McLaren will “look at anything” but see no quick fix

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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McLaren say it could take a while before they recover from the poor start to the season they made in Australia with the MP4-28.

“We definitely were not going to get any more points than that,” said Jenson Button after finishing ninth, over 80 seconds behind winner Kimi Raikkonen.

“We weren’t quick but I think we made the right calls considering what condition we had the tyres in after qualifying. The last four laps of the race were tough because my medium stints were very long because of the short [super-soft] stint.

“We got it home and finished in the points, got a couple of points, that’s not bad. I think as a team we did a good job this weekend but we’re not quick enough and there’s a lot of work we need to do in order to move forward and challenge the front guys, we’re a long way off.”

Asked when the team might get back into a competitive position Button said: “Who knows? We’re not what we think we are so it could take quite a while.”

“We struggled here with ride, everyone’s noticed, it’s no secret,” he added. “Hopefully in Malaysia, it is a smoother circuit, hopefully we’ll get rid of those issues and find a bit more performance, you never know.”

“If we can get into the points again with the car we have at the moment I don’t think it’s too bad. We had races last year with a good car, that we struggled to get into the points so we’ll see what we can do.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh added there was no chance the problems would be rectified before next weekend’s race in Malaysis.

He added the team were not ruling out anything as they strive to recover: “We’re not too proud to say when we’ve got things wrong and we do occasionally, that’s just a fact.”

“But for the time being we’ve got to try and get some understanding and make sure we do the best job we can to go forward with this car as quickly as we can. probably not as quick as I’d like and many people would but we think we can work this one out, if we don’t we’ll look at anything.”

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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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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    59 comments on “McLaren will “look at anything” but see no quick fix”

    1. if we don’t we’ll look at anything

      Yeah, you should start with the cockpit :)

      1. @klaas haha, I have to admit you made me laugh.

    2. Asked when the team might get back into a competitive position Button said: “Who knows? We’re not what we think we are so it could take quite a while.”

      I wonder if McLaren have any idea at all as to what the problem is …

    3. Déjà vu or what?

      1. Am I the only one who thinks Martin Whitmarsh isn’t any good? As much as people hate Ron Dennis, McLaren were WAAY more successful with him at the helm. Correct me if I’m wrong, it has been 15 years since McLaren won a constructors title and 5 years since they won a drivers championship – 2008, was Ron’s last year with active control on the team.
        I understand that I’m on a predominantly british website though, if I were to call a spade a spade – McLaren really aren’t a top team (best of the best of midfield, or worst of the top teams). In terms of success (championships) over the last 10 year period, they come in behind Red Bull, Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes (Brawn). I was really really surprised when the British press (Keith not included) wondered why Lewis was stepping ‘down’ into a Mercedes (or taking a risk) – I dont get why McLaren is still held in the same regard as they once were in the Hakkinen era!

    4. i’m waiting for those who said that McLaren were sandbagging in FPs… :D
      anyway, the championship is long and – as Ferrari did last year – they can be title contenders in November even with a dreadful start.

      1. @matt88
        Don’t be ridiculous, they are still sandbagging. They’ll take the sandbags out in Malaysia.

        1. @kingshark
          Then they can fill the sandbags again in Bahrain.

        2. That’s a bit unfair to refer to McLaren’s current drivers as “sandbags”…! ;-)

        3. :D

          in Bahrain they’ll find plenty of sand…

        4. I think their planning to sandbag up until brazil so that no body can copy the bits & pieces on their car… :)

          1. MALLI (@mallikarjuna)
            17th March 2013, 12:18


        5. You guys are cruel :)))))))))))))))

          1. Hilarious, but they are taking it right, they were surprisingly calm and rational about it.

      2. the championship is long and – as Ferrari did last year – they can be title contenders in November even with a dreadful start.

        This. People seem to forget that the Ferrari was bloody dodgy at the start of last year – and that Alonso lucked into that first win in malaysia. Theres plenty of time to turn it around.

        1. McLaren has traditionally been really good at developing a car throughout the season. If they have enough resources on the ’13 program that should not have changed.

        2. @bendana
          The Ferrari lacked qualifying pace yes. But it was always quite decent on race pace even early on. I think McLaren is in a much worse place then Ferrari were at the start of last year.

        3. @bendana

          Really??? Alonso’s Malaysia win was LUCK!?!?!?!? I’d love to know how you came to that conclusion. Also, Alonso managed 5th in his first race, not 9th. McLaren are on a massive back foot now and if the results aren’t up considerably by Bahrain, they can forget both titles and just go home. It’s not like they’ve won much in the last 13 years with decent cars much of the time. McLaren are a joke!

