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Button: “I’ve never been so pleased to get out of a car” after Canadian GP
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Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jun 2013   |  6:24 pm GMT  |  233 comments

McLaren’s Jenson Button said he has “never been so pleased to get out of a car” after he finished a lowly 12th in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, once place behind his team-mate Sergio Perez.

The result ended McLaren’s impressive 64-race streak in the points and highlighted their current plight. The team are sixth in the constructors’ championship, 164 points behind leaders Red Bull while neither Button or Perez has come close to scoring a podium.

Button, the 2009 world champion, tried a one-stop strategy in Montreal, while his team-mate Sergio Perez did two stops, however both drivers struggled and finished just three seconds apart.

There were long faces among the McLaren management – team principal Martin Whitmarsh, managing director Jonathan Neale and sporting director Sam Michael – at the airport last night.

The car does have underlying pace, though. In the race, the McLaren was 0.5 seconds faster than Toro Rosso and lapping around the same pace as Force India.

However, while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne achieved sixth and Force’s Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil seventh and 10th respectively, McLaren failed to score and Button never ran higher than 10th.

Button said: “It was just one of those difficult days that you have. The team told me a lap time to follow so that we could be sure of keeping the tyres alive long enough to stay on a one-stop schedule, but it turned out that they lasted a lot better than we thought and that I could have been going a lot quicker.”

Whitmarsh admitted the team had made mistakes. “We got it wrong. With Jenson, we should have started on the prime tyre. We really stayed out on the option too long, stayed in traffic and lost a lot of time.

“In the case of Jenson, we set him lap time targets which were too slow – and he could have gone much faster. He could have pushed into the points. It was one weekend where we didn’t get it right. We were not quick enough to be at the front but we should have been able to get in the points.”

Button, 33, added: “It was quite painful out there. We got lapped, easily lapped. It was like we were in a different category.”

But the Briton remained positive ahead of his home race at Silverstone on 28-30 June. He said: “I’m still looking forward to my home grand prix. Are we going to be quicker there? Yes. We’re not going to be on the podium I don’t think, but getting into high points has got to be our aim.”

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I've seen this many times before in Nascar. A team looking for new ways to go faster completely loses it's way and turns in horrible performances. Once they go "back to the basics", they start running better. I think this is exactly what has happened to McLaren. They have "out though" themselves on this year's car. They were the only team to go with a major revision from last year's car. I think the worst thing they could do is continue to try to develop this car at the expense of scrapping it and "going back to basics" for 2014. At some point, you also have to look hard at the job Martin Whitmarsh is doing for this team. Maybe we are already past that point.


Button has lead every team he has been with into the doldrums, some of which took the teams years to recover - others never did.

Just Look at his trail of distruction:

williams (2000)

Benneton (2001)

Renault (2002)

BAR (-2005)

Honda (2008)

Brawn (2009)

Could Jenson be on the verge of bring down the once great McLaren??

watch this space!!


Spurious point, but well taken nonetheless.

NASCAR runs homologated formula (the cars are all the SAME!). If a team get's off, it's setup, and correctable. Quite different in this world.

Never ceases to tickle me how NASCAR promulgates the idea there are different cars, and the fans eat it like sacrament. (That, the painted on headlights, and several other things)

I longed every day since 1966 ( my first year of real fandom, which led to participation then ownership) for Motorsport to become widely popular in the states, and I got my wish... So, boys and girls, be careful what you wish for...


Sorry but time for Whitmarsh to go...Time to get Ross Brawn in at the MTC.


Wait a minute -- aren't we hearing calls for Brawn's head as well -- even to the extent of saying that the tire test "scandal (?)" -- Leigh Dippy's words -- is evidenct that his shuld roll???


You could be right on this year's revisions. But, it could turn out that the change in the front suspension will pay off next year when McLaren has had a year to work out the kinks. That doesn't help with the disappointment that this year has been so far, and it may not even come to pass. But, there might be a payoff next year (or even later this year, although it will be too late).

As for Whitmarsh...that's a tough call. I guess the real question would be: is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? Is there someone that could take over and do a better job? Ultimately, that's McLaren's call. They know the ins and outs of what's going on a lot more than we do.


We have to accept Whitmarsh is here to stay, even though its obvious that there are managerial problems. It is really hard to understand how the team with the fastest 2012 car simply threw it out of the window to roll dice for 2013. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

Its the same poor decision making that cost them both the WDC and constructors last season.

