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Posted on May 5, 2010
McLaren aim for front row with updated car | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

McLaren is targetting the front row of the grid at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix with an updated car featuring new front and rear wings and a revised floor among a host of changes.

McLaren aim for qualifing step (Darren Heath)


The team is currently leading both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships and has two wins and two podiums, but qualifying has been its Achilles’ Heel and it has yet to get a car on the front row of the grid.

However the designer of the McLaren MP4-25, Tim Goss, said today in a Vodafone backed McLaren team phone-in today with the leading websites that he was hopeful that the updates would give the team a qualifying boost in Barcelona,

” I’d like to think that we can put a car on the front in Barcelona. We know that we’ve made a decent step forwards, but we know that Red Bull, Mercedes have announced significant changes and Ferrari are going to bring their own drag reduction rear wing. ” he said.


“We certainly have closed the gap. In China barring the slip up Lewis had in qualifying we proved that we had closed the gap. We were probably only 2 or 3 tenths off the Red Bull in qualifying pace.”

Although McLaren has won two races it has been making life hard for itself by qualifying poorly. Neither driver has managed better than fourth on the grid so far. The team brought some significant changes to the car in Malaysia to improve qualifying and this is its second go at it.

Goss also explained why Hamilton has twice gone into qualifying with a strong car only to fall short in the decisive phase. This happened in both Australia and China,

“In Australia, in was down to tyre preparations, getting them into the correct window of performance for qualifying. We were slightly out and Lewis never hooked it up. It was our own advice to him (that was at fault).

“In China we were particularly competitive in Q1 and Q2 but then in Q3 the wind picked up and it caught Lewis out in Turn 11. He made a small mistake and the repercussions were costly and the result was that he underperformed.”

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McLaren aim for front row with updated car
31 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Kedar
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 11:56 am 

    “Vodafone backed McLaren team phone” I would like to have that :-)

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  2.   2. Posted By: smellyden
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 12:02 pm 

    This is going to a fascinating GP. The tech war has just started. Considering the amount of time Mclaren managed to find last season, they must be feeling confident of winning this battle!!

    [Reply]

    Ben Miller Reply:

    Mclaren designed a wretch of a car which was 2 seconds off the pace – with so many fundamental flaws to last years car its not surprising a team the size of Mclaren managed to claw back time.

    This year has started a lot more even and it will be tougher to make up significant time, compared to last season. Mclaren are a very good team with great engineers etc etc, but they haven’t always out-developed their competitors. They have a 3/4 tenth advantage with the F-duct which no other leading team has, one of the most developed diffusers on the grid…so other teams I see, will make time up on them. Mclaren should be worried about Alonso and Ferrari…

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    Banjo Reply:

    I completely agree. I am a McLaren fan through and through, but, the development they gained last season was because they started with out a double diffuser or out-washed front wings, both bringing very significant step up’s in lap time. This year their development pace won’t be as impressive. I’m optimistic though.

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  3.   3. Posted By: jw1980
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 12:26 pm 

    Have Ferrari and Red Bull given too much away to McLaren so far this season?
    Red Bull have the fastest car thus far maintaining last year’s end of season form. Ferrari would have appeared to have spent more time developing this year’s car than anyone else.
    I bet McLaren cannot believe the situation they are in if Bahrain’s performances are considered, plus the above points.
    Are McLaren likely to increase performance more than anyone else this season as in years gone by? If so they must be favourites for both championships.
    The only potential problem I see is that Button and Hamilton would appear to be the most closely matched teammates of the leading four teams and could take points away from each other.

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    Liam Reply:

    Surely Webber and Vettel are the most closely matched? Even so, I see your point.

    Alonso will surely dominate Massa so he will take the WDC.

    The constructors will go to either Red Bull or McLaren due to their closely matched front running team mates.

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  4.   4. Posted By: Frankie Allen
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 12:57 pm 

    I still cannot see RBR’s advantage in qualifying being eroded sufficiently, I can see McLaren getting closer. The design of the RBR is such that it minimalises the effect of ride height, which all the competition rely upon heavily. And this does not contend with RBR making further advances themselves. The other noticeable strength of the RBR is the ability of what looks like a relatively soft suspension, riding the bumps and kerbs effortlessly, something the McLaren looks at odds to do.

    If we get high track temperatures, I can easily see the RBR advantage being eroded, but other than that or the wet, I just don’t see it at present.