          1. massive is right… this team really seems to be falling apart since Lewis left (and I don’t mean the person himself, just a coincidence in time).

        4. @bendana
          Ferrari had Alonso in the form of his life driving for them. McLaren have… Button and Perez.

    5. 8th Paragraph – Malaysis. ;)

      1. David not Coulthard (@)
        17th March 2013, 9:29

        I was about to write that!

    6. hahahaha…

    7. Good luck to finding a way to get pace out of the car McLaren. You will need it. At least they did call strategy right, and they had very good pitstops, so that is an area they did improve from last year.

      1. Button’s showing today wasn’t THAT horrible. He’s had far worse races before mid-season last year and with a good car. And Perez’s effort got hindered by the bad decision in quali.

        I think people will over-amplify the situation at McLaren now, but to be honest it’s not far worse than what Ferrari had to deal with last year. And they dragged themselves to 2nd in the WCC eventually. It’s true neither Button or Perez are likely to deliver a comparable performance to Alonso’s 2012 effort but I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to cash in on a couple of wins each and end up on par with Mercedes or Lotus round 3rd or 4th place in the WCC by the end of the season

        1. Button doesn’t have Alonso’s tenacity when it comes to contending with a very difficult car. Ferrari’s problem last year was down to their wind tunnel, not so much the pull rod front suspension, which meant their data on parts and the car was usually wrong. Mclaren have state of the art facilities. So Mclaren are facing both a setup problem, and tuning the aerodynamics of the car to work predictably.

      2. @bascb They could find a way by bringing a car from last year for one driver and the 2013 car being develop by the other …

        1. and also bring a driver who can drive everything out of the current car and another who can develop the 2013 one.

        2. @Klaas
          I completely agree with you this is what McLaren should do. They would be able to compare the data directly at each track between the cars and see where they are going wrong. Give the old car to JB as he would always be their no1 chance of winning points, also he always seems to be totally dejected if he has a car that isn’t perfectly tuned into his driving style. Give SP the new car to try out the new parts and to try and fix the problems with it, this way they won’t have to wait until Spain to see if they are going in the wrong direction with it and JB can be racking up some points in the WCC.

          1. They cant do this..the headaches they will have with wind-tunnel, simulator and other areas by having 2 cars/chasis’ to develop…as well as having the 2014 car to develop also.
            Its not viable and it would be too chaotic – its just not a realistic option.
            mclaren have no choice but to stick with this car and develop it – which wont really happen as look at their drivers. Their drivers need the car to be better than perfect even before they step into it (button more-so), and if its not..then his bottom-lip will hang down and everyone but himself will get the blame – he just doesnt have the ability to push a bad car…a trait that any real true champion would possess.

    8. I hear something…

      1. I’ve figured it out. It’s the collective laughing of Lewis Hamilton and his fans. And they’d be right as well.

        1. I’m not laughing…

          Though unlikely to happen, I wonder if they can switch to the MP4-27 for a few races (maybe until Spain), by Spain they probably will come to an end to the development curve with that chassis as well as found a way to sort out their issues and bolt some downforce onto the 28. Either way, I’m sure McLaren will sort it all out, they’re arguably the best in the paddock in terms of recovering major performance deficits and developing a car in-season.

          1. I don’t think they could change that fast. The old car would need to pass any updated crash test specifications. Not sure if there are any though.

        2. And boy, are we laughing!

    9. Jenson is the most experienced driver on the grid now, i’m confident he will steer the engineers in the right direction.

      1. Hahahahahahahahahahaha….

      2. hahhahahahah

        1. Hmm I thought I was on an F1 site, seems I got redirected to the whizzer and chips forum judging by the level of intelligent comments.

      3. He’s also the smoothest, most intelligent driver on the circuit, and his input will no doubt give McLaren the title this year.

        1. Ha hahahahahahah+1

          1. Hmmmmm looks like PlanetF1 comments are down right now!!!

      4. Don’t forget his masterful ability in maintaining the life of a tire! ;)

    10. I for one don’t believe Mclaren will produce a car that is slow but has potential to improve. They had last years car as a reference and they knew what figures they were looking for in the wind tunnel regarding downforce levels, drag, etc, hence they probably had attained those targets before deciding to start the season with this car. It may just simply be that they can’t manage the airflow properly going underneath the raised chassis, which just results in the generated downforce and handling being unpredictable.
      It may require a relatively simple fix, like changing a few vanes in front of the car or their floor. But they have to decide what is important, if it is scoring good points or spending resources developing a car that may be of no use next season.
      They could also try using one of their test drivers at a friday session to see how they interpret the handling characteristic of the car, rather than relying on a simulator.
      They have to try different things quickly or the drivers will soon lose confidence even if the car later improves.

