McLaren to take pain and stick with 2013 car
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Mar 2013   |  12:43 pm GMT  |  174 comments

It’s been one of the worst starts to a season for the McLaren team, but there is defiance from within the ranks that sticking with the 2013 design is a better path than reverting to the old car, which won the last two races of 2012.

Speaking in the Sepang paddock this afternoon, Jenson Button said that they would stick with the Plan A and work with the 2013 design. It meant that they would be able to “take more risks” than their rivals because they are chasing results.

“It’s better to stick to the plan and develop and improve what we have,” said Button, who has been in this situation before with BAR and Honda in his earlier career. “That’s always the way forward. At the moment we have a car and we try to make the best of what we have. McLaren is a front running team and they know how to develop cars. We are not where we’d like to be but we know that the curve of improvements will be better than other peoples…or it needs to be at any rate.”

Speaking earlier in the day on a Vodafone news conference, sporting director Sam Michael said that the team has a raft of new parts to experiment with during free practice,
“We have two lines of new parts, one is normal development that would have come anyway, and then we have some experimental stuff to work through on tyre degradation, some of which are back-run test items to help us further understand [the car], “Michael said in a Vodafone news conference.

“We will definitely be doing some specific tests during the weekend at Malaysia, and we have managed to do some work in the last few days.

“Whether that will resolve the problems in terms of our competitiveness I really can’t tell you to be honest because I don’t know yet.”

Featured Video
Sign up for Jenson’s Triathlon today!
Featured News in mclaren
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

I don’t think maclaren has done to bad the problem is everytime Jenson was going to get good points or win the the pit crew would mess up with a wheel or something how many times was jenson and lewis in points or winning and something went wrong what happens to the mechanics or pit crew if they mess up ?


Something definitely wrong with Mclarens tech team over the years or maybe even their structure. Its not a problem that has cropped up only in 2013. Theres a marked inconsistency in the way their cars turn out to be and I have never seen anyone being held responsible and shown the door even once. I dont know whether its Whitmarsh or Neale or Lowe or whoever. But someone has to be held responsible for this fiasco. For a team like theirs with a huge number of resources this is absolutely ridiculous. Since 1998 they have won just one constructors and two drivers championships. I think McLaren spend too much time speaking about themselves and what they stand for and their heritage and stuff like that. Unfortunately for them they have very little to show for all the talk that they do. I guess its time that they realise that.


They took some risk to develop the new car, even to learn something for use it with next year car. . . . I think that is wrong moment to try.

Next year, with new design or something such as front suspension, even you learn and know the new sus very well, that not guarantee them to be the front runner car for next year.

Change car design when the rule is stable and the last car is already fast, they should try some new idea when the rule is changing, or when their car is not fast enough.

Ferrari design the new car for 2012 because 2011 car is not fast, if the car is fast they can continue using it for this year as we seen. They have 2 year to try new idea.

for McLaren, they got very fast car but make new one for use it for 1 year, . . . quite strange. if Mc use last year car as a base to develop, they should got the car that if not fastest, but should be at least among front runner.

This year, if Mc use last year car, they have very big chance to fight for World Champion, . . . Next Year, no one know, but this year they throw away their chance.

The worst is that they got the problem with their car, and they let Paddy Lowe do the gardening, . . sick without the doctor to get them the medicine. If Lowe is there, he might solve the problem.


No excuses anymore fed up of hearing them


At the same time of its life, is this car worse than the 2012 Ferrari?


McLaren have a people problem – the car problem is just a side effect…

Until heads roll at McLaren, they will only be applying band aid solutions and providing verbal misdirections…


Who should they get rid of and with whom would you replace them?

McLaren isn’t some sort of Premiership football club, where the manager is sacked for a couple of poor results. Stability and continuity are the key. Most drivers will not take a win in their entire F1 career – last season McLaren ‘only’ won 7 races and somehow this is perceived as a shocking underperformance.

Calm heads everyone, please 🙂


+1. There simply isn’t a huge number of top people with F1 expertise to tap, and many of them have worked or are working at McLaren already.


