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More detail on McLaren's new found pace
More detail on McLaren's new found pace
Posted By:   |  19 Mar 2009   |  10:35 am GMT  |  27 comments

Yesterday I posted on Heikki Kovalainen’s quick lap at Jerez, as McLaren pile on new aerodynamic parts in an attempt to claw back lost ground on the opposition.

Kova did a 1m 18.202 lap on a single quali lap simulation. He’d tried a two lap run shortly before which was in the high 1m 18s.

This compares with Jenson Button on Tuesday in the Brawn, who did a 1m 17.844 lap, again on a single flying lap simulation. So on that basis the McLaren was 4/10ths slower than the Brawn in outright pace. If that is a true reading, it means that they have found about 6/10ths this week with the new parts.

However, when you look at the long run times, the picture is not so encouraging for them. In comparable runs, albeit on different days, Button does a 10 lap run on Tuesday with laps mainly in the high 1m 18s and a couple of high 1m 19s.

Meanwhile yesterday Kova did only one long run, a 12 lapper, which was mainly in the low 1m 20s. So on that basis, McLaren is still some way behind on the long runs.

Today they are with Williams again and I think tomorrow they have the place to themselves. Some secrets will be coming out of the box, no doubt stuff they don’t want others to see before Melbourne. Look out for their press release this evening with details of the times, but will they tell the full story?

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Norbert Haug –

[i]”After our test results, we must get used to the fact that in Melbourne we will be in the last third of the starting order,”

“Clearly we have to improve our technical package,”

“This process needs time and it could be the start of the European season (before McLaren is competitive), perhaps even longer.”

Whitmarsh –

[i]“We go into the start of the 2009 season fully aware that we do not yet have the technical package that will allow our drivers to fight at the front. In Formula One, there is nowhere to hide: that’s what makes our sport so demanding and yet so endlessly fascinating. And as a team that goes Grand Prix racing with the expectation of winning races and challenging for world championships, we therefore go to Melbourne with realistic expectations.”[/i]


The news today is that FIA might go back from the new points rules and leave the scoring system the same as last year!
So no more winner takes it all.
The many people who opposed the new rule will be happy now to watch again races when after the second pit-stop the driver in second place will sit back and save his tyres instead of fighting for the lead.


The picture is really unclear. Everybody talks about McLaren improving,but if you look at it,yesterday Kova against the only competitor on track(Williams) was half a second behind on qualifying simulation. This kind of gap last year would make you struggle to enter the top 10 for Q3 qualifying session.


James James James … A few keystrokes to take you to McLaren’s website and you would have seen that they are not testing today.How can we rely on your other observations if you persist in getting these things wrong. I really want you to succeed but …….


Mclaren still finished on par with Brawn on raw pace and for the first time Kovalainen could do stints easily on the 18’s, as per thef1.com data.

Kazuki and Heiki ran very similar programs and for most of it the Mclaren was faster. They seem to be heading upwards.


The Williams record time is not really highlighted in the media today,despite being considerably quicker than Brawn´s time.


JA writes: Williams’ time today was very impressive, they have been mostly focussed on reliability but they’ve shown flashes of pace at times too. The car generates a lot of downforce and their diffuser is very clever. many other teams have copies running n their wind tunnels as we speak.

Jerez was quick today, the track well rubbered in.


It´s a pity James couldnt analyse the lap times of today´s tests.
Maybe tomorrow he will enlighten us more on this apparently incredible lap time from the Williams.


Yes, McLaren are getting quicker, but so are everyone else…even the teams who are not testing. Naka was faster than Heikki, that tells you something.


What is the final table of times for today?
Nakajima and Kova´s best times?
James can you make a final post for today including this data and McLaren´s press conference`?


Are Williams the dark horse? They seem to have had very little media coverage / hype yet the times set by Rosberg and now Nakajima seem to be mighty impressive?


What does everyone think of the testing summary on the autosport website – I’m more confused than ever!! I have to say I think JA’s analysis is correct – it seems to me autosport has run some contradictory arguments – but I suppose that’s the nature of testing… too many known unknowns (to quote mr rumsfeld).


It seems McLaren and Williams are in the second pack of 4 teams (along with Red Bull and Renault), but still behind the leading quadruplet of BrAWN, Ferrari, BMW and Toyota.


If Naka can dot 1:17 mids, I dont wanna think what can Rosberg do with the Williams.


The lack of pace on the longer stint would seem to be due to the car not being friendly to the tyres due to the already referred to rear end aero balance problems. Obviously this is not an issue over a single lap as the car must be getting heat into the tyres quickly (prehaps too quickly !)

If VMM are srtuggling it could not have happened at a worst time. The lack of testing, and now of course the “winner takes all” system of deciding who is champion. Prior to this announcement Lewis would have taken some comfort that even in a poor Mclaren, he would have at the least scored some decent points in the early races to keep him in shouting distance as the car was developed…..Not an option now !!

What chance that we see the team throw away a mediocre race result in the erly races and turn it into an extra test session…after all what good will a 5th or 6th place be in the new world order ??


3 words sum up mclaren’s current state – sh*t, creek and paddle.


Nakajima in the Williams is testing today too.

Do you know who is staying on for tomorrow?


I hope I’m wrong – because I like to have multiple teams/drivers fighting for titles – but I think Macca really are struggling and that they will be out of the pack at least until Europe … and maybe for the whole season.

Either that or Martin Whitmarsh has got balls of steel and is sandbagging on the scale of a desert load of sand.


Actually James they don’t really have the place to themselves.

Nakajima is testing there for Williams.

And he’s just set a 1:17.494!!



As I’m sure you know you’ve got be very careful in comparing times set on different days – this week it has been very gusty and overall wind speed has been constantly varying. Some reports put runs in the mornings as several tenths quicker than similar runs in the afternoon.

There is no visible component update, bar a new lower rear wing, that would give them 0.6s overnight. Granted, they may have discovered something in their setup, but seeing as they have been testing for such a long time already I think it is unlikely.

They aren’t as far behind as all the drama lovers/Hamilton haters would like to thing, but I don’t anyone could argue they are on the same pace as Ferrari/BMW/Toyota/Renault/Williams (let alone Brawn, obviously)…


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