to come.

            1. :( … well lets hope McLaren will make atleast one good car in the next few years!

            2. If Webber retires after this season, Red Bull will make an attempt to secure Hamilton, but I think that you’re right…..he will remain at Mclaren.

            3. Last thing Red Bull wants after Webber retires is a strong character to “compete” with Vettel…
              Smarter thing for them would be to make sure they retain both Vettel and Newey, and then give a lower profile guy the opportinity to grow under Vettel’s wing in order to be a mature driver when Vettel is ready to move on (probably to Ferrari).
              I think the only chance for Lewis to jump ships is to Mercedes when Michael retires, and not quite sure is a better seat than the one he has today…

          2. Maybe one day. =)

          3. Hm…I guess I saw stranger moves in the history of F1 then this! I remember one F1 star said something like …everywhere but not to the red team… and the rest is history! Contrary to that, I don’t remember Lewis had a personal issue with the cavalino rampante! And somehow I believe their appraisal of his driving abilities is higher then some of us could expect or would like to believe. But don’t get me wrong, I am not rooting for his move to Ferrari.

          4. ferrari don’t waht hamilton they know how spoild he is

            1. I am always amused by the persisting, never ending mythology surrounding F1, some teams and some drivers!
              As for the Myth No.1. F1 one is highly effects driven business. So if FA in his formative years in lower categories came close to LH accomplishments in British and European F3 and next year GP2 I find it hard to believe he would not be offered a better seat then Minardi.
              As for the Myth No. 2. Yes of course, Hamilton had everything given to him, but only after he proved he could soundly beat competition in the categories where equipment was much closely separated then in F1, which means driving abilities influenced final outcome more then in F1.
              As for the Myth No. 3. Renault was probably not significantly better but also not worse then Ferrari in 2005 and 2006. In fact for some time they were visibly better but then FIA intervened on behalf of Ferrari to level the field.
              As for the Myth No. 4. Team was against him!!! For sure they hired him and paid a big money only to be able to be against him…while every credible information in reality says he was against the team, and for the rest of the season he had FIA ombudsman to guard his interests in the team. And after all only managed to tie with the rookie!
              And also if we speak about the last year LH was in competition until the last round too in the car that was not only inferior dramatically to the Red Bulls but also with a car way inferior then Ferrari for the most of the season (mind you, this is not my opinion but the result of the serious analysis by the people much more knowledgeable then me). So I guess it is only fair to say both of them were lucky to be so close only because Red Bulls spilled so many points out of the window.
              As for the Myth No. 5. And when LH had the best car? Just please don’t tell me it was 2007 or 2008. because at best Ferrari and McLaren were very much tied these two years or even maybe…! If you don’t believe try to solve this puzzle. If FA and LH were equal in the same equipment, and FA is so much better then FM in the same equipment, what does it say about LH and FM equipment in 2008.?

            2. Myth 5 is very interesting i’d never thought of it like that, although you could say massa was in better form at that point in time than now it does suggest that the ferrari of 07 may well have been quicker than the Mclaren

          5. Ferrari tried to get him in 07, when Lewis wanted more money from McLaren, which he then got. Massa’s seat isn’t looking too secure. However, Ferrari might not want to pair Lewis with Alonso again. But if Alonso were to move to RBR to replace Webber…

            Merc. would be very interested, even though Lewis is British. Norbert knows just how good Lewis is. Schumi’s seat is certainly not long-term, due to his age; he might even be sacked if he doesn’t perform this year, when he’ll be out of excuses: everyone has had to adapt to new tyres now.

            Red Bull will need someone to replace Webber soon. But if they got Hamilton, he’d beat Vettel. This wouldn’t please RBR. So, it’s unlikely to happen. But if Vettel opts for Ferrari, this would leave an opening for someone like Lewis.

            Lewis shouldn’t consider any other team.

            Perhaps he simply shouldn’t consider any other team; i.e., perhaps he should stay at McLaren. Hamilton has been with the team since he was driving go-karts: he couldn’t be more settled. He’s British, which obviously helps at a British team. McLaren is one of the best funded teams on the grid. It has great facilities at the MTC. It consistently produces a good, if not a great, car. Also, Lewis sees McLaren as Senna’s team: an added incentive to stay. Although, Senna wanted out, after a while…

      2. Why? Mclaren have provided him with a car capeable of challenging in 07, 08 and 2010. He made mistakes in 07 that cost him the title (he was a rookie though so understandable), in 08 his car was bullet proof and in 2010 Mclaren said themselves that they ahd the second quickest car and finished 2nd in the WCC but it turned out noone could beat Vettel and the mighty RB6. Even when the car was a dog in 09 Mclaren still turned it around into a race winning machine.

