McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says that some tough decisions have been taken following the team’s poor performance in winter testing and the result, he believes, is a one second per lap improvement in the car.
Two of the key areas are the floor and the exhausts, where a simpler solution has been employed.
Speaking in a Vodafone phone-in with leading F1 websites, he said, “I was not satisfied with where the car was from a reliability or performance point of view. We have made some dramatic changes to the car. There is some risk, but we hope that it pays off and the car is more competitive.
“The changes are aimed at making the car over a second quicker than it was in the tests.”
The team found that some of the solutions on the car which had the potential to make the car very fast, were not delivering and were causing reliability problems. These have been changed.
One of the major areas of innovation this year is in the exhausts blowing on various aerodynamic areas; this is becoming something of an arms race in itself. McLaren had what Whitmarsh described as a “very extreme” solution on its car and it has now been changed back to something “simpler”.
Although he did not mention it today, hydraulics have been another area that McLaren has had reliability problems with. This is something that has also affected Force India, who buy their drivetrain and rear end from McLaren.
Whitmarsh admitted that the enforced lay off caused by the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix had been good for McLaren, buying it some time to radically change the car, “It could be very crucial, but we’ll be able to answer that in the next few days. We’ve been able to significantly change the car.
If the car is reliable and quick then this will have been crucial.
” I think the car fundamentally isn’t a bad car, we need to unlock the exhaust blowing potential and we had some very creative ideas, some of which could have worked spectacularly well but in order to do that they had to be durable and raceable and frankly some of our solutions weren’t. That’s why we had to go back and in doing so we found some interesting performance.”