A return to winning ways?
Marina Bay 2014
Singapore Grand Prix
Jenson Button says 2013 McLaren will not win a race without radical change
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Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Mar 2013   |  12:57 pm GMT  |  244 comments

Britain’s Jenson Button says his new McLaren is not capable of winning a grand prix in its current spec after he trailed home ninth in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The 2009 world champion, who had tasted victory at Albert Park in three of the last four years before Sunday’s race, lacked the pace to contend with the likes of Lotus, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen went on to take victory for Lotus, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel while Button took ninth and his team-mate Sergio Perez finished outside the points in 11th.

The 33-year-old said the team need to make radical changes to their 2013 challenger, although there will not be much time to do so before the next race which takes place at Sepang in Malaysia this Sunday.

Button said: “The way the car is at the moment, this package that is sat in the garage right now, is not going to win a race.

“We need to bring updates and move this car forward. That is the only way we will see good results and wins. We can definitely do it. We have been in bad positions before and come back strong.

“It is just a pity we have lost out so much at the start of the year. There have been non-stop meetings and discussions and we are doing everything we can to improve.

“We are going through every single piece of information we have collected this week and over the winter. It is going to be flat out and the team are going to be working non-stop. Everybody is a bit down. A team like this is used to winning.”

Perez, who made his debut for McLaren in Australia, added: “We’re lacking downforce, we’re lacking stability. It’s not only one thing. I think we’ve got a lot of problems. The car is not quick enough and this is our reality.

“We have to keep our heads up. The car has the potential so we have to understand and put it together so we can be fighting for good positions.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said they would not be reverting to last year’s car – which won the final race of the season in Brazil with Button at the wheel – for Malaysia. However, he didn’t rule it out for later in the season.

Whitmarsh said: “It is not a serious option for Malaysia – no. I think at the moment we’ve got to work hard on this car.

“We know it’s got some areas of high potential and we know it has potentially more downforce than last year’s car but we’ve all had cars in the past where it’s difficult to get the performance.

“But it was a shock to a degree. I hope and believe we won’t be so far off the frontrunners in Malaysia. But I’m not promising we’ll be with them either. We’ve got to be realistic what can be done in a few days.”

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244 Comments
  1. Gul says:

    first race and his already moaning….jenson get a “grip” ;)

    1. Quade says:

      You have to admit that Jensons behaviour is not that would rally a team. Its shocking really, even new boy, Perez sounds better about the crisis. It might be best to call a meeting and read the riot act; no driver is bigger than McLaren and nobody should demean the team. They are all in it together and will all rise from it together.

      1. Pranav says:

        Whitmarsh isn’t as good as taskmaster as Dennis. The team is going to fall apart in the next 3 years unless somebody else replaces him.

      2. Sebee says:

        Conspiracy theory number…ironically. ..28.

        In an effort to stop the relentless poaching and secure engines for next 2-3 seasons, McLaren have self-sabotaged themselves into submission to Mercedes AMG and let them be the #1 Mercedes engine team. After all for Mercedes, that is step 1 – be best of Mercedes cars – by any means necessary.

      3. Nathhulal says:

        The team wasn’t working miracles under Ron Dennis and his control freak (or attention to details) best IMO. 2000-06 is good example, where team struggled with Ron at helm and having Adrian Newey on the woking staff.

        And those failures were out of choice, where Ron’s focus was more on developing the MTC, wind tunnel and the best F1 simulator on the grid. While resources were spent on those projects, F1 cars were patchy on the track, when they were fast, they were not reliable ( like 2005) and when they were reliable they were not fast (e.g. 2006).

        Wasn’t Ron the team boss in 2006 when the team mixed up the rear and front tyres on Heikki’s car in Chinese GP 2008?

      4. Nathhulal says:

        Correction I meant –
        Wasn’t Ron the team boss in *2008 when the team mixed up the rear and front tyres on Heikki’s car in Chinese GP 2008?

      5. Folkdisco says:

        I wouldn’t blame Martin Whitmarsh. Except for the odd mess up, McLaren were always competent… Until Sam Michael joined. There is definitely speed in the car, cause it was fast out of the box in Jerez. Something has gone seriously wrong since then. Paddy Lowe leaving can’t have helped. Historically, Mclaren has been as good or better than anyone at development over For some reason, I’m not totally sure they will be this year.

      6. Gul says:

        100% agreed!

      7. Kenny Carwash says:

        Jenson Button: “I didn’t expect to get that many [points] today. I think we should be happy with how we went about the race. In a way I’m slightly surprised to have beaten a Lotus and to have held Mark [Webber] for so long.”

        Sergio Perez: “We’re lacking downforce, we’re lacking stability. It’s not only one thing. I think we’ve got a lot of problems. The car is not quick enough and this is our reality.”

        You’re deluding yourself if you think Perez was more positive than Button post-race.

      8. Cliff says:

        I’d like to see an article on exactly how McLaren are even now tackling this problem. Are their reserve drivers frantically experimenting with different configurations on the simulator and which? Ride height, aero, suspension settings? What CAN be changed on the car set up-wise that can make a big difference in lieu of new parts being fitted whilst the team are doing the flyaway GPs. Is their wind tunnel correctly calibrated (I’m thinking of Ferrari’s woes last year)? Is there a chance the tyres will suddenly “switch on” in higher temperatures? And when drivers talk about the car’s ride, do they mean its ride height of its suspension geometry and handling? I have more questions than answers but this is what I love about F1. Its an incredibly intricate and labyrinthine sport, with so much to ponder beneath its glossy veneer.

    2. Michael says:

      He is not moaning. Rather he is stating his opinion. And if you re-read his comments, you can clearly see Jenson has the confidence in his team for turning things around.

      1. Dave Deacon says:

        +1

      2. Wayne says:

        Yep, I’m no fan of JB (not at all) but he is not a moaner. He has every right to expect better of this ‘top team’ than the dross they keep turning out year after year (this is not the first car to start with 2 secs deficit to the front in the last few years) how and why do they keep doing it? Is it a stuborn refusal to change their approach? Is it arrogance or blindness or what the hell is it?

        Even last year, when finally they had the fastest car for the balance of the season (just) they set about utterly destroying HAMs WDC shot throguh sheer operational incompetence. Appreciate that if’s and maybe’s mean little but there is strong evidence that the team DIRECTLY cost Hamilton around 110 points last year (at a time when HAM was driving brilliantly it has to be said). Few would disagree that HAM had the ability and the car to win the WDC last year – it was just the team itself that went completely AWOL.

        I always struggled with those people who expressed the opinion that HAM was mad or greedy to move to Mercedes. He wants WDCs (which McLaren FREELY ADMIT are not their priority) so just what was the risk? He was not going to win a WDC with McLaren so why not (potentially) go and not win a WDC with Mercedes for a year and get some more money (which we’d all love by the way) and wait for 2014?

        This Team are a British success story and a British Employer is bleeding edge engineering, they are also a British car Manufacturer – I want to see them succeed for those reasons but my heart rate can only take so much unbelievable, pointless frustration before I explode!

        HAM used to make plenty of mistakes but he was always exciting and good for F1. Eventually over the last couple of years he evolved into the driver that everyone said he should be and the Team still blew it for him in 2012. They also blew his first ever season as well when they left him out on tyres worn down to the canvass in China in his rookie season. So that’s two they owe him and then there are the slew of awful to average cars inbetween.

        I despise the idea of calling for anyone to loose their job but how in the hell does Whitmarsh continue to survive this?

      3. Agree on all points, especially questioning how Whitmarsh leeps his job. Every year under his watch the McLaren, despite showing promise and making good noises in pre-season testing, has started the race season as a dog of a car and had to develop. It looks like Ferrari have turned the corner in this respect but McLaren are a long way off it. That must be so frustrating for the drivers and race crew.

      4. Jeb Hoge says:

        Even more so than stating his opinion, Jenson is probably delivering the company line. Part of his role as lead driver is acting as a team spokesman. JB doesn’t pop off like Lewis did, (I say that as a Hamilton fan), and he’s not saying anything publicly that hasn’t already been said, discussed, and agreed upon in the garage, I’m sure.

      5. Michael says:

        Please do not make me laugh, they will not turn nothing around and we all know it but won’t admit it. last year was their best chance to have won both championship but in a typical McLaren style the messed it up again. if you are a betting man then I say bet against them turning aything round. big team with no ambition that is what they are.

      6. D@X says:

        Always a good build up with Mclaren but just like most English teams on the world stage, they always shoot themselves in the foot. Over the years I dread watching Mclaren operational issues cause they mange to mess things up for themselves. Good luck to Jenson cause he will need tougher skin, it was better for him when Lewis was around and the edge helped keep things interesting. For now I see a more relaxed Lewis and for some reason we all know he would have driven that dog of a car to get some points.