        Mclaren seem to have a bad car every other year but they’re usually great with in season development (09, 2010 Bahrain right off the pace but caught up quite quickly) although it’s harder now with the testing ban but they’re a top team with excellent resources and a great leader. Mclaren have given Lewis a lot and they work well together and the only other drives that would look like a good bets under the current rules are Ferrari and RBR and both scenarios are highly unlikely.

        1. Fair points but I think you are being harsh on him in 2007. HE made rookie mistakes? Like what?

          He finished every round except China which is accepted as teams fault for leaving him out for so long. 12/17 rounds on the podium 14/17 in points. I know its digging up old ground but I would still say he was unlucky or team errors cost him. Not rookie errors.

          1. One mistake doesn’t ever lose a title. It was a combination really I should have said between his mistakes and team errors. China he could have been more cautious and the Nurburgring was a disaster.

            Actually looking back 07 he was very consistent I’ll admit I was wrong and I think he had far more errors in 08. I admire Lewis and I think he really could be a great driver (his win at Japan 07 was incredible minus the silly SC debacle) but he needs Mclaren just as much as they need him.

            1. At China, Lewis was told by the team, incredibly, to stay out on tyres that were clearly worn down to the canvas. He didn’t need to win that race; a podium would have been enough. McLaren strategy was to blame, not a rookie in those conditions.

              Then, at Brazil, he was brake-tested by the Ferrari and Alonso. He would have recovered from his taking avoiding action, had not he suffered that remarkable gearbox failure. In several decades of watching F1, I can’t ever remember a similiar incident. Anyway, the gearbox fixed itself, just as soon as it was impossible for Lewis to win the title.

              It’s almost as if someone didn’t want McLaren to win any championships in 07. I’m sure that had nothing to do with Spygate.

              Apart from these two ‘mistakes’ neither of which were Lewis’s fault, he was fautless in 07. Whereas, the reigning double-world champ’s driving and mind went to butter in the face of Lewis’s talent.

            2. Everyone is against him right?

              Lewis is in one of the top teams, I think he’d be a fool to move from such a successful team that he is so ingrained with. Not only that, but I can’t see him fitting in at Ferrari. I just can’t.

            3. He could have taken it easier or have just pitted but he didn’t possibly because of his inexperience. The tyres were a wreck but he was the one in the cockpit dealing with them.

              I wouldn’t say Lewis was faultless although he did have a supremely good debut year.

              Please no conspiracies about Brazil 07

        2. It’s that matrix system – if you are heavilly involved with a car ifrom the start it’s easy to refine it from year to year – but if you have to pick up on development 6 to 12 months down the line of development it’s confusing to understand the concept – thankfully it’s been abolished.

      3. so what, just because he finds himself in a different situation than 2007 and 2008 (not with the best/stolen car), handling it differently than in 2009 (i.e. not whining, not shamelessly publicly nagging the team to improve the car, as though they hadn’t worked on it in the first place) he should switch teams?

        if he acted like Senna or Fangio and jumped ship whenever it didn’t work for him, all of his potential subsequent titles would weigh very little in any impression of him being a complete racing driver

        1. So basically Senna’s and Fangios’ titles aren’t worth as much as the number of them suggest? fine by me!

        2. Senna jumped ship whenever…oh come on! Spent three years in Lotus, then six years in McLaren! Let’s get serious!

          1. he wanted to join Williams as soon as they proved their supreme competitiveness, even offering to drive for free

            1. Is it so unexpected and evil?
              And if I remember correctly he joined after spending almost three years in a significantly slower and outdated car. Williams dominated from two thirds of the 1991. season, then the whole 1992. and 1993.
              In that case what to say about Prost who pulled all the strings available to get the seat in 1993. and returned from retirement to score the safe kill!? And then left again faced with the prospect he would have to fight Senna in the same equipment.
              I just say we have to apply our standards in a fair and just way regardless of the driver’s name and our own overly emotional preferences.

            2. yes, slow and uncompetitive cars which he moaned about continuously, threatening to quit if the team wouldn’t build him a winning car..in 1993, he needlessly kept McLaren on the edge for the first half-season when he signed with them on a race-to-race basis, until he ‘got the car [he] deserved’ (which he didn’t, but signed for the rest of the year anyway because he couldn’t kid himself anymore)

            3. For some reason I can’t reply to the lower message so I’ll do it here.
              I suppose for any competitive driver two and even more three years of having a dog of a car is enough, and validate the wish to leave.
              Also, I might be wrong on this but if I remember correctly Senna’s move to Williams in 1993. was blocked by Prost who put it in the contract. And probably Senna hoped he would be able to overcome this obstacle somehow through the season, one way or another. Deal reached with McLaren was mutual agreement I guess. And McLaren was free not to accept such a deal if they felt it was not suitable to them for any reason.
              All the things taken into perspective I wouldn’t be ready to take it against him. Especially because he produced some extraordinary races that year, way above McLarens capabilities.

