McLaren moves on after Hamilton: Button aiming for world title
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jan 2013   |  12:21 pm GMT  |  158 comments

They may have lost Lewis Hamilton, but McLaren moved forward into the future with a proud and confident message, underlining their 50 years of F1 heritage, as they launched their 2013 challenger today. Jenson Button said he aims to win the world championship and believes the car capable of it.

The new silver McLaren does not have Hamilton’s name on the side for the first time in seven years, instead Jenson Button and Sergio Perez lead the challenge against the Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes team.

The 50th anniversary was acknowledged by a cavalcade of former McLaren race winning cars, including title winners from Hamilton, Senna, Hakkinen and Fittipaldi.

Button has increased pressure on him this year, leading the team with a relatively inexperienced team mate. He knows the stakes are high, that the title race is likely to be close and that he will need to find more consistency in results than he managed last year in order to challenge principally Vettel and Alonso for the title.

“When you have a good possibility to fight for the world championship it’s exciting, It may look like last year’s car, but under the skin it’s completely different,” said Button, who won the last race of 2012 in Brazil. “That’s why it’s so exciting. They’ve changed enough to make a difference. You go into the season aiming to win the world championship and thats’s what we are doing.

“We had some good races and some pretty damn bad races last year. I think the 2013 tyres will work better for my style of driving and for the way this car works.

“I’m the more experienced driver in the team. We have 12 days of testing and I do six and Checo (Perez) does six. We have to learn the car together. The feelings I got from last year and the development direction the car went in are good for my style.”

Sergio Perez looked relaxed, but made it clear that he has been hard at work getting up to speed with the team. He was proud to see his name on the side of the car, quite a moment for the 23 year old Mexican, who is ten years younger than his team mate.

“It’s been a very busy few months, it’s hard to believe I’m part of the McLaren family with a great history,” said Perez, who said he has done 20 days in the McLaren simulator already. “I have never been this excited going into a season.

“Qualifying last year at times was not good, I go back to the issue I’ve had all my career with getting the tyres into their working range. But we have learned a lot from those problems. We have a tyre in 2013 that does help me, it has a wider working range and that helps me.”

Many of the team’s senior engineers were present; Sam Michael, Tim Goss and Neil Oatley prominent on the front row, but Paddy Lowe was notable by his absence. The technical boss has been linked with a move to Mercedes in recent weeks.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirmed that Lowe would remain with the McLaren team in 2013, “Paddy will be part of the team this year, it’s less certain beyond that. We will have some certainty in due course. He felt it was not appropriate to be here, there is a lot of media!”

Lowe’s contract is believed to run to the end of 2013. If he is to leave he will not be part of McLaren’s 2014 planning and will probably be forced to go on gardening leave well ahead of 2014; this will hurt his knowledge of the 2014 technologies.

Whitmarsh acknowledged that the team has disappointed when it comes to winning titles. This year they have been more ambitious than last year, according to Jonathan Neale. Last year reliability was a real problem for the team, with many points lost, particularly for Hamilton.

“We have won 20 world championships, but recently not won enough,” he said. “Last year we started the season with the fastest car and ended with the fastest, along the way we had the fastest car at various points, we won races but didn’t secure the championship.

“This year people are mindful of that. This car is an evolution, the people here have been making sure we have reliability. If you don’t score points you slip behind. Fernando and Ferrari never had the fastest car but they maximised the points and we have worked hard at that for this year.”

Neale said that he believes the development race will be fierce this year, with teams needing to bring 0.15s of performance updates to every race to remain competitive.

Whitmarsh urged Perez to “work hard, learn from Jenson and enjoy it!” Whitmarsh said that the team had “two number ones”, but added that Button has confidence that he can win this year’s world championship. Button described Perez as “talented” and eulogised some of his performances in 2012. He said that he has no doubts that McLaren will bring out the best in the Mexican.

Whitmarsh acknowledged that in the past McLaren has had driver pairings which have had good chemistry, while other relationships have soured. He feels that there is every reason to believe that these two will work together well.

Perhaps surprisingly, there were no new Mexican sponsors visible on the car; Vodafone still has a significant amount of coverage on the car, as does the GSK brand Lucozade.

The car begins testing next week in Jerez, the first of three test sessions ahead of the first race on March 17, an event Button won last year.

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When Button got the set-up/tires working last year, he was very strong. He seems to think these tires will help him in that area. I have every reason to think Button will challenge for the championship. I pick him and Kimi down to the end.