    11. Very true McLaren, very true, I respect the way they have faced this adversity, they seem deflated now but they can turn it around. Can they justified this, risking this much in a season where rules haven’t changed significantly. I think they don’t but I hope it wasn’t Paddy Lowes decision to take such risks, bad way of saying goodbye, secretly leaving a team scrambling for pieces. I don’t believe in conspiracies, that said I believe they really thought they were into something. I don’t believe in karma neither but if karma exists they probably have loads of negative karma locked somewhere, no need to explain this one.

    12. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      17th March 2013, 10:46

      I bet they’re regretting the decision to not make an evolution of the MP4-27.
      I know it’s only Melbourne, and it’s not a track that often displays true pace, but the car should have been better than that.

      I’m betting that right now, Lewis is glad he jumped ship.

    13. to be fair, if theres any team that can engineer themselves out from a dodgy car, its Mclaren – they’ve done it enough before!

      Will they be able to do it in time, is the question. Unless they bring a serious Raft of updates for China, they’re going to get very far adrift.

    14. Mcalren were slower this weekend then Melbourne last weekend. They may aswell use last years car, it will give them better results and by the time they develop this years car, it may only be as fast as last years. I think Hamilton has some good insider advice about this years cars.

    15. If everyone at the track could see the car ride was rubbish then why rubbish Jenson, would you blame the bus driver if the bus broke down on your way to work , the answer your looking for is no, a true brit supports his fellow brit not just the team that wins every week like Redbull, Long live the underdog.

      1. No, a true Brit can support whoever the hell they want. If one wants to support Red Bull or Ferrari, then good for them.

      2. Agreed, the MP4-28’s ride looks uncomfortable. So bumpy!

    16. I’m going to reserve judgement and perhaps remember this particular article with comments. I have a suspicion that McLaren will not do nearly as bad as some commentators think!

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        18th March 2013, 9:18

        I agree. A team can’t go from having the fastest car to one of the slowest and not know how to reverse the problem. Wheeling out the MP4-27 is always an option but I can see them persisting with the new car for at least another 2-3 races minimum. Catalunya may be the point at which they have to take the decision and move in a different direction i.e. forwards at a faster speed! No matter which team you support, F1 needs McLaren to be competitive

    17. I think it’s a little early to be celebrating Hamiltons ship jumping, it looks to me like the Merc is fast but fragile and a little hard on it’s tyres (x2 when hamilton driving) Gutted that Mclaren have got the wrong end of the stick to begin the season but I’ll be patient and hope for a quick fix!
      Rosberg looked very much like a number one this weekend….

    18. It’s interesting that Ferrari went to a pullrod system for their front suspension last year, and had all kinds of problems getting it to work properly, starting way off the pace. McLaren this year appear to have done the same – gone to a pullrod system and found that the car rides badly and doesn’t get the best out of its tyres as a result. Ferrari managed to turn it around and get the car working, so I don’t think there’s any reason to think that McLaren won’t be able to do the same. Even though I’m sure there’s some temptation to think they would be better off running the MP4-27 instead this year (which would almost certainly be faster at this point) I think the pullrod concept is one they will want to get working long term, with a view to it being a feature on their car from 2014 onwards. Even if this does mean that they spend a chunk of this year struggling to make it work, I think it’s probably a sacrifice they’ll be willing to make considering the potential long term benefits of the system.

    19. Mclaren is in a tough spot. The car is crap, and the drivers will probably not be able to save it with super human skill. The can improve it as the year progresses, but the other teams will be doing the same. It is doubtful they will be able to bridge the gap, AND surpass the rivals to the extent that gets them back on the podium.

      In my opinion, they should try for a while on the 2013 livery, if that doesnt show promising and quick results, they should scrap it, go back to the 2012 car and put a skeleton crew on its improvment. At the same time, throw the bulk of the engineering staff into the 2014 car.

      The 2013 car seems to not have a chance at decent points, def not able to compete for any WC. I say scrap it and get a headstart on the HUGE changes for 2014.

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