        I sense frustration from Jenson and perhaps his attitude will change, you can see it on his face, cant understand how and why that car is so slow. Also as lead driver it will be his feedback to make it work as well so it’s a double edged sword. I see a few key people joining Lewis..the important ones anyway. But Whitmarsh needs to step aside,, he’s not a calculative and as cunning as Ron.

        Pat Fry, Paddy Lowe,….Watch this space!……

      7. Jake says:

        Yes they will turn it around, however it will be too late for the championship. We now have two Ferrari’s capable of winning, two Red Bulls equally capable, the Lotus is fast, Mercedes is not far behind and at least one Force India in the mix. It is going to be very hard to score sufficiently highly this year when they eventually get the car up to speed in order to make up the potential point gap. Even when they had the fastest car they did not always win. The only hope Jenson has to salvage anything from this year is that both Lotus and Force India may not be able to develop at the same pace as the other leading teams, given the burden of the 2014 car development. 4th in the WCC might be possible but more likely 5th or even 6th.

    3. Adam says:

      Jenson has played the team player for weeks minimizing what is a fundamental design flaw that prevents them from fixing that car in a hurry. He has to talk to the media, he has done his best to cover up the root cause issue. He is really a team player through and through. This will be born out if they turn up with last years car at China and Bahrain and essentially a B Spec car runs in Spain. I think he has tapped danced his way around the real issue with massive skill he should get a bonus for that! And McLaren don’t want to say why because it will tip anyone else of following them on the front end design. Let other teams equally have the agony of figuring this out the hard way.

    4. Carlo_Carrera says:

      The new car sucks. What do you expect him to say? He is telling the truth. You should get a grip on reality.

    5. Dragster says:

      Complaining, what and Lewis would be happy in the car he’s in. What would Fernando Alonso say if he had a car like he had? Any driver in his right mind would ‘moan’ about the current Mclaren!

    6. Sascha says:

      Looks like Mclaren & Jenson Button got all they wished for the new season
      McLaren wanted a car with more development prospects, they got it!”
      Button wanted to be teamleader, he had more input in the car development, the car developed around him& the team rallied around him, too.

      Maybe someone should have told them to be careful with what they wish.

      1. viviane says:

        looks like mclaren & jenson button got all they wished the new seson
        mclaren wainted a car with more development prospecltes , they got itl´´ button wanted a car with teamleader , he had more input in the car development the car developed around him& the team rallied around him. too.
        maybe someone should have them to be carefu withat they

  2. IP says:

    Wow this car is clearly terrible… reminds me of 95. hopefully McLaren can get it competitive sooner rather than later.

    On another note James, will there be an in depth analysis of the tyre situation and who is coping best and why?

    Rumour has it that, courtesy of a former STR driver, the tyres may not suit RBR so much this year! LOL

    1. madmax says:

      “Rumour has it that, courtesy of a former STR driver, the tyres may not suit RBR so much this year! LOL”

      Brilliant, never even thought of that!

      1. IP says:

        it’s a good rumour. leet’s spread it

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      1995, then 2004 then 2009..

      1. Mitchel says:

        94 and 2006 were poor years also. One WDC for Hamilton and none for Raikkonen and Alonso says it all unfortunatlely.

        And 2010 was a shock because they had such a bad winter testing.

        I have a gut feeling that they are either going to be like themselves in 2010, or Ferrari last year. They will come good.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I’d forgotten about 1994.
        Regarding their recovery this year, it will be the design office that have to turn that round. Last years poor performance by Button mud season does not inspire confidence.
        As far as Ferrari turning it around… You had the exceptional Alonso, and only from Belgium onwards was Massa getting close to his level. It won’t be a quick fix

    3. Cliff says:

      I was thinking something similar, but 94 and Peugeot engines still probably worse.

    4. Cliff says:

      I was thinking something similar, but 94 with Peugeot engines still probably worse.

    5. Adam says:

      They are having the same pain with the front end Ferrari had last year. Ferrari got it figured out, McLaren have to do the same thing

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        That’s fair enough if it was the front not working, but they have no rear grip

    6. Nathhulal says:

      Forgot the self sabotage season of 2006?

  3. Jesse James says:

    James,
    Do you think that the potential gain from the pullrod suspension is worth wasting a whole season? It would explain the revolutionary approach to the project despite of the rules’ changes in 2014.

      1. Pat Byrne says:

        Is pullrod advantageous for 2014 in some way? Revolution for one year makes no sense especially when they had the fastest car at the end of 2012. McLaren have lost their focus on racing – too much other stuff going on road cars, ECUs, cartoons(!?).

      2. ng neer says:

        If they will have a much more lowered nose for 2014, which they had planned (have they dropped it? I don’t know), teams will have a new front suspension anyway, which may well be a pullrod suspension, as pull rods have a better angle with low noses, than with high noses. But then again, with a completely new nose position the front suspension would be a re-design anyway.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Ferrari never once mentioned their pull-rod suspension as being responsible for their problems. I think people are getting caught up with details.
      As an aside, most teams have been running pull-rod suspension for a few years now, at the rear and have not had any problems.

    2. Richard says:

      The reason they went for the pull rod suspension is to counter raising the chassis at the front end which raised the centre of gravity, pull rod suspension effectively lowers it again so it’s worth having if it works properly as intended.

  4. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

    in hindsight it seems that Lewis’s decision was a correct one!!! what an awful start for McLaren!!

    1. Richard says:

      I’m sure Lewis did not have the slightest indication of what this years car would be like, but I bet it’s raised a smile!

    2. Jake says:

      Lewis touted Jenson as a possible contender for the championship. He had no idea how bad the car was going to be, he was well aware of their recent performance operationally. We will only know in 2014/15 if this was a smart move for Lewis championship wise, but he looks a lot happier in Mercedes, (out of McLaren).
      Ross, you have the manpower, the money and the drivers now where is that 0.5 sec race pace the car needs to challenge the leaders.

  5. MistressofSpeed says:

    Bring on the updates McLaren.

    Jenson: This year the MP4-28 has pullrod activated torsion springs front and rear which is, as we have been told, a revolution, surely you, McLaren and the team want to emulate what Fernando accomplished last year with Ferrari F2012.

    Now, wouldn’t that be something! Sure, it’s a shock, but if the car truly has potential, bring, it, on: harness it and grab more wherever it may be. The team may be used to winning; but there are more ways to win than to stand on the top step of the podium of every Grand Prix especially if you manage to win a significant number and eventually win the championship.

    With 18 more races to go, it’s still mathematically possible.

    1. Richard says:

      They’ve done something wrong, but it’s lightly to be four or five races before they improve. It’s one thing putting something right that’s obvious, but it seems at this strange they don’t know. Somehow they’ve overcooked it, clock Gary Anderson view on what should have been a good car with bags of potential, but I suspect they’ve got interrupted or disconnected air flow at the back end. It’s also worth noting they have a simplfied front wing that may not be directing the air adequately.

    2. Michael says:

      lol! with will never happen. They are useless as a team simple. They say this eery year, oh the car has potential but at the end we never ever see it.

      1. Tim says:

        I think it’s perhaps a little harsh to say they are useless as a team. They have a better than 1 in 4 win ratio from all the GP’s entered. I agree they do seem to make heavy weather of some of the operational and tactical decisions – but their win ratio didn’t come about by luck. It’s very easy to stand back and pass judgement, particularly when the responsibility for fixing the problem is not yours :-)

  6. Stuart Harrison says:

    Fingers crossed for them. The season’s going to lose something without McLaren fighting for wins.

    1. Michael says:

      What is that may I ask? We all tend to forget the last time they actually won the constructor (1999). We are in 2013 so please Mr ‘The season’s going to lose something without McLaren fighting for wins’ how would it be different. There ar better teams out there so we won’t miss them.

      1. Michael Collins says:

        The more teams fighting for a podium the better it is for the sport. I really don’t understand why you’re being so obtuse. F1 is finally starting to get exciting again these past few seasons. Having McLaren end up being another mid-pack team would be a step in the wrong direction as far as exciting racing goes.

      2. Stuart Harrison says:

        I said fighting for wins, not winning the constructors (something they arguably did as recently as 2007 if not for losing points over Spygate).

        Would you prefer we go back to 2011, which was basically a one-horse race? A year, I might add, where McLaren provided the only tangible resistance to the Red Bull dominance…

  7. Sean says:

    Is there any chance that McLaren could fly out last year’s spec for Malaysia or China?

    Or would it have to re-pass the crash tests and be shipped by the FIA?