            4. Damon Hill is therefore a legend then since he won the title then went to the back of the grid to defend his title. :P

      4. Mclaren have been surpased in terms of car design, pit stops, strategy, and reliability. Their saving grace has been their drivers.

        Lewis has a good arangement at McLaren; but the team had better sort itself out: Don’t put profit margin above performance.

      5. When has McLaren ever been the team to beat? 2007 was the last year really. Before that it was 1998 and before that you have to go back to when Senna and Prost were driving.

        McLaren typically have the second or third fastest car.

    7. Lewis said “fun” more times in one paragraph than Massa would say “for sure” in a whole interview :P

      1. yer McLaren have built a car that he says is slow and unreliable, this year should be very fun! :p

        1. Must’ve still had the previous night with Nicole in his head.

          1. you can go bash on hamilton somewhere else RIISE, i don’t get you.

            1. How the hell was that bashing Hamilton? it was a joke…

      2. For sure he is going to have some fun this year. Fun for sure! LOL.

    8. So the car has no reliability and no pace…

      At least it looks nice, right?

      1. Yeah – same as the -24 :)

      2. Nope. Those moose sidepods ruin it for me.

    9. So apart from being slow, unreliable and ugly, and eats the tyres, its pretty decent then.


      Make no mistake the MTC is going to be working overtime for some time to come.

      Very frustrating to all involved I’m sure. I still feel their trust in getting all of this data and models for the sim are flawed.

      The blown diffuser was awesome in the sim, and didnt work when they put it on the car.

      I really dislike the lack of testing in F1 now. Bringing back a sensible amount of testing at a track local to each team surely has to make sense (i.e ferrari have fiorano, loads of teams have silverstone).

      This is after all meant to be about excellence in design and innovation.

    10. Yesterday I looked at the times and everyone was in the 1’21s and I can’t get into the 1’21s


      1. +1

        especially since the RB7 probably could get into the 1’20s

        1. The Red Bull is said to have run with a minimum of 80kgs of fuel onboard when it did its fastest laps!

          1. That is utter rubbish from Sarah Holt on the live testing text. If they were carrying that much and you use the often used 0.4sec for 10kg of fuel that would mean Redbull can do a 1:18.9

            Their best test time last year was 1:20.6 with double diffuser and far better tyres (Webber 2010 pole time was 1:19.9)

            Ignoring her dubious fuel figures she did stumble on a predicted running order I would probably agree with

            1) Red Bull
            2) Ferrari
            3) Mercedes
            4) Renault/Williams/McLaren/Toro Rosso/Sauber
            5) Force India/Lotus
            6) Virgin
            7) HRT

            In my opinion that top 4 is much closer than last year. Hopefully Mclaren arent far off with a problematic car so having problems to fix will give them good scope to catch up. Better than having a good running sorted but slow car.

            1. The only good thing is, if the 2012 rules are sililar to this years, Mclaren will ahve the -26 sorted out so the -27 should (hopefully) be a strong challanger.

              (It’s not even 2011 race 1 and I’m already pinning Button and Hamilton’s title chances on next years car – oh dear :P)

            2. Thing is, they’re both slow AND unreliable right now.

              My predicted running order:
              1. RBR
              2. Ferrari
              3. Mercedes
              4-5. Renault/McLaren
              6-7. Williams/Sauber
              8-9. FIF1/Lotus
              10. Virgin
              11. HRT

    11. If McLaren don’t give Hamilton a WDC winning car, I wouldn’t be surprised if his new manager (whenever he chooses one) starts ‘flirting’ with RedBull.

      Or McLaren should just buy Adrian Newey off RedBull and Lewis would have a winning car again.

      1. Newey left McLaren, despite the money (which was increased several times); so, that’s unlikely.

        Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with the McLaren at all. Perhaps they’re sandbagging: so that the other teams don’t copy their novel features (sidepods etc)…

        1. Sandbagging is rare nowadays. And in any case, they would’ve popped up at the top of the sheets at least once or twice if they had a good car – which I don’t think they do.

        2. Newey left when Ron Dennis didn’t want to pay the salary he wanted. Red Bull did.

          I don’t see Newey going back even if McLaren offered more money though. He needs new challenges. Perhaps Ferrari or Mercedes? Although he stated that he would end his career at Red Bull.