Ha Ha..what this shows me is that all the comments by teams and pundits about all the cars in pre season is completely and utterly rubbish. Just words for the sake of words. media generating media. Self perpetuation and nonsense.

Sorry..but it is.


this issue goes to show designing fast f1 cars still has elements of a ‘black art.’

for example both mac and ferrari use the toyota wind tunnel. ferrari claims it is getting good correlation between the tunnel and the track,

but mac isn’t. go figure.

mclaren is said to have the most advanced simulator but is trailing teams with an inferior


there have been 2 significant changes this year.

1. pedro de la rosa is no longer test driver.

2. the tyres are very different this year. the sidewall and shoulder look much different this year.


McLaren need to stop having alternate design teams for each year. They often have a lack of consistency at the start of a year like this.


I have no doubt Mclaren will sort their car but am trying to understand why they took such a radical route. I think by the time they sort the car its all going to be a little to late and another missed opportunity. They are clearly going to have to invest a huge amount of time and effort to put it right and this will no doubt be to the detriment of next years car. For a team with so much history and heritage the route they have taken this season is puzzling.


hey guys just wondering,should we take Mclaren explanation for their 1st day test speed at face value….how can you mount a wrong piece on one of these cars…these are precision machine with each piece custom made,you cant just mistakenly fit the right for the left so too speak.

Mclaren are fierce and notorious with their Pr nchine and propaganda,they are keenly aware that Button who seems to be Martins pet project is vunerable on setup issues ,like we saw last yr…Lewis was taking pole and wining races while Button couldnt get out of this might be a bit of smoke and mirrors,,,,,,and why did they leak that info..and the timming was in time to distract and soften their struggles


Buttons assertion that he needs rain to help his chances means he’s well and truly out of luck now since F1 seems to have decided that it can’t run in the wet any more. Is it only me who’s noticed that any time rain falls they halt a race or cancel a session? I used to see an Indy or Nascar race stopped because of rain and think ‘hah that wouldn’t happen in F1’ but sadly it’s now the same.

Minor tangential rant there!


Please stop knee jerking about this situation. James and others who know much more that the vast majority of us have already stated with confidence that (1) The car has a fundamental flaw and is not contributed to the present drivers, and (2) McLaren will find a fix. Try to read what facts are available, read them again, wait for 10 minutes to clear your heads of all the disrespectful remarks and then post….


I recall an article by Adam Cooper that had postured (and apparently confirmed) that the blazing times that McLaren set at Jerez testing was due to an accidental incorrectly fit suspension arm that lowered the ride height of the car unrealistically. This resulted in a setup that worked quite well with the Jerez track, but would not be adaptable to many other tracks on the calendar.

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 by this blog. “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.


As a long term JB fan I am used to being patient. It looks as though this year will be another exercise keeping calm and carrying on. Like Homer Wells, we shall have to wait and see.


I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest that McLaren will win more races than Mercedes this year!

Like last year’s Ferrari, I suspect the issue is not that the car is inherently slow, but that it’s extremely difficult to get performance out of it. All the technical analysis suggests that the car has great potential and McLaren are mighty at developing cars, so I expect the team to finish the year strongly.


Returning to Australia for the final time it was striking how the established No. 1 driver in the main teams finished ahead of their teammate. Existing partnerships saw Raikkonen, Alonso and Vettel prevail against their teammates while Hamilton and Button, surely holding the No.1 mantles within their teams, also finished ahead of their partners.


Sometimes I sit here and laugh out loud at the way some reduce what is the most technically complex sport there is, into tiny sweeping statements that purport to be solutions. As DC frequently points out, all F1 cars are prototypes. This years Mclaren is at a different point in it’s development to every other car in the field and is bound to look slow and unsorted in comparison. By their own admission, Mclaren got no set up work done in winter testing, so it should be no great surprise to anyone that they are some way off the pace. We all know that they will get on top of this car sooner or later, by a process of putting mileage on it and development, and when they do, they may just be the team to beat. For what it’s worth, I have a suspicion that they will win in Malaysia this weekend.