    Could McLaren run Jenson in the 2012 spec and leave Perez to bring the 2013 up to speed?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s just not a very McLaren thing to do

      1. Sean says:

        But worth the risk being massively behind come Barcelona?

      2. PhilipS says:

        They have done so before, the MP4-18 under-performed so the MP4-17D appeared.

      3. Kay says:

        Great recall.

      4. Pranav says:

        Precisely. The most blatantly obviously simple thing to do (bang-for-buck-wise) would not be the McLaren way. In true McLaren fashion, they will make it more and more complicated until there’s nothing left to do.

      5. Michael says:

        Hence why they would never win anything again. We have heard stories from hamilton with the way they behave there and i bet you unless they change they won’t wn nothing again, sure the would win the odd races here and there but is that what they are about. Let us face the truth and stop prending that they are going to turn it around to a championship winning car.

      6. Adam says:

        May not be a McLaren thing but Martin Whitmarsh did not rule it out to the press!

      7. Adil Desai says:

        Sure it is. Wasn’t the MP-4/18 a car that was shelved while a D spec version of the 17 was used? I’m probably wrong with the chasis designation, but I recall this clearly.

        McLaren built a car that wasn’t drivable and continued development of the previous chasis The unraced car was further developed at the factory and provided the basis for the MP-4 19.

      8. Ben says:

        They did this in 1992 with the MP4-7 iirc. They ended up with something like six cars are one of the races so that all bases were covered.

    2. Quade says:

      Its against the rules to use last years chassis.

      1. Simmo says:

        Thing is, I don’t get chassis rules. Okay, the regulations are clear – a car must be built to have blah blah, and blah is not allowed – but when it comes to the use between years thing, I don’t get it.

        Please could somebody help me understand specifically what the FIA say about chassis – I am struggling to find it in the online regulation files :/

      2. IM says:

        Not against the rules at all

        Kimi almost won the championship in 2003 with a year old MP4-13

      3. Kay says:

        13??

        MP4-13 is the car that Mika Hakkinen won his first championship with.

        MP4-17D is the one that Kimi drove.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Are you sure, because – unless they’ve changed the rules – other teams have done it in previous years.

      5. Timmay says:

        Rules are different now – a chassis homologated for 2012 cannot be used in 2013 until it goes through that same long process.

      6. Quade says:

        Every chassis gets homologated at the start of the season. Except for safety reasons, a chassis cannot be changed after that, and even then, it would be to sort the safety issue, not for performance gains.

      7. Tim says:

        Maybe the rules have changed, but, in the past, I remember a number of teams bringing last years car to the first two or three fly-aways as they were more reliable.

    3. Jon Wilde says:

      Realistically how do you think the 2012 car would perform? At best it might be the 4th best car on a 2013 grid. Which barring retirements and exceptions would put Jenson & Perez 8th and 9th.

      For the sake of minor additional points would it not be better to use your drivers and track time through races to figure out the 2013 car?

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Or just cut your losses early and pour everything into 2014.

      2. roryfireplace says:

        i think it likely that McLaren changed design direction this year so as to get on top of the pull-rod technology (for one) that they are hoping to use for 2014. i doubt we’ll see a reversion to the 2012 chassis.

  8. Don Farrell says:

    Classic Button…. throwing his toys out of his cot already!

    He’s probably also annoyed becuase Hamilton / Mercedes had such a positive first outing.

    1. newton says:

      so what do you want him to say when he’s asked about the car? Do you expect him to be fine with it? How is giving an honest answer throwing toys?

      ‘fans’ are weird.

      1. Don Farrell says:

        maybe Button just wasn’t fast enough…. maybe he was having a poor weekend… Perez driving his first race for McLaren finished 2 just places behind him… oh no… Button has to blame his tools! :D

      2. Quade says:

        No, fans ain’t weird. Drivers are the men from the team in the media spotlight, therefore we expect them to buoy up the team and the fans, not stand aside and thoroughly condemn the efforts and sweat of the other team members. All Jenson has done is depress everyone, fans and team mates.

      3. Michael Collins says:

        So what do you expect a driver to say when he has a car he doesn’t feel will be competitive? Just shut up and smile? He voiced his opinions and will be working hard with the team to bring a good car to the starting grid.

        Tens of millions are thrown around designing and engineering these machines. It’s not the kind of world for a bunch of people to be thin skinned when they don’t get a pat on the back. He hasn’t thrown the team under the bus at all.

      4. zootrees says:

        Seems like it would be more depressing if JB got our hopes up for no reason and the car still dragged along. I think what he said was fair, and rather hopeful, it cheered me up a bit after such a terrible showing. Made me feel like he was gonna give it everything and stick with the team.

      5. Quade says:

        @Michael Collins
        Yes, I would expect a driver to shut up and drive. The current McLaren is not worse than the 2009 car, in fact its much much better. So why are we getting such fountains of gloom, like the World has ended?

        His team mates might not be thin skinned, but they are human, as are McLaren fans. Nobody wants to hear such outrightly condemnatory language from a driver, especially when they are champs and high calibre professionals in their own right, such as engineers and designers.

        We didn’t have this sort of talk in 2009 when the car found making 18th place in Q3 seem a blessing, so why do it when the car comes 10th? Its just too bad.

        Considering McLarens immense engineering strengths, the fact that they cannot understand where the issues are could be due to poor feedback from both drivers. It would be best for Jenson to cease the press campaign and drive instead. His efforts until the car is fixed will be much more appreciated if he manfully drags an unwilling cow across through the chequered flag and does some donuts just for the fans.

      6. Quade says:

        Please forgive my last post. That was Ronspeak in full flow! Lol!

      7. Wayne says:

        Agreed

      8. Guillermo says:

        Some of the criticism coming Jenson’s way seems over the top, but in similar circumstances last year, Alonso refused to be negative after a poor first race and maintained that he was still fighting for the championship…

      9. AuraF1 says:

        Alonso knew that the 2012 Ferrari was massively off the single lap pace but it was reliable and a solid race car – it gave him a lot of work to move up.

        It appears the mclaren in 2013 is two seconds off the pace in quali or race trim.

        Jenson is usually optimistic – I think it’s a shame that mclaren are being so honest with the media but some other drivers/teams put up a whole front and are applauded for it.

      10. roryfireplace says:

        personally, i got very tired last year of Fernando (and yes, i’m a Tfosi!) reminding everyone over and over what a dog the Ferrari was. it seemed after a while that it was just self-aggrandizement! if i was a person working in Maranello that would have been very demotivating.

    2. panache says:

      More like classic Button detractor. It really is cringeworthy reading a lot of the comments on various sites since it became apparent that Mclaren were off the pace. Typically:

      It’s Button’s fault the car is bad. As the most experienced driver in F1 he should have been able to develop this car. He’s throwing his toys out of the pram and always whines. The car is fast it’s just their drivers that are bad and slow. Button needs a car 1 second faster than all his rivals to win. Button only ever wins due to luck. Button can’t setup a car and had to rely on Hamilton’s setup all the time at Mclaren.

      What a load of tripe.

      1. Dragster says:

        Button wins only with luck. What planet have you been on. Australia 2012 beats HAM off the start wins by 10 secs odd. Belgium 2012, brilliant pole and win. Yeah, luck

      2. Don Farrell says:

        and remember it took Button almost 10 years to win his first race… and McLaren as per usual tried the ‘oh lets go first on slicks’ trick in qualifying …. they are getting very predictable…. yawn

    3. Jake says:

      I am not a Jenson fan but find it very strange that he is getting so much grief for saying the car is slow when last year Alonso did exactly the same thing but was a hero. OK Jenson did not “outdrive” the car but why the discrepancy.

      1. Michael Collins says:

        I don’t get it either. Comments from racing “fans” often end up looking like something you’d see on YouTube. I’d like to think the average F1 fan is a bit more of a critical thinker than your average beer slamming American Football fanatic. But, the more I read comments it’s quite clear that many are all cut from the same cloth.

    4. Wade Parmino says:

      Sure, he is upset with the car but it is not as if he is rolling around on the floor having a temper tantrum. For crying out loud.

  9. spactus says:

    Isnt it time that Button cool down the media campaign and concentrate on driving and developing thier car.the problem is that Button has been so embolden by the British media love hate realationship with Lewis,using button both as a wedge and a weapon to attack and belittle Lewis,that now Lewis is long gone he is still ginned up.Lewis cant even give his account of he Lewis experience at Mclaren without Button chiming in,and jabbing back.
    Its time to get off the soap box…from saying that last yrs car was the worst Mclaren he has driven, to this yr car being the best Mclaren has ever made.I think to the serious F1 fan Button has no credibility on these matters..

