As to the more immediate matter of Sepang, meanwhile, he confessed that the very real prospect of rain is the chief concern at present, especially with memories of McLaren's disastrous Malaysian qualifying session last year lingering very fresh in the mind.
“It will make it interesting for all the spectators,” he mused, “and if we have a wet race this early on in the season, it will be interesting to see how the Pirelli tyres get on, too. We had some experience in torrential rain in Barcelona during winter testing, but we haven't done much running on intermediates yet. Still, that's the same for everybody.”
And what does he make, finally, of the divisive new moveable rear wing, or Drag Reduction System (DRS)?
“Paddy [Lowe – McLaren technical director] is working very closely with the FIA and other technical directors at the moment to make sure we get the position at which to deploy it right,” Neale revealed. “Malaysia has got some long straights obviously, so they will really test it.
“We were pleasantly surprised by it in Australia – it didn't make overtaking too easy, and yet there was an opportunity for drivers to attack under some circumstances. I don't think at this stage that it needs a root-and-branch overhaul; we just need to work with the FIA to refine it.”