McLaren “looking everywhere” for performance

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2013McLaren sporting director Sam Michael says the team are not limiting their search for more performance from the MP4-28 to any particular area.

“When you’re looking for performance deficits like we are at the moment then you look everywhere,” he said during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes-phone-in.

“We have programmes on everything at the moment. We have got a good idea of what we need to concentrate on but until we’ve got on top of that we’ll keep our minds open to everything.”

However he was keen to stress the team were not considering reverting to last year’s MP4-27 chassis:

“All of our energies are on the the 28,” said Michael, “that’s what we think will offer us the best chance over the course of the season.”

He added the data the team gathered last weekend would enable them to begin work on a stronger footing in practice tomorrow: “When you go into this race you have the benefit of knowledge of Melbourne.

“We obviously have a more understanding of the car, of what our relative expectations of it are in the short term. And that actually allows you to manage the race weekend better.

“Even if we went through Melbourne again we could probably do a better job just because you have more data. So we’re hopeful that in Melbourne we can end up like that because we just understand the car better. We have some new parts for the car so that could take is off in a new direction.

“But even if we didn’t have new parts and we were running exactly the same car as Melbourne we could squeeze a bit more out of it just because we’re being realistic about what we’re trying to achieve and use the data we gathered a week ago.”

Despite just four days passing since the last race Michael said the team have brought “two lines of new parts” for the car this weekend.

“One of them is normal development so they were going to come any on the car. And then we’ve got some experimental stuff to work through on Friday, some of which is just background test items to help further understand it.”

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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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89 comments on “McLaren “looking everywhere” for performance”

  1. The upgrade that Mclaren need is called “Fernando Alonso” or “Lewis Hamilton”
    unfortunately they can’t have neither of these

    1. +1 xD

        1. Will add Kimi to the list

          1. They haven’t got a top 4 (Vet-Alo-Ham-Rai) driver basically.

    2. I think most people have underestimated the importance of having Lewis Hamilton.
      Not only for the pace and skills but also for preparing the car, setup, and giving the right direction to engineers to follows. lewis said that in his 1 year partnership with Fernando has learned a lot from this point of view.

      I do believe that Hamilton has reached Fernando level in preparing the car, to output the maximum of what you have.
      If you take Barcelona (most representative track for car performance) last year for example…Hamilton was flying, Button was nowhere…with the same car…only setup was different probably… but they looked like they were driving different cars.

      When a technical director says : we are “looking everywhere”. This mean that he had no idea from the driver’s where to work, just gambling in hope to gain something. I don’t think that Jenson is not good but maybe lewis was better also in this direction.
      Pat Fry last year never says: we are “looking everywhere”, They said we now where to work and in Barcelona we will have a big upgrade. Apart this i believe that the problems in F2012 are completely different from MP4-28.

      Mclaren have technical problems for sure, but i think that with all the respect that i have for Jenson Button which is a good driver they have also a “driver problem”.

      1. In all honesty I think you’re reading far too much into this. It isn’t a driver problem. F1 doesn’t work like that.

        This is a technical problem far beyond anything that a driver could help solve with feedback. The technology team are the real stars of this sport and it’s their issue. They know far more about the car than a driver. This isn’t about getting the set up right, they need to get the fundamental problems with the car fixed first.

        This is an engineering problem.

        1. @sircoolbeans

          I kind of agree with @nomore but it is an unfortunate coincidence that McLaren are in massive trouble right when Lewis left. I’m obviously not saying the twi things are related, but it is a factor that allows for questions to be made of Button’s ability to develop a car. The next 2 years will be a big test for Button, we will finally be able to see if he is a top end driver. Personally I put him in the ‘B team’.

          1. But Button (and Hamilton) don’t really develop the car. McLaren (and all the other teams) have a massive collection of engineers, programmers, and other technical staff all developing the car… we just don’t see them. It doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

            It’s far too easy to just point fingers at the drivers, but it’s not true in reality. Hamilton left in December. I think it’s incredibly naive to put McLaren’s current situation down to him leaving. It’s quite humorous actually.

          2. I’m obviously not saying the twi things are related, but it is a factor that allows for questions to be made of Button’s ability to develop a car.

            No, it really isn’t.

            Anyone claiming this is evidence of Button lacking in development expertise is contriving to put a spin on innocuous news to make it mean something they want to believe.

