F1 Winter Break
Button: McLaren’s current form is “embarrassing”
McLaren Honda
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 May 2013   |  3:38 pm GMT  |  104 comments

Britain’s Jenson Button has described McLaren’s current form as “embarrassing” following the Spanish Grand Prix where he finished eighth, one place ahead of team mate Sergio Perez.

McLaren, who won the final race of last season with what was considered to be the fastest car on the grid, made major changes to their machine for 2013, while their rivals took an evolutionary approach.

As a result, they have dropped down the grid and currently lie sixth in the constructors’ championship, 102 points behind leaders Red Bull while Button is best placed in the drivers’ standings 64 behind leader Sebastian Vettel.

The team brought a number of updates to Spain but the team still struggled with Perez qualifying ninth and Button 14th. Overall, the team were 0.3 seconds slower in qualifying than in 2012. That compares to Mercedes who were 2.1 seconds quicker while Lotus and Ferrari were generally 1.2 seconds faster.

In the race, the team actually achieved the same finishes as last year. In 2012, Lewis Hamilton finished eighth, ahead of Button. In 2013, Button headed Perez in the same positions.

Interestingly, Button finished 79 seconds down on the leader at the chequered flag in 2013, compared to Hamilton finishing 78 seconds adrift in 2012. Perez finished 81 seconds behind in ninth, compared to Button who finished 85 seconds adrift in the same position the previous year.

Button’s fastest race lap was 1.7 seconds slower than the fastest, set by Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez, and 1.3 seconds off the best set by race winner Alonso. Perez, who did a four-stop strategy, had a best race lap which was seven tenths quicker than Button who did just three stops.

Button said: “It was a bit embarrassing for us because we are not doing a good enough job. We’ve got so much support from the fans. We are doing everything we can to get to the front.

“The formation lap was very slow for some reason but the leader can dictate the pace. It really hurt us in terms of tyre temperatures so the start of the race was tough.

“I got a bad start and dropped back to 17th. I was in a whole world of pain as I couldn’t get any tyre temperature. Once we moved to the harder of the two compounds, the car felt much better.”

McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael says the team’s problems are partly down to data from the windtunnel not correlating with data from the car on track. It is a problem similar to that which affected Ferrari last year and contributed to their disappointing start to the season.

“You have all these simulation tools and you are constantly trying to close the loop between them and trackside,” said Michael. “I guess with what McLaren have done this year, we took some big changes over the winter and some of those areas in those tools have shown weaknesses because they haven’t predicted thing properly.

“If you look at where our pace has been in the last couple of races, we’ve been about six tenths off in terms of race pace. If you were six tenths off in the 90s, you’d still come second or third.

“Now you come 10th so the game has changed. It tells you that the tools are better than they used to be but small errors will result in much bigger changes on track.”

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Meh, just get last years car out, seriously. Spend a couple of races developing it and then move on to next year.

I like JB but he is not the man I'd want driving a difficult car. Looks like Perez is similar to JB in abilities too so McLaren need to just forget this dog of a car, bring the old one out and crack on with next year.


Easier said than done. Last years car is not tuned for this years tyres. Most of the performance now is about keeping those tyres in the correct operating temperature. If you bring out last years car it could now be far far worse.


Hamilton would certainly wring out a few extra places on the grid compared Button/Perez but the team would still be off the pace.....and last year's McLaren is probably slower or equally slow as other teams continue to upgrade and improve their performance.


Nah, last years car is clearly quicker - James states above that McLaren qualified 0.3 seconds slower than last year and they would have put at least another second in the car over the course of last season. Definitely they wouldn't be the fastest with last years car but they'd be faster than they are now and at least have a platform they can develop a little bit. On current form it'd probably secure them 4th in the constructors championship which is a damn site better than what they're going to get if they stick with this dog!


How is rosberg showing ham how to drive this merc, 4 _1 to lewis in the season so far, in spain lewis struggled more than rosberg, but what happened in bahrain exactly what happend to lewis happened to rosberg, puts things into perspective, the merc is just useless with these tyres


Lewis doesnt really show he's better than Nico yet in a difficult to drive Mercedes...