    1. F12012 says:

      I remember Button saying after Lewis left Mclaren “at least I know I will have a good car next year” funny how things work out

      1. Random 79 says:

        I remember Hamilton assuring Perez the same thing in a driver press conference.

        No guarantees in this business :)

      2. alastair emmerson says:

        Lewis said before he left McLaren that this years car was going to be good, because he knew the input into it, so what the hell happened, I think once hammy left button got in their and wanted it set up to his liking, I think that’s where the problem is

      3. Paul McGarry says:

        Seems unlikely. “Tooned” is not a documentary. McLaren do not actually have a secret underground test track.

        Lewis would have had no actual idea of how this years car would perform, only a theoretical one.

        It seems to me that with such limited testing any drivers input into the effectiveness of a new design is going to minimal.

        By the time a driver gets to sit in the real thing the major decisions have been made and it’s largely a matter of whether reality agrees with theory.

        When it doesn’t the driver may have a role in determining why but even then the cars are so complex the best a driver can probably do is describe what feels wrong in general terms. Diagnosing the cause in terms of aero etc would require a different sort of analysis.

    2. Michael says:

      Yes, you are so right. Button has been missing team meetings, practice sessions both on track and also in the simulator because he is too busy doing media.

      Perhaps Jenson’s comments here originated from the post race media interview.

      I think you just don’t like Jenson and hence can’t look at his comments objectively.

    3. Ross Dixon says:

      Well said. Huge Mclaren fan but to me the driver lineup is the worst or the big teams…Dare I say I would Prefer to have Grosjean just to get Kimi!?!?!
      Button is not fast enough and can only drive when his car is perfect. That is a massive negative when you compare to the talents of Alonso say.
      I came to the conclusion that Mclaren will continue to fail with this line up so I have only one option, support the fans favourite, GO KIMI!!!

    4. alex says:

      its worth remembering that as this is an english speaking web-stie and there are a lot of English readers that naturally there weill be more posts about UK drivers. I’m sure all the drivers do this media work and reported just as much in their respective countries.

    5. Michael says:

      Thankyou, you are the first person that has said it the way it should be said and for that I comend you.

    6. gudien says:

      Jenson is no Pedro de la Rosa when it comes to developing a car.

      Jenson is no Lewis Hamilton when it comes to driving the wheels off a bad car.

      What is Jenson’s strong point? Public Relations. Is this what McLaren needs in a number one driver, PR?

  10. Gareth says:

    told you he would start losing his head.

  11. Motilal says:

    Now the people says Hamilton made a right decision…

    1. **Paul** says:

      Lets revisit that in 6 races time. Mercedes have a reputation for poor in-season development, McLaren have a reputation for possibly the best in-season development on the grid.

      I’d not be surprised to see the McLaren finish the season as a faster car than the Mercedes.

      We’ll see though.

      1. mr sneff says:

        What I don’t understand is that everyone says that McLaren are the best at developing a car, why can’t they build a good one to start with?

    2. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Indeed, first many people where angry about Lewis now you won’t hear them. Jacky Stewart where are you

    3. Kenny Carwash says:

      It’s still early days. Mercedes started brightly last season as well, but were all at sea by the end.

      McLaren can turn it around, provided there isn’t a fundamental flaw in the car or their wind tunnel.

      1. Michael says:

        Tell me where exactly did McLaren first after starting with the fastest car on the grid. I bet from you analysis they won the championship, oh no they did not! they did not not even finish second. All I hear is turn it around and i ask myself turn what exactly! are they going to turn it to a champinship winning car or a race winning one. Big difference if you ask me.

      2. Kimi4WDC says:

        Ouch :)

  12. Paul H says:

    Bring back in season testing! lol

    Is there any indication on the actual root cause area – aero, mechanical, settings etc. So far they just seem to be completely at a loss which is the most worrying aspect by a long way. Traditionally McL go with a low nose approach so a high nose is a new feature to learn about, the pull rod will no doubt take time to adjust to and the way these impact the rest of the car is a big unknown. Also the aero seems far less refined than other teams, in particular the front wing.

    Am I right in thinking that last year’s car was Tim Goss’s and that Paddy Lowe was lead on this year’s? If that is the case I’m less concerned at his transfer to Mercedes.

    Is there any rule preventing the teams running two different spec cars at the same race weekend? By that I mean running the MP4-28 and the MP4-27 – be interesting to see the relative pace of the two.

    1. Quade says:

      It looks like the root is setup. Everyone up to the team principal says they don’t know whats wrong with the car. Quite a strange thing to say.
      You can interprete that as the feedback from the pilots being lost and confused. With proper feedback, they would know whats wrong with that car. Surely, the baseline of the car is not that bad.

      1. Paul H says:

        Considering they were using a different wind tunnel (one of Toyota’s I think)it could well be a baseline issue simply caused by different data parameters. If you consider the sheer quantity of figures involved in developing a car a small margin of error can lead to big discrepancies.

        That said, I think it is simply a case of adapting the car to run softer and work with the new shape tyres better.

      2. Quade says:

        But Ferrari used the Toyota wind tunnel too, and they have a great 2013 car. Both teams used the Toyota wind tunnel, precisely because theirs were not up to scratch and Toyota’s is widely regarded as the best. It would be somewhat strange for them to report errors from using better equipment.

        The team does not understand the car. But McLaren is a World class technology leader; therefore, it cannot be argued that the engineers and designers don’t understand their product. That would be impossible.
        We can only conclude that our drivers are lost, confused and provide jumbled feedback that can’t pinpoint specific areas for correction in their feedback. The driver lineup is the real weakness.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      “Also the aero seems far less refined than other teams, in particular the front wing.”

      Funny really, pre season, Gary Anderson spoke of how wonderful the Mclaren design was and fans, observers all spoke of Mclaren being confident that they wouldn’t have the problems Ferrari had.
      The inference being that Mclaren were a more scientific and professional organisation than those hoodlums in Maranello.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        The main difference is last years Ferrari was ultra conservative to the point that it had nothing to show for it but reliability.

        The 2013 mclaren was a colossal gamble by the sounds of it. So it was either going to utterly dominate or fall flat. The design features do individually seem impressive but as with any car unless it all aligns it won’t gel. And that ‘all parts in harmony’ is as much art as science. See Williams attempts to clone bits of red bull. Without the whole philosophy it’s mostly junk.

        I expect the mclaren will come good at some point – the problem is its likely to be too late to stop someone else having a runaway lead…

    3. Janis says:

      Seems to me,
      this issue is one that can’t be so easily pinpointed.
      Remember, JB set a very competitive time in Jerez tests, but then they admitted this was only possible with a very low ride height, unsuitable for actual racing.
      Consequently, this is something involving many components: mechanical, aerodynamic, and even engine parameters (limited though the EBD is now).
      BTW, interestingly, Kimi’s Lotus was riding low at Melbourne, or perhaps riding very soft. It was producing lots of sparks on the bumps, more than any other car.

    4. Clear View says:

      Last years car was Paddy Lowe and this year’s car was headed up by Tim Goss, Jenson mentioned it in a segment for sky shown in the build up to the race. He said he was excited to work with Tim and in his opinion, that out weighed the fact that Paddy was moving on. Got a feeling that we may see McLaren struggle next year if they end up burning resources on a full re-design on what will be obsolete machinery at the end of this season. They may be a top team but resources are never unlimited. It’s also not going to help the negotiations with the next title sponsor that will be replacing Vodafone for 2014. Although McLaren say an announcement will be made on Dec 2nd, but I doubt everything has been ironed out yet. I would want to get it a bit cheaper if my cars aren’t getting the TV time cos they ain’t at the front. That’s why I think they will throw everything at this car even if it sets them back on the 2014 model. This may be they know they need to perform this year and Merc are publicly eyeing up next years championship so McLaren can use next year to perfect their new car and run their final year with Mercades power and then team up with Honda in 2015 and mount a serious title attack as they need to regroup a bit after the migration of staff.

      I think the 2014 and 2015 Mercades cars will be hot cars. 2015 will be the next Paddy Lowe car Lewis will get his hands on to drive the wheels off of.

      1. James Allen says:

        Paddy doesn’t design cars. He’s overall in charge -or was!

      2. Paul H says:

        I saw the same clip (playing pool with Perez and Sky peeps) where he stated that the 27 was Goss’s car. At the launch this year a lot was made of the lack of Lowe talking about the car he was the lead on. I don’t think Mercedes will become a winning team simply because Lowe arrives, they already have an incredible team of engineers. Innovative thinking around the new formula will be the key.