            The drivers don’t know jack about how to design an F1 car. Their input into the design process will amount to nothing more than basic requests based on their experiences driving previous cars. Their development skills should be assessed based on the quality and accuracy of feedback they provide to engineers after driving the car, and how effectively they work with the engineers to establish and hone car setup throughout the season.

            Accusing Button of being at fault for the deficiencies of the MP4-28 is completely rediculous. It’s nonsensical tripe with no basis in reality. It’s also incredibly hypocritical; I’ve never seen anyone blame another driver for the deficiencies of their machinery. This is a case of beating a man when he’s down.

        2. well last year Ferrari had technical problem with their car and look what Alonso did with it.

        3. the one thing they need is a better car….

      2. This is just the usual let’s lay into Button for not being good enough in my opinion bull.

        Button has a known weakness and that is qualifying when the car is not to his liking. Lewis’s great advantage is exactly that, putting the car in a better place to start with and thus not have to deliver so much during the race.

        But Button is no slouch come race day.

        As for feedback, with no disrespect whatsoever for Lewis but it’s also well known that because he can wring more out of a car than most, his feedback has been less useful. I am only repeating what I have read. Because I don’t know this as fact, but I can understand it.

        I think the constant slagging off of Button is hugely disingenous and getting tedious.

        While it might seem fun to have a pop at Button because you can, he’s in F1 on credit and he’s a WDC.

        1. I do believe that Hamilton has reached Fernando level in preparing the car, to output the maximum of what you have.

          Great post OP.
          I think Kimi is the best for prepping the car, look at what he had done to Lotus. The Ferrari with all it’s great budget, past drivers, and good engineers hrdly required much input from Alo, but yes last season Alo really helped the team a lot, but not as Kimi has done to lotus.

        2. Look at last year though, how often did he have a car that was flying and Hamilton one that was poor? And how many times was the oposite true?

          Whether this is because of setup, driving ability or something else, Hamilton regularly looked more comfortable and Button regularly reported problems.

          In regards to the question of whether Button is good enough – McLaren are a top team. I don’t think anyone would try and argue that he’s on Vettel, Hamilton or Alonso’s level so that means that those 3 teams have a stronger number 1 driver. Or is Jenson not McLaren’s best driver? Again, I wouldn’t say Perez is on those 3’s level.

          So is it good enough for McLaren? They do appear to be lacking a world class driver…..

        3. Button has a known weakness and that is qualifying when the car is not to his liking

          Button is weak in qualifying whether the car is to his liking or not.. the rare occassion that he does take a pole position, he hails the car as perfect. The rest of the time he just cannot admit that he is never quick enough.

          As for feedback, with no disrespect whatsoever for Lewis but it’s also well known that because he can wring more out of a car than most, his feedback has been less useful.

          By that logic, the slowest and least versatile drivers on the grid are also the best at giving feedback?!?!?!? That is absolutely ridiculous.

          I think the constant slagging off of Button is hugely disingenous and getting tedious

          Its not slagging.. people are just sharing their opinion – He is not a great development driver (even though his years of experience give people the impression that he is
          … and yes, he doesn’t have the racecraft or consistency of the top 3 drivers on the grid either

          So do a lot of people think he isn’t good enough for a top team like Mclaren? Yes

          Now you can call it slagging if you want

          1. You are so right, shame the team principals are not party to your insight.

          2. By that logic, the slowest and least versatile drivers on the grid are also the best at giving feedback?!?!?!? That is absolutely ridiculous.

            That’s not a logical assumption and I don’t see how you came to it.

          3. @carl craven
            “By that logic, the slowest and least versatile drivers on the grid are also the best at giving feedback?!?!?!? That is absolutely ridiculous.”

            Dear Carl, what Todfod has mentioned is basically the same as you saying “but it’s also well known that because he can wring more out of a car than most, his feedback has been less useful.”

            Not sure why you are refuting your own assumption.

          4. @Ginola14
            Maybe I misunderstood the context of his reply in that case.

            What I meant regarding Lewis is this, and it’s not just me who note this, it has been discussed in articles. Lewis tends to get more from a car because he notices less it’s flaws. If he doesn’t notice the flaws, he can harldy comment on them, thus meaning he’s likely (also known) to give less feedback.