Exactly Nico is showing Hamilton up now and what makes him think Hamilton can get extra out of a car? Come to think of it the only team mate Hamilton has beaten cleanly and clearly was Kovalainen, a driver that can't even get a drive in F1, give it up if current form continues Hamilton will be like Schumi and out of F1.


Clearly a rubbish start, but I believe they will turn it around. James in some of the UK papers it was said that they had a new front wing shipped in but could not use as they could not get it scrutinised and approved and did not want to risk a retrospective ban, but I have heard nothing from you or the BBC - do you know anything about this?




Sam Michael stated during the interview that this was true.

The wing arrived on Saturday morning. This, I believe, is after the period that the FIA does/allows checks on various components. Stuff like stiffness, elasticity, dimensions, etc.

They could've run the wing on Saturday and Sunday without FIA approval. However, in the event that anything was not within regulations, both cars would've been excluded from race results which would have been a much bigger blow from a points and reputation standpoint. So they took the safe way out by not running them.


Well, i've said this before and will say it again. Since 2001 McLaren have been very very patchy and inconsistent with their cars. Since 2001 they have produced only the MP4-20,22,23 and MP4-27 cars which have actually been fast enough to set the pace. That makes it just four cars since 2001 and for a team like McLaren thats appalling to say the least. In spite of such technical inconsistency not a single head has rolled in the teams technical dept for ages. Its high time some tough decisions are taken. Such inconsistency only points towards deep routed problems which crop up again and again because the root cause is never solved. I love McLaren, but over the years I feel the team has been running more like a multinational corporation than a race team. Wake up McLaren. You cannot keep disappointing your fans year after year. We have had too much PR talk. Now lets have some occasion to celebrate.


2001- Oh the FIA banned beryllium pistons and so our engine is not powerful enough;not to mention our wind tunnel co-relation problems. 2002- Oh its our first twin keel car. Its too sensitive to pitching.2003- Well we are waiting and waiting and waiting for the MP4-18A. 2004- We have got the MP4-19 but you know what its really just a 18A warmed over. And please dont mention our engine woes. But hey we have a 18B coming up. 2005- We have a car thats the class of the field. But we will mess up our engines and hence lose the championships. 2006- Well we dont really know whats wrong. But hey we did get a couple of poles. 2007- We had a fantastic car. But we couldnt manage our drivers. 2008- Well we got one awesome driver out. And the other one won the championship. So thats fine. 2009- Hey we concentrated too hard on 2008 and hence we have got a dud of a car this year. 2010- Well we tried to improve the 2009 car. Come on we did win a few races. 2011- We have another car which we dont really understand but hey we won a few races and we exist to win right? 2012- Well we have started off really well and we ended really well. Mid season slump? Well we dont really know why.....2013....the saga continues. As Ron said at the beginning of 2004-"I wouldnt call our performance dismal, because its not even as good as that" Its about time that someone woke up and smelt the coffee at McLaren. You have fans who stay awake in the wee hours of the night to watch you win. How long can you disappoint them for?

John in San Diego

@ Gautam. Very well put with a touch of whimsy. Just to add that in the second 1/2 of 2004, they did bring out the MP4-19B, which did win one race with Kimi and would probably have won another if the rear wing hadn't detached. I think that car evolved into the race-winning but unreliable 2005 car, the MP4-20, but happy to be corrected.


Ultimately, though, it's not the fans that pay the bills. It's the sponsors. Sorry to be cynical, but it's true.

Andrew Barratt

But the sponsors don't do it out of the kindness of their collective hearts, it's to present their brand to the fans on a winning team. When the fans start to move away the sponsors will follow them to the next winning team


Multinational corporation? Thats mild, I'd say civil service.

McLaren need to regain fire in the belly. Its sad for us fans to keep wishing, season in, season out.


I know, I wonder why people are so shocked. This isn't even the first time in 4 years they've built a terrible car.


To be fair, if you look back through McLaren's history they've never been right at the front consistently for more than a few years at a time. The only team that's ever done that is Ferrari in the Schumacher era so people have short memories.

McLaren have made potentially title winning cars in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 & 2012 so they're not THAT bad.. And before people start arguing I'll say what I've said a ton of times before... Had one of the McLaren drivers dominated their team mate as Seb has done to Webber or Alonso to Massa then they had the car to nail every one of the championships I mention above.


