McLaren sporting director Sam Michael has said that the Woking team will continue to develop its MP4-27 in the hope of being able to overhaul Red Bull in the F1 constructors' standings.
After a disappointing single point return from the recent Korean Grand Prix, McLaren slipped to third in the teams' table and now lies 83 points adrift of RBR with just four races remaining. However, with both Red Bull and Ferrari pressing ahead with developments as they have drivers chasing the individual title, Michael knows that his squad needs to follow suit.
The decision is made easier by the degree to which this year's car will influence that used in 2013, as rule stability make next season's machine an evolution, rather than a revolution, using any ideas not outlawed by the rules.
“It's not a big a decision to decide to continuing developing the 2012 car,” Michael told journalists during a team phone-in, “The rule changes for next year are quite small compared to what they would be in normal years, so most of the development work we do on this car will carry over to 2013 anyway. We're going to push to the end.”
Both McLaren and Ferrari appear to have lost ground in the development race, as Red Bull has now won three rounds in succession, but the Woking team knows how quickly the formbook can change having itself rebounded from a poor series of results to win the Hungarian, Belgian and Italian grands prix back-to-back.
“Basically, if you're not bringing 0.1s or 0.15s on average to every grand prix, you're not going to stay competitive,” Michael explained, “You bring anything above that and you should start pulling away, or making up ground, on your main competitors.
“The gaps are very small now, and it only takes one or two-tenths to swing things from one way to another. That can be driven off a development of theirs working, or another team not bringing enough. It's great for everyone watching grand prix racing, but it makes our life very difficult. However, we believe we can pose a challenge to [Red Bull] in the last four races.”