            Just a slight aside, here is an example of feedback. ‘I have no grip’, ‘I am experiencing massive understeer’. So when Lewis says this, is he complaining or giving feedback? I guess that depends on if you are a fan or not!

          5. @carl craven

            “Lewis tends to get more from a car because he notices less it’s flaws”.

            It might be he is actually fully aware of the flaws but he simplys drives around them wrings more from it than Button per se.

        4. Don’t forget, McLaren has effectively lost Paddy Lowe as well– and that’s probably far more of a blow than Lewis Hamilton. Still, Jenson and his engineers went the wrong way (by their own admission) last year, and Jenson’s slump coincides with the timing for the decision to scrap the MP4-27 and start over.

          I typically scoffed at the idea that McLaren was favoring Jenson’s input over Lewis’s, but I’m starting to reconsider– If Lewis was making correct choices, and his side of the garage was doing better at setting up the car, and they still preferred Jenson’s input, that would certainly explain how the relationship between Lewis and McLaren went so wrong as quickly as it did.

          Of course, it’s all speculation until 20 years from now when a few of them write their memoirs. :)

      3. If you’ve ever been to MTC and spoken to some of Lewis engineers he didn’t set his cars up they did. When Jenson reverted to Lewis setup it was the engineers.Cast your minds back to some of the races where Lewis complained about having the wrong set up. He definitely didn’t have Jensons set uo in Spa did he , hence the tweeting.

      4. @nomore This would be the same Hamilton who was given a choice of setups in spa last year, got beaten by button comprehensively, then tweeted the telemetry data in a fit of pique, blaming the “wrong” setup choice on his engineers, failing to realise that over the course of a full lap, the two options weren’t that dissimilar? Just because he refused to believe button was capable of beating him?

        Or the Hamilton who waits for the team to tell him what tyres or strategy to go for, then blames them for getting it wrong?

        1. @hairs What about Valencia where Button had to resort to directing his engineers to copy Hamilton’s set-up so as not to repeat his inglorious Montreal performance where he was lapped by Lewis on his way to 16th while Lewis won. In the SAME CAR.

          1. @ginola14 What about button? Weren’t we discussing Hamilton’s abilities?

      5. @nomore Don’t forget Vettel. I agree with you, but I must admit that for a while I thought that F1 had no special drivers anymore, for example in 08 at SPA cars were separated by small margins but more importantly they were all in tandem.

    3. Yeah, “Fernando Alonso” will bring 4 tenths immediately from RBR. RBR Beware.

    4. I have to agree with your opinion more or less. Everyone would agree that Button is more sensitive and having more knowledge about technology than Hamilton. The huge problem is, however, he’s not a good benchmark. We know Button often strluggle with car he doesn’t like and teams(not just Mclaren) struggle to find out what’s matter with him.

      He has said many radio messages and opinion(massive over/understeer or undrivable etc) but rarely made team understand what’s exactly wrong.

      So I think Button might be a good techician but it’s only the case when teams are doing well. If team and himself both struggle, data would be unreliable and harder to understand or sort out. Sort of garbage in garbage out situation.

      Now that’s the point why he mentioned Alonsk and Hamilton. I’m not sure Hamilton has good technical knowledge but I’m sure he’s much more predictable as Alonso even if the car is bad. Then it would be much easier for teams to understand problem.

      Now both Button and Mclaren are scratching their heads, I don’t think they would see the end of this chaos soon. Not to mention inexperienced Perez is not helping either.

    5. Stupid boy, i presume your a boy because that statement is not worthy of a grown man ,long live the “Button man”.

  2. I’m sure McLaren aren’t pleased to be in this position but they have given us an interesting story to follow. They are a hard working and talented team and I look forward to watching their progress in the coming months. If they get a win this season it’ll certainly be hard earned (just like Ferrari last year – excluding Malaysia – not that I’d take that win away from them :P).

    I’m so excited to have F1 back. This is my 20th year as a fan and I’m not supporting any teams or drivers this year (the teams and drivers I supported have all left the sport now), which means I just sat back enjoyed the racing last weekend. It’s actually a great way of enjoying the sport for everything that it is.

    1. @sircoolbeans Schumi fan, by any chance? I feel EXACTLY the same way. :)

      That said, the more intriguing question here is, if they have TWO lines of new parts, where is the additional manpower coming from? Because if that’s coming from their 2014 effort, that might end up stinging them again down the line.