Yes I agree with you there apart from maybe 2010, I don't think their car was strong enough throughout the whole year its because everyone else kept tripping over themselves and mechanical failures that made Mclaren look strong in 2010. Rest of the years I agree and it just shows how overrated Hamilton is really losing to a sloowww Button and it seems Nico has settled down as well he was probably unerved by Hamilton's reputation and couldn't repeat his winter testing form in the first 3 quali sessions but when he hooks a lap up like Bahrain and Spain quali then Hamilton is clearly slower and many more weekends like this will hurt Hamilton's career he needs to strike back at Monaco and Montreal straight away,tracks where Nico are weak on and Hamilton's strong tracks. As for Mclaren they need to hire Vettel or Kimi.


The Mclaren situation in comparison to the Ferrari woes from last season is rather odd.

You see last season, Ferrari's correlation problems arose from their in-house wind tunnel and so they used the Toyota one to rectify this whereas Mclaren's problems begun when they used the Toyota wind tunnel in winter after abandoning their own.

Anyway, just like Malaysia, I thought the Mclaren looked better in the race for they showed some good mid field pace, I guess like Ferrari, the qualifying pace is the big issue here.

Also the fact that the Mclaren upgrades for Barcelona didn't work as expected is mainly an embarrassment for the drivers for this shows their input for development isn't too good.

Thinking about this some more, Mclaren's problems are a blessing in disguise for imagine a scenario where Mclaren had a competitive car and where going head to head with the likes of Kimi, Alonso and Vettel = total humiliation.


Among one of the many things I used to admire about Schumi is no matter how bad things got, never would he say a bad word about his team.

He's the only driver, that I know of who used to do this.

Andrew Barratt

Excellent point; so what you are inferring is that Alonso's input last year kept their backroom team working in the right direction to get the maximum out of a poor car whereas at McL this year they are floundering with a pair of drivers who cannot do this - one being a rookie to the team so probably deserves a little slack and the other who has long had a reputation (rightly or wrongly) of having a weakness with regards set up.


The drivers have very little if any input to the development of new parts.


That isn't so. Just this weekend, the Merc engineers were full of praise for Lewis as a inspiration to the team. The same has been said of Kimi and Alonso on other occassions.

The drivers make suggestions, test the engineers work, and then use the weaponry on track. All of that is development work, the best drivers are talented in that area, while some other drivers are mere spectators who only wish for luck.


Yes, I was wondering about the same thing.

How is it that that Ferrari and Mclaren were using the same wind tunnel and got so different results?

Is the problem therefore not with aerodynamics but rather on the mechanical side, suspension geometry or something.


I find it absolutely hilarious.

After all, this is Mclaren, they would never be as slow to develop a car as those eye talians, would they?

I find it astonishing to be honest that once again they lose direction. Is this the infamous Sam Michael curse raising its head again?

I want Mclaren taking points off Vettel.

Anyway, what is it with people suggesting this is because of Paddy Lowe being on gardening leave? Does anyone really believe that he is the only engineer to have worked on this car? Does anybody believe that the car hadn't been completed by the time he was placed on gardening leave, which was just after launch?


The way a lot of technical departments work is that designers and engineers try to hold unto nuggets only they can decode. Technical folk without this knack tend not to get promoted or have their views respected. So, it is absolutely possible that Paddy Lowe has knowledge that can unlock its potential; especially if the drivers cannot "feel" what the real problem is.


I believe the problem is more likely to be with drivers being unable to set up the car. they are missing Lewis and should have replaced him with another talented driver like Kimi or Hulkenburg. Its useful to have at least one driver with the technical feel for car setup.


Ha true! You have to pray that we ain't the only ones reading though. 🙂


Like Hulkenberg or di Resta...

On a slightly less contentious note, it seems we've managed to single-handedly push the comments on this thread over the hundred mark. *high fives*


Lol @ counter-points. I provided solid quotes from F1 personalities and was "countered" with passion.

Yes, Lewis learnt a setup trick or two from Alonso; Jenson too must have learnt something at least from Lewis driving data and setup skills last year. Whether its enough is the question

However, given the fact that he got very lost and confused with setup in the past (there is nothing to say that is not the case now), the most sensible thing to would have been to either pair Perez with a more talented driver, or to pair Jenson with someone more skilled at car setup.