New McLaren looks great and what presentation celebrating their 50th anniversary…. only thinkg that could top it is a reunion of The Spice Girls… oh wait a minute…




Letting lewis go is a big loss and cannot be replaced

I do believe Perez can easily match button’s pace

Not sure how quick mclaren will be this season. However mclaren have always competed well with RB6, RB7 and RB8. So Mclaren might be the ones to watch out along with RBR this season as well.

All the pre season talks are positive from button. Can he deliver WDC this season ? Not possible though

Mark in Australia

Off topic.. But where did McLaren find that hostess?


She works for SKY Sports F1 HD in the UK. Natalie Pinkham. I thought she did a great job, making what could be quite a stuffy and dry presentation more human and lively.

Mark in Australia

I agree a fantastic job. So often events like these are so stuff and blah in general.

Good choice.



Certainly the best looking car without the stepped nose. Kinda strange without Lewis being there.

All the best to McLaren for 2013.

And soon the first race will begin!


Awkward question here, and I hate asking it, but here goes, does anyone think McLaren believe Button can deliver the world championship his year (remember, not your opinion, Mclarens)? And who here believes Mclaren will have the same driver lineup next year?


James, will Mclaren having to pay for their engines have any effect on their budget regarding development?

Or does the RRA apply to other factors?


I don’t know the culture within McLaren, but I would be much more likely to go the extra mile for Button. I like Lewis, but he wouldn’t inspire me as an employee.

Tornillo Amarillo

Button, a number 2 driver in McLaren before, I don’t think he can be world champion again, but he can win a couple of races, because he is a good driver and a lucky guy.

Checo will be difficult sometimes as a partner, he can win also.

Go Checo!


I think Button has a very good shot at the WDC this year. The fact that Perez has the same or similar style can only make life easier for the engineers. I think race pace wise they will both be right up there, my only concern is qualifying. Niether driver seems to excel in that area.


I believe that if JB has a car he likes under him his qualifying issues will disappear as in the early part of 2009. And before anyone talks about double diffusers please remember that he beat his team mate in qualifying in those first races as well.

Val from montreal

Interesting that their ( McLaren ) only mention of Lewis Hamilton was when they rolled in their 2008 championship winning car but never of him during their video when Hunt, Senna, Prost and Hakkinen were talked about …. Whatever Button manages to do with this MP4-28 , the Hamilton fans will be fast to say Lewis “could of done much more” ….. Thats a shame ….


I would imagine that its because Lewis is a current competitor


I feel so sorry for Ron Dennis… McLaren have a terrible driver pairing.

Expect to see the top engineers leave McLaren at the earliest oppotunity.

Button inspires no confidence – infact, he is more of a liability.

I can’t think of anything more positive to say…


Nothing wrong with Jenson, I would have him as my number two driver anyday.

Don’t think he is going to trouble Seb tho’ but should be mixing it up with Lotus and Ferrari.


Hamilton – 190 pts 4 wins 4dnfs

Button – 188 pts 3 wins 2 dnfs


With LH moving, McL will lose that extra couple tenth he gets from those qualifying runs. But, him not there, McL will never know whether that 2 tenths were even there to be extracted from the car…

However, I don’t share your gloom over JB or SP – they both will do a decent job. If McL is a fundamentally fast car, JB will definitely be a contender for the title.


I have to disagree with . . . . mate

Colombia Concalvez

I’ve to agree with you mate


Who knows whether or not the car will be any good? All that will come out later.

It does seem that tire care will be a factor .. a major factor? If so, that could play into one of Jenson’s strengths. If tires and pit stops are more important, one has to hope that Mclaren will be better at those. They’d better get that pit crew in tip-top shape, and also have a team planning ahead on race strategy.

I was dismayed when they signed Perez last year. Still, if car management is a major factor, he too might get better results than I expected.

Will Lewis’ being gone be good for Jenson, or will it make him a bit too relaxed?


James, do you think the pull-rod suspension has been developed in order to encourage the front tyres to warm up quicker and therefore help Jenson in qualifying?


If you look at Ferrari and their weaknesses last season, it was lack of pace in qualifying. They couldn’t switch the tyres on quickly enough.

I’d imagine that pull rod suspension makes no differences to tyre warming


Typo… @

… Fernando “”amd”” Ferrari never had the fastest “”ar”” but they maximised the spoints and we have worked hard at that for this year.”


If anyone had read anything of the Paddy Lowe affair recently they’d know that Wolff was already trying to tease him away to Williams.

I think people are reading too much into everything here.

If Lowe had been at the launch it would have detracted from the event which was about the car and not Lowe’s career opportunities.