      1. I would imagine that lots of the design for this car (ie the suspension) is going to be similar for next year and on that basis, they need to understand it first to push forward with the 29.

        1. @petebaldwin I don’t think so, 2014 car will have a completely new packaging, suspension and bodywork design, for starters the low chassis means they can’t use pullrod again, then the car will be heavier and more bulky in the back, plus there will be only one exhaust, so yeah it will actually be a 95-99% new car, that’s why I don’t understand their decision to change their fundamental design.

  3. Is it under the sofa?

    1. No, not there….. Maybe it’s in Lewis Hamilton’s kit bag?

      1. Maybe it’s Nicole Scherzinger, she’s the one who prepped up Lewis for manhood anyway. McLaren needs that hiney.

  4. I don’t get McLaren at all at the moment. Every year recently they choose to start with a brand new design rather than work with an existing one. The red bulls have hardly looked visually different from one year to another, even before nose steps they had a kink in the nosecone.

    The last rule change of any significance was 2009. F ducts and blown diffusers aside, they really shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every year to get performance. Instead, every year they’re either struggling to understand a new design, or having reliability problems. Last year they could have cakewalked both championships but got beaten to second place.

    Now, with a massive change next year, and supposedly a new engine supplier the year after, they’re working like mad on a car they can’t even fit the suspension to. Mind boggling.

    1. @hairs well, that happens when you trail your rivals into innovations.

      I mean, except the F-duct, McLaren has not guided the grid into a development. In 2009, they had to get round the car and put a double diffuser on it. In 2010/2011 it was engine mappings and blown diffusers. In 2012, it was quite even out everywhere in the grid, but they lacked Red Bull’s will to maximize the rules.

      And now they are struggling with the front suspension. If you read it like that, you get the impression that they are “rushing” in their designs…

      1. @fer-no65 -sure but to be fair to McLaren, they did have the fastest car for most of last year. The fact that they finished behind Red Bull and Ferrari is a whole different issue!

        1. @petebaldwin that’s why I said in 2012 it was even out, and they failed… they failed to maximize performance or whatever, but they failed.

          But appart from that, they’ve been trailing others in development race ever since 2009.

          1. But it wasn’t even. The McLaren was the fastest car for the majority of the year. The problem was reliability, not “maximising performance.”

      2. The same thing has plagued Ferrari in recent seasons. The F10 and F150th italia were just ‘me too’ designs plucked from Red Bull. I guess it goes to show how well designed the Red Bulls have been when the two most dominant teams of the last 15 years have spent seasons playing catch up.

        Maybe if both teams were less risk averse since 2009 they would have out innovated Red Bull. Realising that they couldn’t beat Red Bull in this way Ferrari made a stab at some new design philosophy last year, and I guess McLaren for some reason decided the last year of the current rules was an opportune time to start fresh (odd!).Too little too late for both teams.

        1. @collosal-squid but that’s exactly not the problem. A risk averse team would carry over a design rather than starting from scratch every year, because it’s much safer.

          Red Bull aren’t the only team to take risks and innovate, the primary difference is that when they try a development, it works, or they understand it enough that they can get it working fairly quickly.

          Mercedes have had linked suspension and ddrs, McLaren have had the octo-exhaust, f duct and the r shaped front winglet, Lotus have had “the device” and adaptive suspension, Ferrari have had… err.. team orders.

          Red Bull’s massive advantage isn’t down to innovative ideas necessarily (blown diffusers were around in the 80’s, and they missed the double diffuser too), it’s because their car has been a balanced, focussed “package” where every element is in harmony and the end result is better and more predictable.

          By starting anew every year McLaren rob themselves of the opportunity to have that balance, understanding, and cohesion. It’s an endless struggle to get it right instead.

          1. Yeah I didn’t fully realise that McLaren start over COMPLETELY with a new design each year. Although in my defense I would make the point that a team’s design philosophy can be risk averse if like Ferrari all they do with a brand new car is cherry pick known innovations and improvements from other cars, instead of trying for some bold new performance gain in a different area.
            I thought McLaren hadn’t beaten Red Bull in the last few years due to a similar strategy. In contrast the McLaren development strategy seems bizarre!
            Also Ferrari had team orders and…pull-rod suspension! Yay! If you can call doing something that hadn’t been done in a few years ‘innovation’…

      3. except the F-duct, McLaren has not guided the grid into a development. In 2009, they had to get round the car and put a double diffuser on it. In 2010/2011 it was engine mappings and blown diffusers.