*sigh* Your point has not been ignored it has been refuted with all the counter-points outlined in my previous posts.

If we follow your logic, you’re actually saying that McLaren don’t have any problems on the set-up front this year at all – due to Jenson having been in the presence of Lewis (having, as he had, lessons in set-up from the highly skilled and experienced Alonso) for three whole seasons.

So there’s no need this year for them to try to poach any other drivers with proven set-up skills. Like Hulkenberg or di Resta…


Its ok to have passion, but its not right to defend against quotes with passion only.

My point that McLaren is missing driver setup skills has been avoided.

Lewis wasn't properly replaced with a driver of similar setup talent, so McLaren is suffering. I've further suggested that he should have been replaced in one of the following ways with drivers that were available at the time:

Kimi – Perez

Hulkenburg – Perez

Di Resta – Perez

Kimi – Jenson

Hulkenburg – Jenson

Di Resta – Jenson

One of the above would have created a balance in which one driver at least would have had a great feel for the issues (not be lost, confused or be a near rookie).

Good as Lewis is, if in his first year he'd been dumped at McLaren with a Takumah Sato, he would have floundered. He was paired with the highly skilled and experienced Alonso from whom he got a grounding in setup skills and McLaren did not suffer a setup skills gap. Either Perez or Jenson should have been paired with a driver with proven setup skills.


Quade, I think it was the upgrades that came on stream from Hockenheim onwards that saved the season for McLaren – the engineers were able to gain a deeper understanding of the issues the car had (logically, it could be argued, earlier because the differing set-ups of the races prior to the upgrades being developed meant that more routes of enquiry were covered than if both sets of engineers stuck close to the ‘standard’ set-up Lewis’s side of the garage) and brought performance to the car for the second half of the season.

The new McLaren central engineering island has been in the garage since 2010, which was why they gave Phil Prew that promotion I mentioned earlier at the start of that season – in order to oversee the engineering teams on both sides of the garage from the central island.

I can’t help but feel you are being a bit disingenuous with your links and quotes – I doubt any new employer, who has forked out millions of pounds to secure the services of their new Star, is going to do anything other than eulogise emphatically about their new charge. Similarly, Lewis would be a fool not to bother to integrate himself in to his team as early as possible. It doesn’t really add any weight to the initial argument.

Or maybe it does. But, if that is the case, you will have to accept that McLaren engineers shared exactly the same sentiment about Jenson when he first joined their team.

The point I guess I’m trying to make (and why I mentioned the last race in Spain) is you can’t have it both ways – either your man is a set-up genius and never gets it wrong, or he is human, is only one part of a very large team of engineers that all influence the set-up of the car, and it’s not always going to be perfect. If you accept that, then you have to give the same courtesy to other drivers.

It’s great that we fans have this forum to debate our sport, and it’s also great that people have their favourite team/driver. I get that people have strong opinions on drivers they don’t like, or don’t feel deserving of the opportunities afforded them, however, it shouldn’t stop us from being objective about things. Your prerogative though…

‘If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and, unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.‘ Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)


Steve Mc, no matter how it is spun, Lewis setup saved the year for McLaren last season. If it was so common place to share data, Jenson would have had Lewis data (and saved himself) much earlier, but he didn't.

The new McLaren island in the middle of the garage did not exist last season as well.

As for Lewis last race, that was just one race. How about the others?

Lewis situation at Merc is not going to be of any help to McLaren aside being reckoned as a massive loss that McLaren should have replaced with similar talent. Aside the news from Merc engineers that Lewis is an inspiration (as repeatedly mentioned by Eddie Jordan last weekend), here's a quote from one of the Merc bosses; not Ross Brawn this time, but Toto Wolff:

"Lewis not only has an immense driving talent, but a great technical understanding.

“He also has the right feel for the staff and how to motivate them. After the first two days of testing, he knew all 50 team members at the track by name."



Quade, thanks for the link and quotes - once you sift through the tabloid-style of the writing, what they're actually describing is the sort of post race debrief that goes on in every team after every race - especially after a race like Canada '12 where the two cars behaved so differently to each other (I suspect this process has been going on fervently at Brackley this last couple of days...).

