17 June 2013
Michael vows Silverstone will be better than Montreal
Montreal will hopefully be the low point of McLaren's disappointing 2013 F1 season, according to sporting director Sam Michael.
McLaren sporting director Sam Michael had said that the Woking team expects to bounce back from its Montreal nightmare when the F1 circus touches down on home soil at Silverstone.
Speaking after time to reflect on what happened at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve a week previously, Michael insisted that McLaren was still making progress with its recalcitrant MP4-28, and claimed that its Canadian performance had been a hiccup rather than a major derailment on its route back to the front of the field.
Neither Jenson Button nor Sergio Perez made the final phase of qualifying at the first transatlantic stop on the schedule, and both drivers found themselves being lapped as McLaren's run of successive point-scoring races was halted at 64.
“It was a brutal weekend for the team," Michael told Sky Sports, "To be lapped by the top cars, that is probably the most important thing for us to concentrate on.
“We are still developing the car and it is responding - just not as fast as we had hoped. [However,] I think the picture of Montreal was painted blacker than what it probably is. We have made progress over the last number of races and I think, for Silverstone, our thoughts are that we will definitely be more competitive than what we were in Montreal.”
The Australian was still circumspect when it came to predicting the impact of the latest development parts, however.
"We have a lot of things which we will do in practice at Silverstone and, hopefully, they will yield even more performance out of this car,” he claimed, "No question they will work better than they did in Montreal [but], in terms of taking a big step up to the front, that is probably unrealistic and we just have to try and take small steps each time."
With the change of rules for 2014, the point at which McLaren turns off development of the MP4-28 has been the subject of debate almost since it became apparent that the car was not competitive, but Michael insists that there is still time for a turnaround.
"I don't think you ever get to a point where you write it off [completely],” he suggested, “We will always be pushing to improve the car and get good results right to the end. [However,] in terms of bringing development parts to the car, the August shutdown is going to be a natural point for most teams to start ramping down this year and putting everything into 2014."
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