    12. Looks like its gonna be another tough year for Lewis :(
      Hope the car comes good mid-season so we see him up there again.

    13. I have read somewhere that In a few years time Mclaren could end up in the same situation that Williams are in now. They are about to lose their technical support and partnership with Mercedes sooner or later.

      They are not the most aerodynamically strong team. So they could end up mid-field.

    14. All of a sudden the team say ‘we have this coming’ the day before and then we have something new. You never know when this happens. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and try and keep an eye on what the guys are doing. I know everyone is working as hard as they can as they always are.

      Unfortunately what they’re working hard on is the MP4-25D, at least they’ve done a full test with it on this years tires. :D

    15. I don’t think I can count the number of times I’ve read terms like off pace and reliability issues from McLaren in the last few weeks.

      They say they are optimistic but they seem to keep starting off on the wrong foot.

      Hamilton says:

      If you look at last year we didn’t have the fastest car at the beginning and we were there or thereabouts at the end of the championship.

      Had McLaren been there or thereabouts at the beginning of last season… there might very well be a No.1 on a McLaren this year.

      They really need to sort out they way they do things.

      1. If anything making it to the finish line is what could have won the WDC last year.

        Hamilton lost a huge amount of points due to mechanical failures.

        They really should have learned from that that reliability is key. Red Bull and Ferrari seem to have understood this.

    16. JamieFranklinF1
      12th March 2011, 23:04

      McLaren aren’t the team they used to be, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they go the same way as Williams have gone. The only thing keeping them afloat is their ability to develop through a year and decent drivers. But sooner or later, they will start losing support and the money will disappear.

      Hamilton will stay there for a while to come. I just hope Jenson moves to another team, before he suffers any more hardship. He’s served his time in unworthy teams. Hamilton hasn’t.

      1. In the Whitmarsh interview earlier this week he was asked:

        The last time one of your drivers won the world championship – in 2008 – Ron was still in the hot seat. Do you still feel his breath on your neck?

        I think it’s quite possible that we’ll see Ron on the pit wall a whole lot more this year. Does anyone else get the feeling that McLaren haven’t had a real team principal for the last several years?

    17. Lewis better start looking around. No one will remember his loyalty to McLaren sticking with them year after year of not producing a top notch car, but everyone will remember how many WC he won.

      Position yourself appropriately

      1. Yup. Hard to disagree there…I feel as though we might be seeing a great talent in his prime wasted, and its such a shame. Just imagine Lewis in a Bull.

      2. He hasn’t got any openings has he? Both Red Bull and Ferrari have WDCs in them and both seem OK with blatantly siding with their preferred driver (although Red Bull were forced into a rethink, I guess we’ll see how they treat Webber this year). McLaren is still better than Mercedes and Renault – at least for the time being.

    18. My God, everyone’s an expert here. My prediction – just to be different – is that McLaren will be on the podium come Australia and you doom mongers will be eating humble pie. Though you’ll all have some excuse to say you were right all along.

      1. Like you said… We’re experts! How dare you be different! :p

      2. Honestly that sounded a bit childish.

    19. I to some extent agree with judo chop. This is a radical car mclaren have produced a radical design which was required. The RB5 was a risk which worked and has been built on this was a risk mclaren perhaps had to make to jump ahead.

      Those having ago at Hamilton and saying he moans and backing up Alonso for not moaning are frankly blind to facts.

      Neither driver comes across well in my opinion but Alonso threw his toys out of his pram at Mclaren and the Ferrari designs had little or no affect on the Mclaren that alot like to make out. Both cars had contrasting design philosophy’s the Mclaren had a much more drivable car, better in wet weather.

      Alonso has proved he is the most complete driver in F1 with his performances, however he does come across a bit of a git when things don’t go his way. Plus before the Mclaren in 2005 became the undoubted fastest car it was uncompetitive because it was to soft on its tyre’s plus Mclaren were in a battle with themselves with reliability which frankly was the only reason Alonso won. Kimi would have walked it had the Mclaren been as reliable as it has been recently(except this season so far)

    20. Ralph Schumacher
      13th March 2011, 2:15

      Yes, HAM and BUT have come out and mad pessimistic comments about the car but can we really take their word for it? Maybe, just maybe they’r playing mind games which in my opinion have worked. obviously the 26 is a coupla tenths off the pace but now we have the likes of Ferrari and Alonso getting a little bit cocky already. Do you think the Ferrari Factory is frantically working 24 hours to improve the car? I doubt it.
      MSC after posting several impressive times comes out smiling but then plays down the achievement and says they were on soft tyres and minimal fuel…. Ya, so, was every1 else.