For what it’s worth, I have a suspicion that they will win in Malaysia this weekend.

Really ??????

The Sixth Driver

Mclaren [mod] make so much noise about them being such high and mighty on technical terms, about them being so much smarter than others and blah blah blah, yet all they have to show for that is 1 championship in the last 13 years.

Something is seriously wrong with their upper management.They have no idea how to retain their big talent i.e. Newey,Raikkonen,Hamilton,Lowe.
Seems all they want is to make sure their employees ‘Bleed Mclaren’.

I do not understand their comment about taking more risks beacause they are chasing results.
What else is everyone in the paddock doing?
Does taking risk win the WC?

Mclaren seems to be more interested in finding new excuses to mess up rather than design cars.


I just don’t think mclaren needed to take that big of a risk this year with the massive rule change coming up. And everyone was saying mclaren is going to be the best this year. And everyone is saying the merc engine will be the best next year. I said to both lets wait and see when they are on track.


Question: How can you tell that the picture illustrating the article shows the 2013 Mclaren?

Answer: The blue flags


James Allen..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.


“Are their reserve drivers frantically experimenting with different configurations on the simulator and…”

Trouble is, as I understand it, the simulator thinks this is a good car.


Can someone tie a rabbit foot around Sam Michael’s neck ? That guy is jinxed .


Indeed, look at all the pit stop muck ups that occurred during races immediately after he arrived. I wonder what Sam thinks of it all?? 🙂


And NOW look at McLaren’s pit stops. Best in the paddock. Why? Because those failures were tests of new gear, such as the front jack, that didn’t always work. But when they finally DID get them developed, they have been nearly untouchable in pit lane (Ferrari are close as always). It is thought that a 2.0 stop is actually a possibility.

And I take that and look at the current car…and think – if only they develop the current car they way they developed their pitstops last year…


Yes, because all you need to breed success when you’re part of a high ranking high perfomance multi-million dollar team in the top level of motorsport is a dead bunny appendage 🙂


true enough it seems



He went from a dying magazine to a top F1 team. I say that him and a horseshoe are one!


Sam Michael brought us the 2.31 sec pitstop. Maybe Williams wasn’t the best environment for him.


Am I understanding correctly that Sam Michael is sort of taking over the technical leadership of the team now that Paddy Lowe is going to Mercedes?

He didn’t do a very good job at Williams… so good luck to the Woking team if that is the case. Sam is obviously a very skilled and dedicated guy, but perhaps not the best person to be in charge.


Tim Goss is the one replacing Lowe, although apparently not with quite the same title.


Nope. I think he is being groomed as a replacement for Martin Whitmarsh (when he retires) – the same way McLaren groomed Whitmarsh when Ron Dennis was at the helm. In one of the interviews last year when Whitmarsh was asked about Sam, he did indicate on this.

I’m sure one of the reason why Paddy left could be that he was sure that he may not get Whitmarsh’s position, when he retires.


No, Sam Michael is Sporting Director, he’s not involved in the car design. He is in charge of the racing, strategy, dealing with the rules etc


It’s probably best I’m kept a long, safe distance away from McLaren team principle Martin Whitmarsh because I’m in do doubt we are both currently residing in the same dark place. Put us two together for anything over 15 minutes and there’s a real good chance we would forge a suicide pact.

Instead of manning-up to another weekend of exciting unpredictability saturated in gambling opportunities I’m fighting the urge to pen my own punting obituary in the wake of Jensen Button’s woeful Australian showing.

“Revolution and not evolution is the way McLaren have gone this season” said one pundit prior to the lights out in Melbourne. As history tells us revolutions are all too often stamped out like betting slips, in this instance with the name Jenson Button etched upon them, all too often end up lining the bottom of a birdcage.

To your mind James Allen can u recall atime that Mclaren has started the season with a race winning ‘Revolutionary’ car shall we say in the last decade??

Top Tags