      3. Clear View says:

        I may well have got I wrong, it was quite early and I was quite sleepy, ha ha, with that in mind, no wander McLaren are struggling if they guy who headed up the design team is not on board any more, it could definitely upset the apple cart. Maybe it’s Paddy’s “leaving present” to big Ron and co. LOL or maybe he disagreed with the direction he was asked to go with in the design brief so just thort ‘sod it I’m off, let the rest of them sort it out’. That would be funny……

  13. Colin says:

    Not wanting to point the finger but it all seems to have gone south upon the introduction of Sam Michael. Now I’ve nothing against the fella but he didn’t exactly come with a resounding CV from Williams. They were a top running team when he was introduced.

    With others (e.g. Paddy Lowe, Lewis) at McLaren dissatisfied with the direction they seem to be taking, I wonder if Sam, as technical director, is the architect in wanting to go for a radial re-design? Was this against Paddy’s better judgement I wonder.

    1. clyde says:

      Sam michael is not technical director but sporting directorat Mclaren.However you are right about him dragging Williams from a top team to a straggler …. he was technical director there :-)

    2. Tim says:

      I think Sam Michael is the sporting director at McLaren, not the technical director – not sure what the difference is :-)
      You are right, he didn’t pull up any trees when he was at Williams so quite why Mclaren found a role for him is anyone’s guess – perhaps he came with sponsorship!

      1. Random 79 says:

        Pay directors now?

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Amusing isn’t it?
      He joined after the MP4/27 had been signed off, so he had no input, yet their operational organisation was terrible throughout last season when he was in charge.
      This year, they offer up a Williams performance pack.

      1. Colin says:

        Maybe someone can confirm but wasn’t Sam Micheal the operations manager last year and now technical director? Clearly operations last year let the team down and… well technically, we’re not at the races this year are we! Just an observation

    4. Michael says:

      True talk, I am with you on Sam Michael been useless. he has no clue of what his doing.

    5. Cliff says:

      Sam Michaels is Sporting Director. Sporting Director looks after the track-side operations. Pretty much the same as Dave Ryan did for so many years. Paddy Lowe and Tim Goss would have had a greater say in the design of the car.

    6. oz says:

      Your right about SM but the root of the problem is Whitmarsh….

    7. Jonathan says:

      Sam is not at McLaren as technical director – he is their sporting director tasked with improving the way they tackle a race weekend.

      If you remember this time last year McLaren’s pit stops were chaotic. Once Sam Michael had applied himself to this area they broke pit stop speed records. I’m not sure if the early season stops were struggling to make new processes work or if the speed came from fundamental changes – but either way the improvement was immense.

    8. Joel says:

      Sam Michael’s title is Sporting Director and I would say he has very little to do with the design. He is primarily responsible for trackside operations, including their pitstops and resulted in that world record time

    9. Random 79 says:

      He’s a fellow Aussie so I’m reluctant to say it, but I’ve had the same thought. I’m sure he’s very good technically, but he just seems to always be…not smiling.

    10. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      Sam is Sporting director, not technical director.

    11. Shankar says:

      I think after Sam got to work last year Mclaren set record pitstops and are still setting fastest pit times.

  14. goferet says:

    Judging from the last time Mclaren had problems with the car in winter testing i.e. 2011 >>> It wasn’t till they got rid of certain parts like the Octopus exhaust that it became competitive.

    I believe the same thing is needed here, Mclaren need to get rid of the new additions such as the higher nose and the pullrod system >>> In other words, re-launch the MP4-27B.

    However, Mclaren have a bigger problem with their drivers for with Perez in essence being a rookie, he can’t help much in development whilst Jenson’s career has shown development isn’t his strongest point for all the teams he has been in have all tended to go backwards (even his Brawn winning car ended up being slower in his hands)

    However, all this could be a blessing for Mclaren in that if things don’t improve, then they can ditch the season and focus on 2014 development early (but the problem of good development drivers still remains)

    1. James Allen says:

      You cannot change the pullrod front suspension, it’s a fundamental part of the design

      Ferrari has got it working on its 2013 car, don’t forget

      1. goferet says:

        Aah I see

        Cheers!

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        James, most teams run pull rod suspension at the rear, have done for a few years.
        Obviously they all understand the stresses and physical forces required from a suspension set up.
        As far as I’m aware, Pat Fry, Gary Anderson and many other professional observers didn’t place blame for Ferrari on this particular feature last year.
        I understand it’s aerodynamically a little better than push rod, but it’s disadvantage is that there is a weight penalty which raises the C.o.G a little.

      3. Adam says:

        James bang on correct and Ferrari took a lot of agony in testing and the first few races last year. Alonso really helped them by driving through that pain to get them to the other side.

    2. Dave Deacon says:

      As I recall, McLaren preferred JB to test and help develop the cars since he’d give them relevant feedback. LH couldn’t do that since he tended to drive around problems. Perhaps that explains why he did not understand the damage done by revealing telemetry data at Spa last year.

      Brawn didn’t develop the car through the year with both JB and RB because they ran out of money. Not due to JB managing to drive backwards. In any case, he won the WDC and Brawn the constructor’s that year… If that’s what going backwards does, then can we have more please!!

      It’s a long season and rather silly of everyone to write off McLaren and promote Mercedes etc. Let’s wait and see what McLaren manage to do. I have a feeling they’ll understand something and the light will switch on. They said the MP4-28 is more open to development. If they hastily switch to last year’s car, they might get a quick fix but find themselves falling behind later. The fun of F1!

    3. SteveH says:

      Don’t forget, Goferet, that pull rod suspensions are not new. Pull rod was ubiquitous not so long ago, and McLaren have run them in the past, including at the rear of recent cars. I suspect the problem is something else – you mention the new high nose and there are also major aero changes. Who knows what the real problem is; McLaren certainly don’t. McLaren were saying they installed a front suspension part upside down during testing and that’s why the car was fast out of the box; now that sounds strange, as they are unable to emulate that early speed by again switching the part. It seems they are trying stuff in desperation; too bad there is no in season testing.

    4. Grant says:

      Note mclaren fixed the 2011 car with octopus exhaust before the start of the season, this maybe the most dodgy car they’ve designed in recent years, one thing you can count on with mclaren is there fast development rate

    5. Michael says:

      I am glad someone know Jason is no development driver, thank goodness it is out there now so tell me how they are going to move forward.The bubble is burst not that Hamilton left the sorry ass team.

    6. Steven Pritchard says:

      Didn’t know Jenson was responsible for manufacturing the parts for the car himself?

    7. What is it with everyone bashing Jenson..?? And who says that any development issues the teams he’s driven for in the past are down to him.!! Take 2009, his team mate was Rubens, regarded as one of the most knowledgeable drivers where setting a car up is concerned, so was it both there faults the car flat lined after every body else caught up where the Double diffuser was concerned.!!?? No the fault lay in the hands of Ross Brawn and a lack of funding, not Jenson’s!! Also everyone is going on about his lack of pace over a single lap, well I know he didn’t out qualify Lewis often but he was VERY often incredibly close (I think at Malaysia 2012 he was within 1/10… Lewis is considered to be the quickest guy, well let’s just see how Rosberg stacks up against him this year shall we…? So far it’s 1-0 to Hamilton, by ooooh 1/2 second (it was 1/10 to Hamilton in 2012…).

    8. Random 79 says:

      The Brawn didn’t go slower, it just didn’t get any faster because the team didn’t have the resources to develop the car through the season…which is why they fell behind Red Bull in the latter half of 2009.

      I’m not saying Button’s a wizard at setup, but 2009 was not his fault.

  15. Quade says:

    There have been several articles saying that McLaren might dump the current car and pick up their 2012 one instead.
    It should have been what they did in the first place. They surely can’t go back to the MP4-27 now, cos the current chassis is homologated (cannot be changed – FIA rule), so they are stuck with it.

    Its bad management to abandon what was the fastest car in 2012 for the great unknown. There are arguments that the pull rod would give them 2014 experience.
    I don’t see how.
    In 2014, cars would have much lower noses, yet McLaren has used their pull rod to raise the cars nose even higher than the already highish 2012 one. If there is no similarity between the way they are using the 2012 nose to the way the 2014 nose will be used, then there is pretty much nothing they can gain toward 2014 with their gamble (even worse when Paddy Lowe, the designer of the car is on garden leave).

    Its obvious that things aren’t in synch at McLaren, something fundamental needs changing before its too late, and it ain’t the car. I don’t want to see McLaren disappearing from the grid through self inflicted wounds and the lack of will power to acknowledge errors before they spiral out of control.

    1. James Allen says:

      I just don’t see it, it’s not McLaren’s way.

      They will fix the car, the question is, will it be soon enough to salvage JB’s championship hopes?