    [Reply]

    Carl Reply:

    Havent Red Bull come out and said that they’ve found 3 tenths theselves

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  5.   5. Posted By: Carlm21
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 1:11 pm 

    I’m backing Jenson to win in Spain and make it 3 wins this season. His driving style will suit spain well.

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    Peter Reply:

    That would be just as awesome if Jenson won. Each win these days feels like his first win because he has to prove those ignorant doubters wrong.

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    Carlm21 Reply:

    Exactly. I think all round he is a better driver than Hamilton. Hamilton might be a shade faster but for consistency, smooth driving and managing the tyres Jenson is the man. He is up there with Alonso and he has the chance to match him with 2 world titles, if he wins the championship again this season.

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    Phil Reply:

    Because someone has a different opinion doesn’t necessarily make them ignorant.

    Maybe you’re right. Then again, maybe those of us who think that Jenson has done well but has yet to prove he can beat Lewis when timing of pitting does not make a race will instead be shown to be correct. I maintain, Lewis’s quicker race pace will over the season allow him to beat Button.

    I will say that Jenson has done well, and certainly is better than Heikki was. I think extrapolations beyond that, are way early.

    We’ll see. I won’t however, say that you’re ignorant simply because you hold a different *opinion*

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  6.   6. Posted By: Freespeech
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 1:20 pm 

    If McLaren can repeat their efforts of last year then they will win as no other tea in the history of F1 has ever done what they did last year never mind that this was achieved without testing, this must bode well for this season.

    The 4 leading teams, 5 if one includes Renault have some truly fantastic brains all working for the same end so the tech battle will be fascinating though I think I’d still put my money on McLaren.

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  7.   7. Posted By: chris green
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 2:08 pm 

    James -re Ferrari engine upgrade
    I’m a bit confused about the Ferrari engine situation. If the engine is the same reliable unit as last years then why are Ferrari and Sauber having reliability problems. Notably Toro Rosso are doing ok. I can appreciate that all the teams have different installation packages around the engine. Do all 3 teams run the same spec engine? More interestingly did Ferrari change the engine spec before the start of the 2010 season? I don’t remember hearing anything about it. I’d like to hear a clear explanation on this matter.

    [Reply]

    Banjo Reply:

    I’ve been wondering this also. If you could shed any light on it James i’d appreciate it.

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  8.   8. Posted By: Jon
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 3:36 pm 

    Surely if anyone has given anything away too much (or not taken enough) it is McLaren, bear with me.

    McLaren have the F duct, which has allowed their car to be competitive (decent straight line speed allowing for more overall downforce). other teams are now starting to copy it and take away at least some of the advantage McLaren have had with it. However their car was not dominant prior to this so barring great improvements elsewhere we could actually see them go backwards somewhat? I would have thought imitating an innovation such as the F duct would be easier than just trying to find small adjustments everywhere to improve the car? Part of the reason McLaren caught up so much last year was (I believe) due to being able to take the innovation of others regarding diffuser and front wing design. Therefore The McLaren could face the issue of others catching up on innovation whilst having a superior base car. (Others caught Brawn by midway last season but McLaren lack the exceptional start)

    [Reply]

    Banjo Reply:

    I worry you might be right here. Fingers crossed McLaren have the step-up in performance they believe they do.

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  9.   9. Posted By: Michael Prestia
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 4:11 pm 

    Alonso + Ferrari + Spainish GP = win!

    Watch out for Ferrari! Patched up Engine and new F-Duct! Woo hoo.

    [Reply]

    Zobra Wambleska Reply:

    You Alonso and Ferrari fans must be living on Dream Land pot. In real life that duo are having a hard time getting the whole act together in a consistent manner.

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    Michael Prestia Reply:

    Dream land Pot is affecting my reality! Question to you is: So which team has it all together? RBR has reliability issues… qualifying great but not getting the results in the race and Macca Qualifying poorly and getting lucky with weather and tire choice for 1 of their drivers! The other driver is not so lucky! Merc has 1 consistent driver and an old superstar struggling to brush off the cobwebs but their car is 4th fastest at the moment.

    With an engine reliability change, an added F-Duct (new rear wing) and an already fast car… I like Ferrari’s chances.

    Note: I am a Ferrari fan first and then the driver. Used to like Schumacher when he raced for Ferrari… but haven’t followed him with my support once he went to Merc. Looks like that was not a good decision for his rep but that is just my opinion.

