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McLaren emphasises no plans to use 2012 car

McLaren continues to insist that there are no plans to use the MP4-27 this season, despite expecting to struggle with its 2013 car again this weekend.
The McLaren team is expecting to face a repeat of its Albert Park struggles as the 2013 F1 season moves swiftly on to its second stop in Malaysia this weekend.

Both Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were stymied by the characteristics of the all-new MP4-28 on the streets of Melbourne, with the Briton salvaging a couple of points in ninth place and his team-mate failing to overcome a qualifying tyre gamble and make it into the top ten at all. While the surprisingly cool temperatures and uneven road surface in Australia were given as contributing factors to the team's woe, sporting director Sam Michael is not expecting the heat, humidity and billiard table-smooth Sepang circuit to provide an immediate turnaround in fortune.

“It is a different temperature, [a] very different circuit layout and different tyres but, in terms of where it puts us, I don't know,” he told a media phone-in on the eve of the second round, “I suspect it won't change the order too much. It'll be a similar order to what we saw in Melbourne and in testing.”

Much has been made about the possibility of McLaren switching back to its race-winning MP4-27 should the latest car not work as planned, but Michael was quick to echo team principal Martin Whitmarsh's belief that there are bigger gains to be made from persevering with the 2013 model.

“There are various options open to us but, currently, all of our energies are focused on the 28A,” the Australian said, referring to the car's full drawing room designation, “It is a dynamic programme, and that's what we think will offer us the best chance over the course of the season and, at this point in time, that's where all our efforts are going.”

Despite the short turnaround between Australia and Malaysia, Michael revealed that McLaren was taking new parts to Sepang, both planned and a result of the findings of Melbourne.

“We have two lines of new parts,” he confirmed, “One is normal development that was going to come anyway to 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 us further understand [the car].”

“When you are looking for performance as we are, you look everywhere, so we have programmes on everything. We have a good idea of what we need to concentrate on but, until we've got on top of that, then we'll keep our minds open to everything.”

While the result last weekend left Button lamenting an early blow to his hopes of adding a second world title to the one he won in 2009, Michael insists that what McLaren learned from Melbourne will already help it be more productive in Malaysia.

Regardless of the success or otherwise of the new parts, Michael believes the tough lessons learned in Melbourne and the car data accrued there should help make for a much smoother time in Kuala Lumpur.

“We obviously have more understanding of the car and that actually allows you to manage the race weekend better,” he explained, “I think, even if we went through Melbourne again, we could probably do a better job just because you have more data.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
17.03.2013- Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
17.03.2013- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 leads Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9
24.03.2012- Sam Michael (AUS) McLaren Sporting Director
15.03.2013- Free Practice 2, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28
28.05.2017 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MCL32
28.05.2017 - Race, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
28.05.2017 - Race, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
28.05.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
27.05.2017 - Qualifying, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32 crashes during qualifying and is passed by team mate Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MCL32
Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
27.05.2017- Qualifying, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
27.05.2017- Qualifying, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32 crash
27.05.2017- Qualifying, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
27.05.2017- Qualifying, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32 crash
27.05.2017- Qualifying, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32 crash
27.05.2017- Qualifying, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
27.05.2017 - Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MCL32

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Oldtimer - Unregistered

March 21, 2013 3:29 PM

I don't believe we are going to see much improvement this weekend, it will basically be an extension of pre season testing and as long as they don't fit any more parts on upside down hopefully it will be productive. They will need a big leap forward to improve their chances and with everybody else moving forward they are in catch up mode which should at least be familiar to them. Let's hope Button can bag a couple more points to keep his very slim title chances alive.

Firestorm - Unregistered

March 21, 2013 4:56 PM

Sunday should be with mixed conditions and so maybe they can surprise, you never know. They must push and develop this car as Ferrari did last year. If by mid season they will have not won a race or some couple of podiums, they should concentrate on 2014 better.

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