I seem to remember Lewis having access to Jenson's data after qualifying in Spa to see how the two set-ups compared to each other.

Even I had access to Jenson's data after qualifying at Spa :0).

Engineers poring over and comparing both cars' data is not an extraordinary occurrence by any stretch of the imagination - it's for this very reason that McLaren set up the engineering station in the centre of the garage (ie, to better enable the flow of information and data between the two sides).




The ideal pairing to balance out lack of setup knoledge at McLaren should have been on of these:

Kimi - Perez

Hulkenburg - Perez

Di Resta - Perez

Kimi - Jenson

Hulkenburg - Jenson

Di Resta - Jenson

@Steve Mc

Here are two quotes.

"It was very interesting. When I went to the factory last week I saw all the top engineers together on one table.

"They had all of my data out, lap by lap, noting all the things I did differently to Jenson to try to understand things. So he has absolutely every detail of what I'm doing differently. So I'm sure we'll see a difference this weekend."

Lewis Hamilton

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/22/jenson-button-lewis-hamilton-european-grand-prix" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/22/jenson-button-lewis-hamilton-european-grand-prix

"Hopefully we've gained a lot of information that will help us both be competitive this weekend. I was baffled but I understand it a lot more now."

- Jenson Button

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/22/jenson-button-lewis-hamilton-european-grand-prix" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/22/jenson-button-lewis-hamilton-european-grand-prix


'His telemetry and engineers were shipped over to help Jenson'. Eh? Didn't see that in the papers, Quade.

Are you sure you're not getting confused with the situation at the beginning of 2010 when Phil Prew was awarded a promotion to Principal Race Engineer (ultimately responsible for both cars) after being Lewis's Race Engineer previously, whilst Jacob Andreasen was promoted from being Prew's Assistant Race Engineer (or Performance/Data Engineer in some other teams' parlance) to become Jenson's Race Engineer?

Heaven forbid that anyone in F1 engineering might want to progress their career...

Anyway, numerous interviews with both the drivers and technical personnel over their time together at McLaren have stated that JB and Lewis's set-ups were generally very similar; the discrepancy in 2012 occurred because Jenson and his engineers were trying more outlandish ways of solving the tyre issues than Lewis's side of the garage (see Canada as a prime example), therefore diverging from the 'optimal set-up route' more than them.

So when he said, around Valencia-time I seem to recall, something along the lines of 'I'm going to use Lewis's set-up as a starting point' his side of the garage had essentially come to the conclusion that experimental set-ups weren't the way to go, and decided to revert back to convention, which Lewis's side hadn't really erred from during that period.

And I don't think you can claim that Lewis is some sort of go-to man for set-up when his car was both slower and more tyre-hungry than his team mate's this weekend...


@Dave Deacon

Lol! Do you remember Jenson having to copy Lewis setup? That wasn't all, Jenson all copied Lewis driving style, because his telemetry (his braking points, how hard he braked, throttle use etc) and engineers were shipped over to help Jenson. It was in every paper and news outlet, so you couldn't have missed it. I guess that answers your question; Lewis did setup at McLaren.

Your other point of Lewis ability to drive around problems is the hallmark of all talented drivers. They possess an uncanny knack for feeling the cars issues and knowing the remedies. Schumacher was like that, Alonso is like that, and so is Lewis; all F1 gems.

A driver that cannot drive around a cars issues lacks technical abilities.

McLaren should have replaced Lewis with another talented driver that can set up a car, instead we have Perez (who is a near rookie) and Jenson who lacks in the setup department.

Like I said, Lewis should have been replaced with another talent, like Kimi or Hulkenburg. Both those guys would have been able to set up the car. A team needs that, or it would get lost.


Ha... Ha ha ha...


That makes no sense atall given that McLaren preferred NOT to use LH for development or setup since he tended to drive around some issues whereas JB would highlight them due to his better feel for the car; hence his needing the car to be more driveable: see Brazil 2012. LH is brutish with a car - he likes to welly it into shape. They, thus, do not miss LH for the cars' development or setup. And in terms of setup, LH could only assist in a setup which suited him... Jeez he did not know what the telemetry he revealed revealed after Spa 2012... You might note too that LH, now at Mercedes, is blaming his bad setup for his dire performance in Spain...