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    Zobra Wambleska Reply:

    Everyone has had a dodgy start to the season, but the map has been the same for all. Call it luck, call it skill, in the end it’s what you do with what you’ve got and McLaren has simply made it all work better than anyone else. That’s why they lead in both sections of the championship. What if’s only count in Dream Land.

    R.B. Reply:

    I have to agree here. Massa will axe Alonso the first time he gets and this will mean nuclear war in Ferrari garages.
    especially with Alonso engine troubles Massa will soon aspire the number 1 status on his probability chances alone…

    it is not all pink for Ferrari definitely:)

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Ben Youngs
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 5:34 pm 

    Don’t forget that the allocation of those two front row grid slots could be a lottery if it rains on Saturday!

    [Reply]

    Kieren Bloomfield Reply:

    The weather network is currently reporting “scattered showers” for Barcelona on Saturday. It’s a bit early to be accurate but maybe it’ll produce another wacky race that Alonso dislikes so much :)

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Bill Day
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 8:11 pm 

    Personally I find McLaren the team to be totally unrootable-for. I just don’t see what’s to like about them, except for their history. But hey, I’m a Fernando rooter.

    BUT I love seeing Jenson do great things in a McLaren. After all his whacky career choices over the years, to see him proved right in his move last winter is just so cool.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Andy C
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 8:52 pm 

    It’s going to be a great fight for the constructors and drivers champ this year. For what it’s worth I think lewis and jenson will prove to be the strongest pairing and I’d love to see mclaren win the development race. I drive past the mtc every morning. Great team, two strong drivers, the best engine in f1. Come on mclaren!

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  13.   13. Posted By: adi
        Date: May 6th, 2010 @ 2:15 am 

    I cant believe Tim Goss’ excuses regarding Hamiltons poor qualifying performance! Is it me or is it never Lewis’ fault when something goes wrong? Seriously ‘we told lewis the wrong info’ and ‘a gust of wind’. If were honest about this we know hes not the sharpest knife in the draw but the way McLaren have been offering poor excuses to defend him im wondering does he have any meaningful input at all regarding strategy, set up etc. When he gets pole this year i want Whitmarsh or Tim Goss to say ” quali was perfect cos when lewis was on his flying lap sun came out and heated up the track causing a rise in grip giving him a significant advantage that even Fisicella would have used to get pole. It promptly dissapeared as he crossed the line so his rivals didnt get the advantage. Thank God he grabbed pole otherwise i would have to make up some gibberish about how the suns glare momentarily blinded him at turn 8 and he lost a few tenths so thats why Jenson outqualified lewis again.

    [Reply]

    Nick Reply:

    If you are going to quote something finish it off “as a result he underperformed” that’s direct blame if you ask me, and what about the play down of alonso’s move on massa “there are no team orders” or vettel squezing Hamilton in the pitlane “no official comment” get real a team will protect the driver because they are a valuable asset to the squad, it’s nieve to think otherwise

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    adi Reply:

    Thanks for the grammar lesson nicky but ill finish my sentences off the way i like. Your comparing racing incidents with something thats black and white i.e Button qualifying ahead of Hamilton. I dont care which mclaren driver is fastest after quali but i will pay more attention now if only for the laughable excuses given if lewis is behind button. In Shanghai Ross Brawn said Schumi’s lack of pace was a “mystery” which was refreshing. Better the truth than if he said Nico was faster than Michael in qualifying cos of a freak gust of wind or the team giving him the wrong instructions on how to heat up the tyres.

    P.S If you want to critique my sentence structure how about you learn when and where to place commas and full stops. Lets see…..In the 2nd line you dont need a comma before the word ‘and’. In the 5th line you should add a full stop after ‘get real’? End that sentence, unless your aim is for fellow posters to read and re read the sentence and try to decipher what your trying to say. Finally in the 7th and last line you again show a unwillingness to end a sentence at the appropriate time. Full stop after squad. Oh almost forgot ‘squezing’ has 2 (two) ‘e’s….. squEEzing and ‘nieve’ is not spelt like you say it, it would be ‘naive’ to think so!

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  14.   14. Posted By: David Turnedge
        Date: May 6th, 2010 @ 8:54 am 

    Would love to see McLaren give Button a car to win a double championship!

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: RON
        Date: May 7th, 2010 @ 6:37 am 

    Jenson is about to be given a lesson on how to drive an F1 car…

    Jenson’s lucky pony is now out of breath…

    Once Jenson’s talent comes to the fore, and his luck takes a back seat, we will see just how poor he is…

    Flukes cannot be repeated consistently.

    [Reply]

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