        In fairness to McLaren, there isn’t much of a connection between major technical innovation and results. RB’s success over the last three years has been based on refining ideas other teams came up with, such as double diffusers and double DRS, rather than on on technical innovation.

        1. @jonsan well, depends. Flexi wings? blown diffusers? double DRS, well, they were the first one to implement it like that.

          Of course none of the things we see in F1 right now are “new stuff”. I mean, the Coanda effect is as old as airplanes, almost 100 years old.

      4. @fer-no65 It’s not just the front suspension, but they’re definitely struggling with that I’ve read elsewhere the airflow is separating/stalling on the back of the car. Sam Michael said recently in an interview they “know there is more downforce available on the car” and he was talking about it in its current guise, which suggests to me they’re have fundamental airflow problems. This shouldn’t be exhaust related, as they and others should have perfected the Coanda exhaust by now; maybe its splitter -> diffuser problems.

    2. @hairs

      Every year recently they choose to start with a brand new design rather than work with an existing one.

      This is because they have two technical teams, and they alternate designing the car. The team that designed the 28, is different to the team that designed the 27.

      There are pros and cons to this system, but I think the main problem is there doesn’t seem to be a universal direction. It’s just two teams doing whatever they feel. As you say, each year they start with a new design. But why can’t someone in the management say “look, team 2 will follow on the design philosophy that team 1 started last season etc etc.”

      Obviously my idea for change doesn’t necessarily apply for this year since Whitmarsh, Button and others have said the 27 had reached it’s development ceiling, but they should really consider having some form of continuity in the future. It’s only logical.

      1. @timi Since pat fry left, I don’t think that is the case anymore.

        And with the restrictions on testing, wind tunnel time and cfd time, it makes even less sense to split efforts between two teams concurrently, because neither team is going to make the most of the time available.

  5. Chris Phillips (@chrisphillers)
    21st March 2013, 12:00

    Why is Sam Michael commenting on technical matters? First he mucked up at Williams and now he is eeking his way into Mclaren, not good.

    1. My sentiments exactly mate.

    2. Williams haven’t improved since he left, so I’m not sure why you assume he was the problem.

      1. Chris Phillips (@chrisphillers)
        21st March 2013, 22:53

        He left, what 2 years ago? Williams won a race last year you might have noted..!

        1. And their current car, designed by championship winning Mike Coughlan is…..?

  6. You have an clear option guys. MP4-27B.(or I should call it MP4-27E because they considered the latest version is almost D-spec?)

    1. You know what would be sexy? MP4-27DD.

    2. It’s an option but where would its leave the 2014 car? As I mentioned before, I’m sure there are several parts and concepts that are on the MP4-28 that they were hoping to use on the MP4-29.

      Going to the MP4-27 would, in my opinion, set them back a year’s development on concepts for next year.

      1. For 2014, they should be opted for MP4-28. That’s for sure. So my comment is not necessarily logical choice for them.

  7. Have they checked that old Bisto tin at the back of the kitchen cupboard? You know the one that’s been there for so long that the use-by date is well past… but, y’know, how ‘off’ can gravy granules go?

    1. I risked an out-of-date can of hot dogs once. It was a good, tasty decision.

  8. Yeah the car is slow, but wow, it looks great in that stunning photo. :-)

  9. I have always admired the media-savviness of Mr Whitmarsh in front of the camera and find him generally likeable with no airs but i think he has at most another year or two to turn McLaren into champions again before he is shown the exit door by Ron Dennis. A team of their magnitude cannot be winning only 1 driver’s and 0 constructors’ title in the last 14 years.

    1. But Ron Dennis was in charge for 9 of them.

      1. True but Martin Whitmarsh was his acknowledged no 2 since 2004 (with a CEO rank) so unless it was a largely ceremonial role, he must have been a heavy influence behind the scenes. And his influence was hardly much less prior to 2004 with him serving as Managing Director.

