McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has said the outfit is 'working tirelessly' to understand its 2013 car, the MP4-28.
Speaking ahead of the 2013 F1 season opening Australian Grand Prix, Whitmarsh admitted that testing and understanding the MP4-28 had been 'challenging' for the Woking based-squad, but is confident with the data they obtained from the Jerez and Barcelona sessions.
“We've faced a challenging few weeks prepping our new MP4-28 for the 2013,” he said. “The often cold and sometimes wet conditions we experienced during pre-season testing in Barcelona and Jerez made it difficult [to operate the tyres consistently within their optimal performance window]. That issue, combined with a handful of typical testing setbacks, gave us a few headaches.
“But as ever our engineers and mechanics did extremely well to complete as much useful running as they did. Well done, boys.”
Whitmarsh also believes that the varied weather conditions in testing this year created difficulties in establishing a clear pecking order for the teams, and each one cannot be entirely sure as to where it stands ahead of Melbourne.
“But it [the weather and testing problems] was much the same for all the teams,” he continued. “As a result, anyone who says they already know in what order the cars will line up on the Albert Park starting grid on Sunday March 17th is a soothsayer of rare ability.
“Indeed, in truth, even after qualifying, no team principal will be genuinely confident of his car's race-spec performance relative to that of his principal opposition until the flag drops and the proverbial stops.”
Whitmarsh also said that given the MP4-28's design, a top-ten finish is more likely than victory. However, he believes the car has 'great potential' for the rest of the season and that should give Jenson Button and Sergio Perez cause for optimism.
“It's important to remember that our MP4-28 is a new and uncompromising design that we intend to develop aggressively throughout the year. Undoubtedly, it has great potential - and we fly to Melbourne determined to show well and to score points that should establish us in good stead for both the drivers' and the constructors' world championships. I have great confidence that our design, development and engineering teams will work tirelessly to shave tenths off its lap-times for Melbourne, and for Sao Paulo, and for everywhere in between,” he concluded.
by George East