Where is this setup myth from? 2012 when JB and his engineer got lost in setup trying to solve the unfathomable tyres. They went to the LH's plus engineer setup as a starting point then developed that for JB, but JB actually had to change his style of driving to solve the tyre issue of that time - just as FA had to.


I'm definitely missing something, about McLaren's development choices AND the 2014 rules.

I thought (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that under the new rules, cars will have significantly lower noses in 2014. At the end of the 2012 season, the fastest car on the grid had a low nose -- and all the ancillary equipment this involves, i.e. push-rod front suspension.

So, given that the direction this car was following will really be the only way forward from 2014 onwards, why on God's green earth did the team fielding this car choose to go the high-nose route for 2013, thus developing something with even less carry-over for the following season??

Clearly I'm missing something.

Andrew Barratt

Is it something to do with their split team of developers where team A who made this years car will go on to make the car for the year after next. Therefore the team who made the '12 car with the low nose will make the '14 car. It's a strange system they operate where they seem to lose all they've developed over the year until that team make the next car


Well if this is the case, good luck to them. Somehow I doubt they worked this way when Newey was still around...


Sam Michael. Look up his accomplishments and the teams he has been with. And where they are today. Hint: Either out of the sport or doing very badly since his tenure.

I never understood why McLaren, of all teams, hired that man.


I'm just glad Ferrari didn't..


It has to be said, Mclaren should be commended for one thing and that is getting their pit stops woes from last season in order.

Man, seeing the Mclaren lads trip over themselves time after time was painful.

But as usual, under Whitmarsh's reign, as soon as the team solves one problem, another two crop up.


"Mclaren should be commended for one thing and that is getting their pit stops woes from last season in order"

I disagree. You should not be commended for sorting out a problem that should never have existed in the first place; Not for a team of Mclaren's caliber - Plus it took them more than 6 races to do it.

Andrew Barratt

Reminds me of when something went wrong in work when one of my team messed up; my boss told me we all get the team we deserve and I copped it. I thought it harsh at the time but in hind sight he was right.


'You have all these simulation tools and you are constantly trying to close the loop between them and trackside'

Bring back in-season testing?


McLaren need a root and branch change in personnel. From managers to drivers.

Thats the only way the glory days can come back. It is quite evident that things are totally wrong in the team.

They might also need to either dump Mclaren Automotive and concentrate 100% on F1, or (hate to say this), pull out of F1 and concentrate on their road car.


What? lol

Seriously, they've built two bad cars since 2007 and that means they should sack it all off?? Ha ha ha why can't the majority of F1 fans ever view anything objectively?


Yep, quitting is the answer to everything.


I think Mercedes are in a more embarrassing situation than McLaren.

Dropping places in the race or moving up, what's better?

But anyway, I think all Mercedes engined cars get what they deserve for having a superior engine to the other teams.


Dropping places is better.

It means Merc have found the speed, McLaren have not. All Merc have to do is maintain that speed. Much easier than having to find it.


Kimi said any top 4 team can get pole position the way they set up the car, but it would hugely disadvantage them in the race, falling back fast.

Now, what do you see at Mercedes?

They go for glory on Saturday, grab headlines (because that's all they have) then in the race, byebye, because no matter what they do with the setup, race pace is poor. So why not go for glory on Saturday and at least get that to please the bosses?

Looking at the history of McLaren and Mercedes, McLaren is the better team in everything. Especially developing the car, which happens to be the weakest point of Mercedes (even as Brawn GP and Honda).


Kimi said any top 4 team can get pole position the way they set up the car....

Oh well, if Kimi said it (about a competitor) then it must be true. I mean it's not even up for debate, not now, not once the Oracle has spoken!


I don't know where you are getting this go for glory stuff. Mercedes specifically said that they spent all their last practice sessions setting the car up for race tune and where just as surprised as everyone else that they were so far ahead in qualifying. Just gives you an idea of how much faster they could have been in they did in fact try a glory run.


Disagree. Mercedes had problems last year and the year before. In fact this season nobody was expecting too much from them. So if they don´t deliver nobody will be all that surprised. And you have to add their own management problems. I don´t think many people are happy with Lauda running the show.