        He has been team principal since 2009 when Ron ‘went upstairs’ and he should have a full influence on the car’s performance from 2010 onwards. He finally delivered a car that was arguably the fastest of the pack last year but which was let down by McLaren’s perennial reliability issues again. Ron Dennis wont be really impressed by the fastest car having its title hopes extinguished even before the final race of the season (even if, it has to be said, the reliability issues originated from the twilight part of Ron’s time in charge).

        We know who, overall still calls the shots at McLaren (Lewis/Ron fallout must have played a big part in Lewis leaving and hampering Martin’s attempts to extend his contract). If Ron Dennis decides Martin Whitmarsh may not be up to it, off he goes.

        I do hope Martin Whitmarsh succeeds in turning things but as seasons keep passing by and the title drought extends, more questions would be asked than not. Their team exists to win titles and not just go for a 1 win in every 4 races (which was their minimum benchmark really).

        Not having a genuine top 4 driver like others have pointed out (Vet/Alo/Ham/Rai) leading their team would hurt their chances too although again, Ron Dennis did his part in ensuring 3 out of that top 4 left McLaren in a huff.

        1. He was equally deeply involved in McLaren when they were dominant. So… if McLaren are successful while he’s involved, it’s someone else’s credit, if they’re failing, nobody else is to blame?

          1. @hairs When were McLaren really dominant over the last 15 years? They had to scrape for their their drivers’ titles in 1998, 99 and 2008 with every single championship decided only at the final race of the season.
            And only in 1998 did they win the constructor’s (if we exclude 2007’s stripped title).

            “If McLaren are successful while he’s involved, it’s someone else’s credit”.
            1 Drivers’ and 0 Constructors’ Title over the last 10 years is not really succesful and i didnt even go into saying it’s someone’s else credit if they do well because they havent even done so well (by their standards).

            “If they’re failing, nobody else is to blame.”
            Didnt i mention that Ron Dennis played a role in McLaren’s under-performance as well? All i added was Martin Whitmarsh was his No 2 as well so he might have a hand in those problems himself. End of day, Ron Dennis still calls the shots so unfairly or not, if Martin cant resolve the problems like team’s overall underachievement and the same old reliablity issues which he inherited from Ron, Ron will just go find someone else and maybe even get someone from outside the McLaren circle to look at things from a fresh perspective and revamp anything if necessary.

          2. @ginola14 Whitmarsh has been involved at McLaren at a senior management level going back to the prost/senna days. Choosing to only restrict your terms of reference to the last 15 doesn’t strengthen your point, it only serves to show that you’re aware of its weakness.

            McLaren have had long periods of poor performance before, under the leadership of the very man you suggest needs to sack Whitmarsh. He may in fact do just that, but I don’t see that McLaren are doing worse under Martin’s tenure than they did under Ron’s.

        2. @hairs

          ” but I don’t see that McLaren are doing worse under Martin’s tenure than they did under Ron’s.”

          yes but who calls the shots at Woking? You? Me? Or Ron Dennis? So whose opinion matters more? I think we can all agree Ron Dennis still rules the roost at McLaren. If he want to kick Martin out, is Ron gonna give you a call and hear your pleas for Martin? If Ron really wants to dump Martin the way he sent Alonso packing, no-one at McLaren can really stop him. So that’s all i am saying really. I dont seem to recall urging Dennis to sack Martin. If anything, Dennis would be deluded to think he hasnt had a role himself in McLaren’s underachievement.

          Yes Martin joined McLaren in 1989 and they clinched the double in 1990 and 1991. And yet from 1992 to 1997, they endured a long drought without title success. So what now? Martin the genius in 90-91 & 98-99 or an incompetent goon for the rest of the periods? I chose the period from 2004 onwards only (please go read CLEARLY my 2nd post on this) to grade Martin’s spell in charge as that was when Martin was effectively promoted into a no2 role. Yes, I did say “A team of their magnitude cannot be winning only 1 driver’s and 0 constructors’ title in the last 14 years.” but that is more a reflection on McLaren’s dire performance under Ron Dennis as well.

          So my overall point is the longer the title drought goes on, the more impatient Ron Dennis might get and he might be tempted to throw a Roman Abramovich chairman strop and fire Martin.