      1. krischar says:

        Yes james

        Mclaren will turn it around. Mclaren is the best team when it comes to developing the car throughout the season

        Will JB win WDC this season ? No

        I have no dislike towards JB. yet his qualifying pace is more of a concern for mclaren. Hence need to turn the slow car into a quickest one in short time (maybe before spain)

        On a sidenote perez drove a soild race and showed better pace than JB through out the stints

      2. Christian H says:

        McLaren had the fastest car for most of the 2012 season, yet Red Bull wins both titles. Red Bull has been the best team at developing a car throughout the season for the past 5 years now. Fact.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Reminiscent of 2004. They introduced an updated B-spec car for the second half of the season which won a race.
        I doubt with RRA in place, they can spend that sort of money to challenge for a championship

      4. Random 79 says:

        RRA? What’s that? Maybe I should ask Red Bull and Ferrari…

      5. Tealeaf says:

        Nope it won’t, even with the fastest car at the first race Button can’t manage a title bid, nor could Hamilton mind but still this year’s written off, only thing they can do now is to be able to win a race or 2.

      6. Alexander says:

        Who cares about JB championships hopes, what we (who support McLaren) want to see is the team back at the front. If this had been the main driving strategy of the team then just maybe we would still of one of the top three drivers on the grid. And I am not counting JB in that three by a long way.

        JB is fanatic with PR and people skills, and I am sure this is an asset to McLaren with their partners. However we need someone who know how to fully exploit any F1 car that they have been provided with and get the best out of it, history would suggest JB can not do this.

        The team is currently in the position where they have apparently allowed themselves to have been lead, buy the self nominated lead driver.

      7. Richard says:

        That I doubt very much! – Remember 2009. I do think there is something wrong at McLaren. – They could learn something from how Red Bull is structured and managed.

      8. chairmanmeow says:

        Not McLaren’s way? How about the mp4-18 and mp4-17d?

      9. Sascha says:

        IMO this is where the matter lies, JB’s championship hopes!
        McLaren knew they need a superior car for JB’s WDC hopes, an evolution of the Mp4-27 would not have been fast enough for him, as he needs a superior car compared to the rest

    2. Kenny Carwash says:

      They probably could switch back to the MP4-27 if they really wanted to, but like James I just can’t see it happening. The only time they’ve done anything close to that was in 2003, when the MP4-18 couldn’t be introduced due to failing crash tests and catching fire in testing. They concurrently developed the MP4-17 while they sorted out, but by the time it was ready they didn’t want to risk upsetting their title challenge by changing cars late in the season.

      It’s not really in McLaren’s culture to give up and go back to an older design. They’ll do everything they can to get the most out of the car and understand where they went wrong, but it might leave Button way out of the title race.

    3. Michael says:

      They is what they are good at. They inflict these problem upon themselves and then they come up with excuses. Bad management is the norm for them just look at what happened last year with all the bad calls they made. So shocking

    4. Random 79 says:

      What I find funny is they went with the radical new car to increase development.

      Suppose the the worst car on the grid is a 1 and the best is a 10.

      That’s like abandoning a 10 for a 3 or 4 so you can spend the year trying to develop it back into a 10…it’s nuts!

      Not only that, but at the end of the year – new car or old – the 2013 car would have been scrapped for the new 2014 car anyway.

      McLaren shot themselves in the foot, and then – just to be sure – they shot their other foot too.

      Having said that, they should come good before the end of the year…but still, what a waste!

    5. Dragster says:

      Hi Quade,
      Are you able to give me a link to those articles. If not, never mind

      Sincerely,
      Dragster

  16. Andrew Nixon says:

    Whilst I agree that Jenson seems to require a very specific set-up to make him happy with the car, I find it all a little unfair to say he is moaning or throwing his toys out of the cot, when clearly the car has issues. if Perez had different feedback to Button then fair enough, but his feedback is the same and the majority of commentary seems to support that the car is the issue and not the driver or drivers..

    1. Michael says:

      They are both two useless drivers so what do you expect in terms of the feedback they give.

    2. Thompson says:

      Mclaren are really going to miss Hamilton. I’m really curious to see if they can turn this car around without his input.

      I had to smile while reading some of the replies, Buttons pledge to the team (…end his career there) almost feels like a reverse psycology.

      hope he comes to grips with the car, looks like hamilton took the sunshine out of Mclarens sky.

  17. John says:

    I am a fun of Mclaren but I’ve lost hope with them. The team is missing something. 2013 is ANOTHER write off! I cant see them doing what Ferrari did last year. You need a Alonso caliber drive for that and Jenson is definitely not!

    They are starting to look like clowns in uniform. Very sad.

    1. Michael says:

      lol! trust me every year since 2000 had always been another write off for them so this year is no surprise that is if we are been honest with ourselves, and they question why Hamilton left the stupid team.

  18. Will says:

    The reason I’m surprised by how bad the Mclaren seems is because when it was launched Gary Anderson talked on the BBC F1 site about how much the car appeared to have been improved from last season. I got the impression he expected it to be the fastest car on the grid from the start of the season.

    I understand it’s just one man’s opinion formed before he’d seen the car on track but it does make me wonder what he saw to make his initial judgement and why he was so far off, given he used to design cars himself and is the BBC’s technical analyst.

    1. Ryan Eckford says:

      You can’t judge a book by its cover! Anderson seems to be learning this quite slowly. No offence to Anderson as I think he does a good job for the BBC, and even the best can misjudge things.

  19. goferet says:

    Meanwhile Mclaren pride themselves in winning 1 in every 4 races.

    Will be interesting to see if this record keeps on track considering it’s pretty hot at the top and also the fact that at least two teams are pretty good on their tyres >>> Ferrari and Lotus

    Surely there must be a wet race somewhere in Mclaren’s future 1 out of 4 Grand Prix

  20. David H says:

    Jenson button had said ” there is nothing that scares me about this car” at the 1st test in jerez now they are saying the car is unpredictable. so which one is it???

    Martin Brundle said that the quick lap in Jerez was a low fuel run to give them confidence. I don’t see how they acn fix the car as it is not just one problem but many problems. the car is inherently flawed and unbalanced. These things cannot just be fixed.

    Even if they go back to the old car, other cars have progressed since them so they will be light years behind anyway.

  21. Smellyden says:

    One thing is for sure I am sure Hamilton is happy seeing the mess Mclaren is in!

    1. Oliver says:

      Mclaren were the ones wasting energy not wishing Hamilton success for this season, when they could have concentrated on designing their car.

  22. tevin says:

    Is this the curse of Sam Michael?
    Has he bought William’s poor form with him?

  23. Scott D says:

    It is surprising how many people are willing to write McLaren off after the first race (or perhaps this is just wishful thinking on their part…) and throw cheap shots at Button for simply stating what is obvious from yesterday’s performance i.e. the car just isn’t good enough at the moment.

  24. Marcelo Leal says:

    Point for Jenson!
    End abruptly Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes, and McLaren hire him again, would be a “radical” (almost impossible some would argue), change.

  25. Harvey says:

    I’m wondering if Martin Whitmarsh could be in trouble. First Lewis, then Paddy Lowe. And who’s decision was it to send out Perez on soft tires instead of intermediates?

  26. Sasa says:

    This is a pretty common situation from Mclaren. One season they have this monster of a car, and the next season they completely lose their mind.

    Examples:
    The Mp4-17D was “too good” so they didnt have to use the Mp4-18 car that season.

    The Mp4-20 was simply the quickest car in that season and should have won them both the championships but for reliability problems, which was really similar to Mclaren last year.

    Then came the Mp4-21, which was pretty much a failure.

    The list goes on, but we all know how capable Mclaren can develop their cars during the season. They will win a race or two, but thats about it.

  27. ashboy says:

    didnt Eddie Jorden discribe the 2009 challenger “the worst car they have built” and that “it will never win” and didnt Lewis get 2or3 wins that year? If any team can start with a dog of a car and make it good Mclaren and Ferria are your boys.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      I’m sure McLaren would have double the points even if Hamilton was their ONLY driver in Australia.

      1. Marcelo Leal says:

        When Hamilton started in the last grid slot last year, he finished the race in 8th, and I think was the worst position he ended a race ever!
        BTW, he finished that race ahead of his teammate…

  28. Aaron says:

    I can see this being a really big problem for McLaren. Hamilton was a driver who could drag a poor car around a track and at least put in a half-decent laptime. Button is a driver who is very quick when the car is setup perfectly, but very slow when it isn’t. I fear Perez may be a similar type of driver to Button, so unless they get that car sorted out and balanced, they could be outside the top 10 for some time to come.