Mike from Colombia

Imagine if Hamilton had made those remarks....there would be calls for his retirement and a public apology.


I'm a McLaren Fan and I take no offence at all! his exact words have been quoted Button said: “It was a bit embarrassing for us because we are not doing a good enough job". The statement is qualified when he says "We've got so much support from the fans. We are doing everything we can to get to the front". As a fan, the second sentence is more important. I suspect we'd be cheering Kimi if he had made the same statement.


Spot on.

It's not as if everyone else at McLaren is saying that all is rosy - they're also admitting there's work to do.

There is a lot of Lewis love on this discussion which seems to be clouding objectivity somewhat... :o)


yeah like Hamilton tweeting sensitive data for everyone to see and his fans defending him for doing that.


Yep, just the Button haters jumping on the bandwaggon to have a snipe.


True, its a very shocking thing for a driver to say.

Its the worst way possible to rally the troops.


I couldn´t agree more!

Danny Almonte

Even with ddrs at Brawn, Button struggled to win his title with the fastest car. There seems to be a law of diminishing returns where Button is concerned. A good car slowly loses pace with his input.

Mike Davidson

Have you forgot Jensons win in Canada a couple of years ago, one of the finest drives ever in history of Grand Prix racing.


Whats that got to do with car development.

Wasn't that the 5 hour marathon of a wet Grand Prix, a race that he collided and removed both Hamilton and Alonso. These days he would have got penalty for either.


Erm no. Not by a long shot Achived with strategy and tyres. A good win, but don't over egg it.


Danny: 2009 is not a fair gauge of driver input - as always there are multiple factors at play. In this case Brawn did not have the resources to make a strong development push during the season. The teams that did, were able to add the DDD and make massive gains. That was always going to close the gap.


+1! I always get excited when someone on an F1 site gives an objective view. So rare!


So, so true.




I've read in the past that McLaren have two alternating design teams. They are not a team that lends itself to evolving their car over multiple years. Part of this I think is to improve efficiency amongst the individual design teams (solely focused on their cars rather than splitting time between current car and next year's).

However, there seems to be a lack of translation and communication between these two design teams. One year the car will be very competitive, the next the other design team takes it in a totally different direction. It seems to be a very stupid organizational structure if you judge it by results. On the face of it, it might make some sense but in practice it loses McLaren valuable championship points (aka money) every year.

Unfortunately, it looks like Mercedes are seemingly following McLaren's model by hiring on so much technical talent. There are so many cooks that they may feel the need to have two kitchens...


What's all this talk about drivers and cars? Let's get back to talking about tyres, tyres, tyres, that is what real F1 and real racing is about.


Sad for F1 that such a great iconic name are so far off the pace. I rally hope James Allison is heading to Woking and not adding to the huge pool of Chief Engineers at Ferrari.


He is definitely not going to McLaren.

It's either Ferrari or Red Bull, with the smart money on Ferrari



What about Allison been a family man and not going to Ferrari, do you remember?


I didn't say he wouldn't go, but made that observation to note that it would be a wrench for him. Which it will if he goes

Mike from Colombia

Joe Saward is absolutely adamant that Allison is not going to Ferrari.

Says that his sources have confirmed no. I'm sure that JA's sources are better though !

Saward seems very confident that Allison is going to Mercedes to join Lowe.


If Allison goes to Ferrari would that mean Pat Fry leaving Maranello?


What position would he be taking at Ferrari. I know he worked there in 2000 to 2004 so effectively under Byrne, but would he become technical director of the squad? Pat Fry is tech dir of chassis only, or is this Ferrari naming practice?


Its interesting to read some of JA report in regards to the race result last year and this year. For me that demonstrates that even the God like Hamilton could do no better last year, and get beaten by Button this year. McLaren have produced probably the worst car in a decade and some are stupid enough to blame the drivers, little formula 1 knowledge. The Brawn comparison is also a silly one for 2009 as everyone knows that the team finished the season with pretty much the same car as they started with. Honda had pulled their backing and the team had no financial backing to develop the car further. The other teams caught up withing 4 or 5 races and overtook Brawn on performance. So please, before people call for the sacking of the drivers, have a look at the car that the team have given them to drive.