Perhaps Button was anxious and excited rather than nervous? I know I would have been if I had the chance to drive a car like that.

Armchair pundits are getting annoying.


Someone might be able to explain/confirm what McLaren has done with its front suspension. The thickest arm, which is probably a pushrod goes from the top of the upright to the top of the nose. I think the steering arm is near horizontal. Being at very different angle to the wishbones, this would create bump steer very easily, although most of the travel is in the tyre not the wishbone. I’m guessing McLaren wanted a lot of open space low down behind the front wings, but it seems to be notably higher centre of gravity solution than what Ferrari did in 2012. The pushrod angle is a bit more favourable than Ferrari’s pullrod, but I’m not sure it is the compromise I’d have picked.

The way it is designed, the toe in would be increased as the car brakes, which is the opposite of the Ackerman geometry effect. My guess is that McLaren is a good chance to be running the hardest springs in the pit lane again.




It’s definitely a pullrod


Maybe Pushrods aren’t so advanced/radical any more. Lamborghini uses pushrod suspension in its V12 Aventador road car. Will we see more teams follow Mclaren and Ferraris lead in future?


It’s not new technology, just reinvented.

Ferrari last year adopted pull road suspension front and rear, whereas in previous seasons it always used push rod.

Red Bull have been running rear pull road suspension since 2009, and other teams copied them in 2010 and 2011.


I have one thing to say: “Pull-rod front suspension”…..


In order to win the championship McLaren will need to improve in qualifying. That’s an area that I think will be impacted a lot by Lewis’ departure. Button has only ever had 1 pole for McLaren and has generally been far behind in Q3. Perez admitted today that he needs to improve in quali

It’s gonna be a struggle…


..especially when you look at the competition

LH, FA, SV, KR….I doubt we are going to see a lot JB poles.


Looks a case of when not if Paddy Lowe will leave the team…


Can Paddy Lowe start work at Mercedes immediately? (if that is what he is going to do) or do they have to wait for a certain amount of time before moving to a competitor?


6 months


thanks. 6 months is long.


Loved seeing the old cars, sorry not to see my mate Lewis not there. I will always follow mclaren , but my heart will be following Lewis again this year. Good luck to Jenson & Sergio for the new season


Red 5 or not adorning the front of his Macca, I’m afraid but Jense is no Nige…neither in driving skills or charisma, only drivers with balls should be allowed to use RED 5 on their cars or the number 27 for that matter!!!


Looks a beautiful car as always, not too different than last year but then all the development is underneath.

Also lets not forget, this is merely a show car and will no doubt be different come Melbourne. Stuff the politics and veiled comments, Lewis is gone, embrace the change and lets go racing!!


Meanwhile, seeing as the Mclaren cars (by some coincidence) were in parallel to Lewis’ age for instance in 2012 Lewis was 27 and we had the MP4-27 so in a way the Mclarens of the past few years seemed like they had a connection with Lewis and thus he was able to extra the maximum out of the machinery (especially in qualifying).

So now, with Perez being 23 and Jenson being 33, I will be curious to see if the MP4-28 will embrace or reject the current Mclaren drivers.


But no McLaren driver has ever won the championship in the third year of a decade. It is simply not possible for either driver to win! 😉

Goferet, you didn’t happen to reside in a survival shelter in the lead up to the end of the Mayan calendar did you? 🙂 JJ


You might as well say “Sergio Perez World Champion 2013” contains 28 characters, therefore, given this year’s car is the MP4-28, Perez will win the WDC.

Also, if you add the number 5 to Perez’s age, you get 28, therefore he will win. Why 5? Well it may or may not be Perez’s favourite number. Whether it is or not is irrelevant in the end, because as you can see, the maths works out.


And it’s no coincidence that the 4 in the MP4 happens to relate EXACTLY to the amount of wheels on the car.

It can’t fail!!


Not always the case with Lewis. Several times last year he ended with a wheel or two missing.. 🙂


What about the steering wheel?

Colombia Concalvez

Spot on mate, i never realized that to be honest!


It will average them out…


Please, no more…my head hurts!


Nice to see others sharing my views. I honestly thought I’d lost my mind, everyone else seems to humour him/ her…


Nice launch, interesting to see they’ve kept the low-ish nose this year, along with the heavily sculpted front to the side pods and that they’ve changed to a Red Bull style coanda exhaust set up.


After the eventual reveal and the new car looking extremely similar to last year (understandable), i’m now more interested in the new, oddly painted, McLaren road car that Jenson drove onto set!!

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