          Do i think its kinda unfair? Yes because Martin only became team principal in 2009 and inherited the problems from Ron Dennis.
          Am i of the viewpoint that Martin though is partially repsonsible for the problems he inherited from Ron Dennis himself? Yes. Remember, he did not sail into McLaren from outside to take the top post in 2009 – he was the clear no 2 himself since 2004 and must have bear his share of the responsiblity for the underachievement.
          Do i agree Martin deserves more time to turn things around? Yes. Because even people like Flavio took 5 years from 2001-2005 to turn Renault into winners.
          I must hate Martin Whitmarsh alot like what Hairs seems to fantasize about it, isnt it?
          Hardly. He is one of the most personable F1 characters (at least on screen). But in F1, results count ultimately. I will say judge him again by the end of 2015 but i am not Ron Dennis.

  10. McLaren technical director Sam Michael

    That’s your performance issue right there.

    1. It’s hard to think that it’s a coincidence that his arrival in 2012 made a huge good to Williams when suddenly McLaren’s operational quality just goes down (poor Lewis, 2012 must have been so frustrating!).

      This year he must have been part of car development and surprise, the car is rubbish out of the box ! (still early days but…)

      Come end of years and I doubt questions won’t be asked

    2. McLaren technical director Sam Michael

      Yeah what’s the deal with this? I thought he was the sporting director and responsible for overseeing operations at the track.

  11. I don’t understand the fact why Button is blamed so much for this. I mean I am a fan of Lewis. I am enjoying the scene overall but everybody needs to be fair on Button. He is a class driver. Agreed drivers improvise the setup and get more out of the car. But then if there is a fundamental issue with the design then it is a whole different game. I don’t think this is an issue that can be corrected by improvising the setup. Who knows, may be the car is able to run in the midfield because of Button’s setup other wise it might have ended up at the lower order.

    What I find surprising is the fact that when the same thing happened to Ferrari Last year, Nobody seemed to have blamed Alonso. He is class driver. he is a master of setup then again they too had the same problems. Why Blame Button for this debacle.

    Perez might be wondering what the hell just happened ???? It looks like the Sauber might go faster than the McLaren at this moment.

    1. Because the Mp4-28 is build with his input, it’s simple as that

    2. What I find surprising is the fact that when the same thing happened to Ferrari Last year, Nobody seemed to have blamed Alonso. He is class driver. he is a master of setup then again they too had the same problems. Why Blame Button for this debacle.

      Excellent point.
      The way JB won his world crown may well be the reason. Let’s face it, the Brawn was a class of its own in the first part of the season. That makes people think he was given the crown. Maybe he has “to pay” for this in a way ???

      I mean OK, he was a bit slower than LH. But last saturday, the usual 2 to 4 tenths he lacks in comp. to LH would have meant that:
      Either JB should have started 4th behind Lewis, not 10th.
      Or Lewis would have started … 9th.
      In both cases, they’d be on the same line…

      1. I agree.

        Additionally, his tenth position was only because of his ability in the wet during Q2 to get him to Q3. In the dry I doubt the McLaren would get so far.The car was 2.3 seconds off the pace in Q3 when McLaren had the best strategy with the most laps on the slicks. 2.3 seconds is not something a driver can even come close to making up.

    3. If the car isn’t any good i don’t think Button is to blame. The problem where Button has responsibility is the ability to understand whether the car is actually really bad or not.
      This makes us not understand the situation but more importantly the team itself might not understand and go to completely false conclusions and dig a bigger hole.
      A good example was last year. He managed to run good in the first race but excluding that all the other races on the first half of the season will give you the impression that the Mp4-27 was a mediocre car and the improvements brought made it worse and therefore not working if it wasn’t for the other guy taking poles and fighting at the frond with that car.
      This makes you wonder whether the MP4-28 is really as it seems or Button can’t find a right operational window. Maybe the car really is bad and Button got close to extracting as much as possible with that ninth place but it may very well be that Button isn’t managing to extract the speed the car has. If Hamilton was there you will have a definite measure of that since he extracts every ounce of a car but now they just don’t know.
      The fact that a World Champion and the suppose experience driver of the team that likes to play the number one right now can’t make the team feel sure on where they really are with the car is surely a negative for Button.
      His unreliable drives and problems with a race-winning car has cast a shadow in his ability to relay reliable information. He just can’t be trusted when he says a car is bad because you don’t know if it is really bad or Button just can’t find his perfect little window. A lead driver that can’t be trusted isn’t much of an asset.