Ehhhhhh HAmilton qualified on pole and got put to the back as the team messed up the fuelling. So Hamilton came from the back to get that result last year

Colombia Concalvez



McLaren are having a similar year to Ferrari`s last year. The only difference being Ferrari had a Fernando who can drive around a car's problems. McLaren without Lewis don't have a driver that can do that anymore!


I'm a JB fan and British, so it's really hard for me to see that Mclaren's decision appears to have been a gamble that's not paying off. Still there's time for them to come on strong. It seemed a strange decision before the season because we know JB loved that 2012 car and that Mclaren need a new title sponsor for 2014. I would have gone for a strong first half of the season. JB is great at piling on the points over a season. Hind sight is great aint it?


Looks as though this year is getting close to being a write off.

How long till they focus on 2014? Soon I hope.


The comparisons to 2012 are a way off as Hamilton started from the back last year after his penalty.

Also comparing Hamilton's qualifying 2012 to Button's 2013 as if they would achieve the same time doesn't add as Hamilton was usually over half a sec quicker.


They were both 17th around the first few laps. Same difference.


Same difference if Hamilton's pace last year was 17th on the grid but it obviously wasn't as he qualified on pole.

Tornillo Amarillo

James, about McLaren it is not commented if there were team orders in Barcelona. The only thing or fight we were waiting in the whole race was when Checo was in Button's tail, and what happened then? Can you clarify?


I feel for JB, the McLaren car so far has finally given some fans an excuse to have their pop at him, and I honestly don't know why people do it. He's a great guy with a great heart and he's a British Formula 1 Champion. Because he's not spectacular in his approach he's looked down on, but Damon never was (he was my childhood hero btw), very disturbing is you ask me.


James ... is Sam Michael really a good candidate for the job ?

He tenure at Williams was pretty mediocre as well .


Embarrassing ? Yes. But probably best for Jenson not to have made this remark as some of his Qualy performances have been rather embarrassing.

Something is not right at McLaren. However this is not just a 2013 thing. It goes back way before the Whitmarsh era started.


Clearly an awful car. I just can't understand why they made so many changes as last year's car was still so good. To then claim a team as well resourced as mclaren can't get it's data right is mystifying. Given that the team have gone backwards over the last few years and couldn't win the championship when they had the fastest car, quite how is Martin whitmarsh still in a job?


Time to get rid of the old wood..MW, JB and SM. What have they brought to McLaren? Even Head & Shoulders has ditched and gone for Hart 🙂


Interesting that McLaren's correlation issues have suddenly popped up as they've decided to revamp the car. I recall Ferrari having correlation issues when they tried to be "aggressive" with the design.

I suspect other teams haven't had similar issues as they've gone for evolutionary designs.

Clearly the predictive models they use are very empirical, which means it works well around the areas where you have a lot of data from the track but are poor once you have to extrapolate away from those data-rich areas. It might be worth looking at trying to develop or look at fundamentally stronger issues.

I'm no expert but that should really help with correlation issues in the future.


Dont worry, Slim has put his money at McLaren, Claro (america movil) will be replacing vodafone...


James, what have you heard about this? in Latam its well known...


Very very embarassing. Paddy Lowe left?


Still think they actually need to stick with this Cat and sort out the Problems. Going back to Last Year's Car may find them Pace in the Short Term, but they risk the Same Problem with the Development of Next Year's Car.

Sorting out the Correlation Issue is a Must, otherwise they'll be writing off next season as well.

I'm surprise no Conspiracy Theorist have yet put forward the idea that this is intentional so that they could write-off this Season and concentrate on the 2014 Car. a Head Start withRule Changes could see you at the Front of the Pack for a couple of Seasons!


It was in papers the other day that Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh have daggers plunged into each others back. And the board of directors at Mclaren, and Mumtalakat group are extremely unhappy with Ron Dennis and want him out of Mclaren.

With engine changes for next year, Mercedes having their own works team and a company grappling with internal politics, Mclaren may well go the Williams way unless they make some dramatic changes.


It's amazing how distracting that kind of thing can be when you are trying to do well in a competition against tough opposition.

When you have a happy team with no problems you can focus 100% of your effort on trying to win.

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