  29. Neshaen says:

    Mclaren are known for their high level in season development of the car so this should only be a minor setback. What they currently lack is a driver of Alonso’s capability (i am not an Alonso fan – but you have to admit that Alonso is the more complete driver when compared to Button). Lets hope that they can sort the problems out before the fifth or sixth race of the season and ensure that the car is in the mix for race wins as a minimum.

  30. Chris Chong says:

    Unfortunately for McLaren, its most vital chassis development instrumentation… currently drives for Mercedes.

  31. Mike from Colombia says:

    Utter disaster for McLaren.

    I still think that Hamilton would have been able to drive around some of these problems and would have been able to wrestle the car to a race victory at some point during the year.

    Two tyre-whisperers is a mistake for McLaren. Both seem to need a perfectly balanced car and will be way off the pace in anything else.

    Even though it is very early days – the selection of Perez also looks like a very foolish move.

  32. clyde says:

    I have reproduced an article below which summarises the current state at Mclaren…..THEY REALLY ARE IN TROUBLE :-)

    McLaren’s impressive pace on the first day of testing in Jerez in February was generated by a mistake when the car was being put together in the factory, Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed .

    A suspension component was fitted incorrectly to the new car – apparently it was simply the wrong way round – and the unexpectedly low ride height that resulted happened to work well at the Spanish track. Button set the pace that day, suggesting that the MP4-28 could be the car to beat.

    However once the mistake was discovered that night, it was rectified, as the car could not be run in that state long term at other venue, especially with heavy fuel loads.

    Since then the team has struggled to get close to that initial performance, leading rivals and other observers to wonder just why the McLaren had been so impressive out of the box.

    On Friday in Australia Jenson Button pinpointed the issue by saying: “We had a set-up we didn’t think we had. It wasn’t one we could work with.”

    A little investigation has revealed that it wasn’t simply a question of a miscalculation of settings, but a part being fitted wrongly.

    “It was a part fitted incorrectly which caused us to run the car unrealistically low, that happened to play to the strengths of the car,” Whitmarsh confirmed when asked . “It wouldn’t work on a bumpy circuit like this. That’s why the car at the moment is too peaky in its performance, and that’s something we’ve got to resolve. It was a set-up which on many tracks was not realistic.”

    Whitmarsh also noted that McLaren’s extreme problems on Friday in Australia were related to trying to run the in a low configuration once again.

  33. Rudy says:

    It is, clearly, a management problem. How come a winner team is lacking season-starting performance year after year, operational flaws, mistakes and the like?
    In top of this, they let HAM fly away, partly related to the above mentioned causes.
    It seems Mr. Whitmarsh should be looking for a job soon.

  34. Andrew Kirk says:

    Come back Lewis all is forgiven!

    Can’t help but feel Mclaren have been abit cocky with this year’s car. Instead of developing and updating what was the fastest car for much of last year and tailoring it to Jenson’s needs now that Lewis has gone they decide to go for broke and design a new car. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and it is easy to mock now but I can’t see Jenson doing an Alonso and dragging that car kicking and screaming to wins.

  35. ReviLO says:

    Is it definitely the car? I find it hard to believe that they have managed to make what appears to be such a duffer. What must all the numbers have been showing during its development? I also recall a period during the 2012 season where one of the drivers at McLaren managed to get quite a lot out of the car, whereas the other driver didn’t. If I were the team principal it would certainly be a thought at the back of my mind. .

  36. azac21 says:

    I never understood how McLaren could abandon last year’s car which was a proven fast one and decide to develop a new chassis with only 2013 to run before an inevidable new chassis for 2014. Add to that the unexpected failure to even secure 2nd place in the constructors championship last year mainly because of a series of reliability issues and you can see that something is systemicaly wrong in the team.

    I hope they can recover the car this year and even replace of the big sponsor that they lost recently. McLaren is a great team and F1 needs it to be strong.

  37. Dean G says:

    Taking nothing away from a a screw-up this is…

    Not having Hamilton there just makes this SO much more glaring…

    Those 5 tenths he was good for sure must look good to them now.

  38. KGBVD says:

    I read elsewhere that McLaren’s Jerez testing form – that magical lap that Button put in on hard tires on the greenest of green tracks – was down to a suspension part being installed back-to-front, causing the car to run much lower than it should have been.

    False hope is a seriously dangerous thing and has set McLaren up for a massive reality check.

  39. Gareth says:

    This has become far too common place for mclaren, I fear the issue now is that the man they need to fix the issues they have just put on gardening leave.

  40. Thabang says:

    Oh Marty, back to the future are we, another shot on your foot.
    Jenson, is this what a car built for you drives like, I shudder.

  41. Dmitry says:

    Now I see why Lewis decided to quit McLaren – he knew what was coming.

    McLaren’s performance have for a long time reminded me a “wave” – they climd up ramping performance then suddenly they have a drop off – and have to start from the basics.

    I can’t agree with McLaren’s position to “have a car we can develop throughout the whole year”… yeah, guys, you threw away all your performance advantage and became a mid-field team… of course you can develop the car the whole year!
    It will be a shock, but if they can revert to last-years car (though I am not sure if it is allowed by the rules\homologations\etc or not) then probably they can challenge the top teams.
    I remember Ferrari last year, but I still don’t believe McLaren can turn this car around… and even if they cam – Button didn’t finish the first race the way Alonso did last year.

    1. Kenny Carwash says:

      I find it surprising so many people are writing off McLaren’s whole season when just 12 months ago Fernando Alonso started with a car every bit as far off the pace and nearly won the Championship with it.

      Alonso did finish fifth in Melbourne, but Lotus and Mercedes were not as fast relatively as they were yesterday. There are a lot of races left to run and I wouldn’t want to bet against McLaren dominating the second half of the season with this car.

    2. Chris G says:

      Didn’t Button win this race last year?
      And didn’t he win the last race before Melbourne?
      I think people love to hate Jenson.
      I don’t think he’s the fastest driver but I still think he’s bloody good.
      And quitting after the first race would appear to be the approach of most of the commentators on this site. Time will tell.

    3. Random 79 says:

      I’m pretty sure Lewis left for other reasons.

      Don’t forget that right up to the latter parts of testing everyone was saying how great the MP4-28 was and how fast it was going to be…and then splat.

      You’re right about Alonso – with a terrible car he won the second race of 2012. I can’t see Jensen (or Sergio for that matter) winning in Malaysia.

      Nevermind…just take a deep breath and enjoy the Red Bull / Ferrari / Lotus fight for now – it should be epic!

    4. Horno says:

      Now people will see the brilliant driver that Alonso is..
      McLaren is now where Ferrari was last year, they turned out to be a championship contender, so why not McLaren?

  42. Grant says:

    Prob does not help the situation that they lost Lewis, if jenson has a poor car he seems to struggle more than others. last year when they had all those front wheel locking problems Lewis was still managing to squeeze more lap time out and jenson was nowhere for a number of races, I’m not yet convinced Perez is in the same league as jenson or Lewis

    Trouble for mclaren is they’ve made so many changes to that car, they might struggle to know where to begin,

    this situation is not too dissimilar to Ferrari last year, possibly worse

  43. Gazz says:

    I am so shocked to see supposed knowledgeable fans demonstrating such a lack of basics of F1. First off a driver cannot help develop a car unless it responds to changes, this car does but not consistently. The car was designed by a tech guru who no longer works for the team??? strange that……. The Brawn could not be developed any further as there was no money to do so and Jenson played a great long game, consistently bring in points to win his WDC. McLaren will develop the present car quickly and they will be back up there. Even if you do not support the team or the drivers who have to driver what is given to them, try to keep your minds open and objective. Its easy to kick them when their down….. Enjoy the best sport on the planet and have some respect for those who participate in it.

  44. Cliff says:

    James, a question if I may.

    Simulators:- McLaren were saying that the car was bottoming out over the weekend. With F1 simulators being so far advanced with their ability to replicate different circuits, is the bottoming out and poor handling something that would be identified? Similarly, would the handling in the simulator replicate the expected downforce levels?

    1. James Allen says:

      Good point – very surprising given how good McLaren sim is

  45. Blade Runner says:

    James, I read somewhere that McLaren had thought in testing that the car was okay because they had apparently fitted part of the front pull rod suspension incorrectly.

    I cant work out how something fitted the wrong way would cause a performance benefit.

    Do you know anything about this story and if true, can you explain what was “wrong” but actually made the car better?

    I can only imagine it is something to do with the rules, doing something outside the rules by mistake could give you a performance benefit?

  46. Alex says:

    Not the best start to the season, I agree totally. However, I wouldn’t look too down beat for too long. Mclaren are known for being the best in the development race over a season. Remember 09′s car? Start of the season it had less downforce than the moon. By the end of the season it was winning races.
    Disappointing start but still 18 races to go and if they totally balls it up there is always the mp4-27 from last year they can fall back on.