  12. Did Sam Michael ever produced a title winning car in his 20 years of a carear, and what are all that nonsence about bringing 2012 car back?!?! They are going to iron 2013 car problems to a cerain level , not the winning level for sure, but there is no chance that they would bring back the.old car. Unless 2013 car is unusable brick.

    1. In the past 15 years how many teams have produced championship winning cars? 5.

      1. @hairs And Sam Michael has never been involved in any of the 5. So he may just not be good enough for McLaren.

        And he was a mainstay during Williams’ decline from grace as their technical director for 8 seasons from 2004-11. By the end of that spell, Williams had gone from a team that, if not winning titles, were at least used to winning races, to a win that struggled to get decent point finishes and celebrated a rare pole position in Brazil 2010 like they had won the title.

        So people are justified to ask if he really has what it takes to succeed at McLaren. 2013 is really the first year where he has had a direct impact on the car and it hasnt looked too good to say the least. I would say give him up to 2015 and if he still hasnt delivered a fast car by then, he should be turfed out.

        1. @ginola14
          My point exactly.

        2. @ginola14

          He wasn’t technical director last year, Paddy Lowe was. So the problems with this year’s McLaren are not down to Sam Michael.

          Mike Coughlan designed championship winning cars at McLaren, but his current Williams car is…. rubbish. No doubt that’s Sam’s fault too?

          I’m not saying he’s the best of the best, but you’re confusing correlation with causation. Furthermore, you’re ignoring equally “conclusive” evidence which undermines your point.

          1. @hairs

            “Mike Coughlan designed championship winning cars at McLaren, but his current Williams car is…. rubbish. No doubt that’s Sam’s fault too?”

            Goodness me how do you arrive at that conclusion that i would think it’s Sam’s fault that this year’s Williams rubbish? You might as well say McLaren should go blame Gordan Murray for the dismal MP4/28 even though he last designed a F1 car in anger 20+ years ago. I think your thinking logic jumps too far ahead of itself at times.

            “He wasn’t technical director last year, Paddy Lowe was.” I think the news is not exclusive to you alone and yes, i am aware of the FACT (so i am not sure what your ignoring “conclusive” evidence means – your own fantasy evidence?). And its not like Sam Michael bums around at Woking offering no suggestions or ideas whatsoever while Paddy Lowe gets on with his work in solitude in a secret office at Woking accessible only to Martin and himself and no-one else.

            I think you need to read carefully, really…..I said “2013 is really the first year where he has had a direct impact on the car.” I didnt say Sam Michael designed the car solely on his own while asking Paddy Lowe to clear off and watch him strut his stuff and if the car sucks, blame Paddy Lowe of course but look at who else has had an influence on the car.

            Even Adrian Newey doesnt design a gem every year nor does anyone really expect that (some of the McLarens he designed were not duds but just not competitive enough). But he has at least designed championship-winning cars over and over again at Williams, McLaren and now Red Bull. Sam Michael was groomed under Patrick Head and had the same chance at Williams to replicate what Newey did. A chance he had for 8 freaking seasons! And he designed more duds than anyone could even bother to remember. The first chance he has at McLaren to show he could be heavily involved in building a decent car at last and it didnt happen again. Yes, its NOT sorely his fault but he must have had a heavy influence on the car and
            fans are aware of his dismal Williams record and are now worried he has brought his brand of mediocrity over to the design team.

          2. @ginola14 Your point was that Sam Michael is not up to the job, and that he oversaw a decline in Williams.

            If things were as simple as that, Williams would have improved since he left, wouldn’t they?

            If it was all down to one man, then Mike Coughlan would have fixed it. But this year’s Williams is far worse than anything Sam Michael oversaw.

  13. I thought Sam Michael was McLaren’s sporting director, and Tim Goss was their technical director (albeit “interim”), no?

  14. So approx 2 sec slack from top benchmark could be broken down to
    0.1~0.3 sec – usual gap observed between Lewis and Jenson
    0.3~0.7 sec – slight setup change which could cause quite a performance slack to Jenson
    Now about 0.4 to 1.0 sec could be put on the driver side and the rest 1.0 to 1.6 sec could be put on the tech side of the car, wonder will this be fair? LOL.

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