      Moral of the story is, lets wait for Lap 20 in Aus to start decidint that McLaren is a midfield team.

      1. A good car can pretend to be bad, but a bad car can’t pretend to be good.

        1. Ralph Schumacher
          13th March 2011, 6:48

          woah, never said it’s a good car.. Definately off the RBRI pace, but it’s not that bad..

      2. You Mclaren fanboys crack me up :D

        1. I don’t think he’s being a fanboy to be honest, seems a little more grounded than most of them!

        2. MagillaGorilla
          14th March 2011, 21:30

          Did a McLaren run over your dog, is that why you’re full of angst toward them. Or maybe a group of gunman took your family hostage and drove up in McLarens…well I’m sure you’ll divulge to us exactly what McLaren did to you to hate them so much.
          I don’t see why people can’t respect the craftsmanship of all the cars on the field.

    21. OVERTAKING, watch out for him.

    22. Lewis puts a brave face on it, as he must, but inside i bet he feels let down. McLaren blowing hot and cold with their cars MUST be frustrating. Like PKing008 said, at the end of his career people arn’t going to be thinking about his loyalty to a team, all they’ll remember is the number of championsips he’s won. I know McLaren have literally brought him up, but maybe the time draws near where he should think of other options. I’m thinking of Webber’s retirement.

    23. Ralph Schumacher
      13th March 2011, 3:03

      this season, the guy starting from the 2nd row on the grid might be in a much better position that last year. And tyre degradation, maybe the fastest car isnt necessarily the best car in terms of tyre wear. I think the McLaren will be allright

    24. Martin Whitmarsh needs some advice from Ron on how to poach the dossier on RB7’s technical details, that should sort everything out. God knows Ron’s good at it ;)

    25. Sounds a little naive for Lewis to say that about Schumacher. Yes, he’s a 7 time WDC, but would he top the sheets in anything less than the W02? Doubt it. Sounds to me like he’s in denial!

      And i’m sure Pedro will be thrilled to know his role in the team comes so low in Lewis’ estimations. Pedro will of course know what his role is…just thought it was a bit aloof of Lewis.

    26. You can’t tell fromthe quotes that he is responding to a specific question?

    27. Lewis Hamilton says his concerns about the MP4-26 are “reliability and performance.”

      What is there of more important?

    28. For those that think Hamilton will be stepping into a Red Bull team expecting equal terms, think again.

      Vettel is about to sign a new contract with Red Bull until 2014, and the team will probably want a quick number two driver (when Webber retires) that isn’t going to get all teary eyed and tantrumy about having to move out of Vettel’s way if circumstances dictate that should happen.

      Red Bull will have learned a thing or two from McLaren’s 2007 season, not to mention their own 2010 season.

      As for Ferrari…forget it!

    29. Jamie Franklin
      13th March 2011, 18:27

      I would love to see Jenson replace Webber at Red Bull. He’s quick, smooth and has fantastic technical knowledge, he would fit right in. Obviously, I don’t know him personally, but he seems like a very easy going person and would do much better than most other candidates.

      A team, in my opinion, needs two drivers which are from different ends of the spectrum. Vettel is young, a little bit lacking in experience and has shown to be very fast, so why would the team take on Hamilton when he’s in the same sort of position? Not to mention, Hamilton has mentioned in the past about wanting to stay at McLaren for his whole career.

      Sebastian + Jenson + Red Bull would be a great combination in my opinion, but that’s just me. I’ve never been a great supporter of McLaren, the only reason I want them to do well is because of Jenson xD. But ten years of support for a driver will do that to you.

    30. Had Bahrain GP not been canceled, McLaren probably would have scored an double mechanical DNF? Can’t believe Whitmarsh still defended their decision. But then again the MP4-26 probably wasn’t ready at the first testing date, so they can at least get something from the “rich, raw tyre data” by testing the old car.

    31. “I wonder how much moaning compared to 2009 Lewis will do this season.”

      “Lets face it the car’s a dog! Stop trying to defend it Lewis!”

      Good luck satisfying this crowd, Lewis…

    32. MagillaGorilla
      14th March 2011, 21:14

      Now I’m not saying I’m right, but I am under the inclination that Lewis and Jenson are both lying about the car. It’s easy for Lewis to pull off the bad times due to tire degradation and Jenson well just has a softer driving style so he’s bound to get those times if he’s not pushing it. Especially when you consider the tires once again and the fact that Button tends to feel out a car more. I think they want to try a surprise approach possibly, maybe the radical car does work but instead of having everyone take notes from it instead write it off as a bad concoction from McLaren and be happy they’re not a WCC contender. Then again who knows…

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