  47. VP of Common Sense says:

    McLaren have always been extremely resourceful when it comes to developing a car. The MP4-28 needs a lot of work. Woking usually is up to the task. I don’t think anyone should believe that Mercedes will leave McLaren in their wake this season, even with Hamilton in the W04.

  48. Bring Back Murray says:

    McClaren need to do something and fast or they’ll end up like Williams did at the end of the 90s and slip into mid-table medicoracy. No world class drivers to speak off at present.

    Other new teams coming up and fast – Red Bull already there, Merc and Lotus well on the way.

    Too busy building their lovely road cars it seems and have lost focus on what really matters.

    As a McClaren fan – sort it!!

  49. I know James has said it’s not a “McLaren thing to do” about bringing back the MP4-27 (or an evolution of it). And someone on here has said you can’t run last years car..? Can someone just tell me what they could actually do. Could they re-crash test the MP4-27 and modify it with updates etc to run as well as of instead of the MP4-28. At least that way they’d have one competitive car whilst Perez worked on sorting the MP4-28 out.

  50. grat says:

    McLaren seems very good at developing their way out of a hole (2009, 2011, and even 2012, if you look at the summer slump), but they seem pretty poor at not going into the hole in the first place.

    1. farmerhally says:

      +1

  51. David says:

    I suggest F1 push back round 2 next year by one week. We Then have a 3 day post the first race teething / shake out session at Philip Island. That would give teams with issues one chance right at the start of the season to rectify these and bring a better line up for round 2 and better racing for spectators.

    Thoughts?

    1. Dave Aston says:

      Be worth it to see F1 cars around that great track. But, it would cost heaps to bring it up to safety standards. Eastern Creek?

  52. Simple says:

    Even Adrian Newey designed lemons for McLaren. They’ve always bounced back. Gotta have the hard times to appreciate the good!

    1. That would simply demonstrate that perhaps there is an overall problem with their rules and inside regulations, where now Newey is again flourishing with the freedoms he wants

      Lewis didn’t like the ‘controlled’ aspect at McLaren, so perhaps an overall ethos of micro-control is their problem.

  53. chris green says:

    the teams comments about lack of consitancy point to the diffuser /exhaust ramp?

    i don’t believe mclarens story that a suspension component was fitted back to front at jerez where button set a good time.

    it’s said that mclaren has the most advanced simulator. maybe simulators aren’t as great as everyone claims especially considering the litany of complaints from the drivers.

    its not entirely clear that these issues can be fixed. remember when mercedes went the wrong way with its wheelbase and lotus with the side exit exhaust.

    as for perez – a driver needs to be in the right car at the right time.

    1. James Allen says:

      You are onto something there. Simulator should have avoided the problems with ride and suspension they suffered in AUS

  54. Van says:

    Do McLaren still alternate design teams each season? If so, the current car would be by the same team who did the abysmal 2009 car.

    I seem to remember that they came in for criticism a couple of years back at the time of the Octopus exhaust experimentation, and some people commented on how their strategy of alternating between design teams every other year caused a lack of continuity.

  55. John Marshall says:

    Time will tell, but this is what I suspected would happen out of the gate. McLaren went for revolution over evolution. They were bound to be a bit behind the cars that were evolutions. Now, the question is whether or not the development potential of the car is greater than if they had stuck with evolution. And, if the potential is there, how quickly can they develop and catch up to the other teams (which will also be developing at the same time). I’d say McLaren have set themselves a pretty tall order.

    P.s. I don’t really think JB is whining so much as just telling it like it is. The car is not good enough right now. Sugar coating that will not make it faster…well, maybe it would…not sure that’s been tried before ;-)

    1. Random 79 says:

      No, it wouldn’t. 9 out of 10 scientists agree that sugar is not very aerodynamic.

      1. John Marshall says:

        A glaze might be pretty aerodynamic :-)

      2. Random 79 says:

        Good thinking!

        I’ll have a talk to Bernie and see if we can get that in the 2014 regulations :)

    2. Jake says:

      A new incentive to the engineers to “lick that car into shape”

  56. Kimi4WDC says:

    Canada last year. Watch Button’s interview. McLaren building a car around this guy.

  57. Ron says:

    I thought Jenson said during the launch that its the best car McLaren has ever produced (correct me if Im wrong). But its along those lines. Now he’s eating his own words…

  58. Kimi4WDC says:

    Ron Dennis is really in a wrong position with in the McLaren company.

  59. Irish con says:

    When was the last time mclaren started the season without 1 of the best 4 drivers in the sport ? Jenson is a very very good driver but I think Lewis, kimi, Fernando and seb have just that bit more of a skill set and will end up all time greats.

    But I have no doubts mclaren will sort it out sooner or later like.

  60. Sensei.gt says:

    Bottom line is that they have to stop the rot and fast. Bring back last year’s car and develop the hell out of it. At least it is a known quantity. No one will care that it’s the old car if you’re back to competitiveness. Kimi nearly won the WDC in an “old” McLaren and no one cared that the new car was not ready. If I were Whitmarsh I would swallow my pride and prep the old cars ASAP.

  61. Erik says:

    Yep, most feared Dennis at McLaren (just take a look at the body language of the crew around him even now when he makes the odd race appearance), but boy did he wield a big stick, respect in spades from the crew.

    It’s almost like that team took a holiday when he left. No championship under Whitmarsh yet I think.. Not that he’s a bad manager but he needs to stop smiling for a bit, lol.

  62. Innes Iderh says:

    ***Moderators***

    My last post regarding McLaren’s amazing simulator has disappeared into thin air! It was well-crafted, thoughtful, mildly ironic and conjectural with no hint of abuse or snide remark.

    I notice that historically you’re happy to publish a steady stream of vituperative rubbish by others aimed personally at the likes Sam Michael and Martin Whitmarsh.
    I sincerely hope you don’t encourage and prefer that kind of reply.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sorry. It didn’t make any sense to me.
      As for the other comments, we do our best to mod them out, but the odd ones get through. It’s tough when you have 1,000s of comments in a few days

      1. Innes Iderh says:

        Fair enough. I’ll endeavour to be less obtuse in future!

        Regarding the other comments I guess one just has to tolerate them in a democratic environment.

      2. James Allen says:

        I didn’t say it was obtuse

        I’m sorry I just didn’t get it – it made no sense to me

        You are very welcome here as us anyone who wants intelligent discussion and doesn’t insult others

  63. Parazar says:

    I don’t see Jenson moaning, I see him answering a question he was asked. It’s quite visible that the car is a dog. It looks extremely stiff and twitchy under braking. Hopefully they can work to improve it sooner than later so McLaren can be back in the mix. As far as Hamilton is concerned, people saying that he could have had a much better result with this car in Australia only need to go back to 2009 to see how well he coped with the car before it was fixed. I’ll even provide a link if it’s permitted.

    http://www.formula1.com/results/driver/2009/828.html

  64. Elie says:

    James, I did say Mclaren will struggle the first part of the year – you said “we will see” .My reasons were the new design of the mp4-28 particularly the front pull rod suspension and higher nose would cause similar problems to what Ferrari experienced the first half of last year. Mclaren probably will get it right and most likely will be quick at some point but they will loose 4-7 races before they get close.

    I cannot for the life of me understand Mclarens decision to take that gamble in the last year of these current regulations. Sure they need to find more pace – but last years MP4-27 was getting better and better and probably a slight improvement on that would have seen them win at least the first few races of 2013 if not many more.!

    Like I said even early last year Hamilton needed to leave that team and it certainly was the right decision regardless of where Mercedes end up. Because they can only go forward and at Mclaren – despite the very best engineers and designers they are still going backwards- they are not “gelling” and Martin Whitmarsh seems frustrated. It does not sound right that the whole team just write themselves off after just 1 race. They only need to take a look at what Fernando & Ferrari did last year, but I just don’t see JB with that same fighting ability.. do you ?

  65. McLaren will bounce back – quality teams always do

    One top team usually has to be the loser from any first weekend and it was McLaren’s turn this time.

    1. Dragster says:

      +1, lets hope its a quick time to turn around! Cmon Jenson!!

  66. Dragster says:

    Hi James, I know you commented on Question 7 that bringing out the Mp4-27 was very ‘UnMclaren’. Could you please give me an example. I started following the sport only in 2010 and am not too good on small history such as this. Also, in your opinion what is the chance that it will happen and if it does, will it be effective? Thanks

  67. rob says:

    IF Mclaren were running a football club they would be shot

  68. viviane says:

    iformula1 mclaren were running a footiballclub they would be shot

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