Flying Scotsman

I think the maxim at McLaren this season is 'if it aint broke,fix it until it is.'


I said after the second race that they should bring back the 2012 car and run this years with one of the drivers.

The 2012 car would of been even faster in the early races as it had the rest of 2012s development from when it last raced at those tracks.

They have effectively 2 teams to prep the cars and I'm sure there would of been enough part bins to satisfy the 2012 car for half a season. The MTC could of kept developing the 2013 car as is and brought it to both drivers later in the season.

Its too late now, but I think it would of been a smart move if McLaren stretched themselves to run both cars (it has been done in the past I think) and would of had a known basis to extract the maximum from the tires and pass that onto the 2013 car.


The only time I really remember Mclaren racing a car and developing a new one was 2003. They raced the MP4/17D, an updated 2002 spec chassis and carried on development of the MP4/18.

The following year they ran the MP4/19 whilst developing the B spec car.

The fundamental reason why this was possible, was that unlimited testing was avaiable back then


Got to agree, I can't fathom why McLaren keep dropping the ball when they are on thd edge of winning consistently however there are a few common denominators...

It seems to be the McLaren philosophy to over complicate everything. The simplest engineering solutions are usually the best!

Roger Blackwell

"If it aint broke don't fix it"

That's just a glib remark maybe, but that attitude is antithesis of F1. Just a few of the more recent innovations that fly in the face of that idea include exhaust-blown diffusers, double diffusers, double DRS and Coanda exhausts. I'm sure you could go on.

The rules of F1 are (or should be) all about encouraging innovation & the application of cutting edge racing technology with just enough regulation to keep a lid on costs and to keep the racing tight.

McLaren got it wrong this year, that much is obvious. But getting it wrong is always a very real possibility for any of the top teams who push the design envelope each year as a matter of course. Adrian Newey is extremely good at fixing what isn't broken on his cars. RBR's recent run of success is a testament to that.

What is interesting about McLaren's situation is that such a well-credentialed, well-resourced team has managed to get it SO FAR wrong. It points to some serious issues with their design & decision-making processes.

Ferrari got it wrong initially last year but managed to recover well enough to almost get Alonso over the line. Their 'story' was a dodgy wind tunnel. Whether that was the whole truth or not is debateable but there is no doubt that their competitiveness did improve once they solved their problem.

Which is the worrying thing for me - McLaren don't seem to have a 'story' at all at the moment. "We're working on it" just doesn't cut it, I'm afraid. Maybe the real story will come out later on

P.S. Cliff - In business (including F1), EVERYTHING is a management issue.


I assumed that Mclaren's design was to give them a headstart for next year when everyone else will have to start from scratch. Don't look too promising though


I take your point, but I'm yet to meet or hear of anyone that can predict component failure during a race. Finding a solution to JB's poor form in 2012 was a management issue and solution was found in the end. To state "In business EVERYTHING is a management issue" is simply stating the obvious.


Adrian Newey like the guys at the other top teams simply "fixed" more of what was already "fixed." Of the top teams, McLaren alone, took an uphill turn. Why? The mechanics can't be blamed for that, its got to be management.

2014 will bring a whole new World of change to F1, so why disrupt your 2013 when enough disruption will come in 2014? That is a huge management failing; they'got it "SO FAR wrong" because someone has consistently taken the wrong decisions... Now who might that be?

If the weights McLaren is lifting cause them to slack in the development of the 2014 car, then we might be seeing another Williams in the making. That would be too painful.


I'd have put reliability as the main reason for McLaren failing to win the WDC last year, not poor decision making. If parts that have previously served you well fail, it's a bit harsh then to blame the management. You also have to feed in JB's poor form for 6 races.


If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

Quite so. I put it down to hubris. But it's even more difficult for me to understand how they can give Jenson a lap time. This is not Le Mans. And when it became obvious that the tyres were lasting well, why didn't they change it ?

Surely in F1 you go as fast as you reasonably can and see what happens. You can always stop again if you need to. The whole story beggars belief.


And yet Ferrari dont give Alonso target lap times. Interesting.


It's pretty standard these days for drivers to be given a time to drive to, it's part of the strategy they use. And in F1 2013-style you certainly don't drive as fast as possible and see what happens - did you not watch the Monaco GP? A whole field of cars driving to given lap times to make the tyres last.


too many chefs in the kitchen?

from the story james did earlier in the year it sounded like there's about 50 people telling the guys on the pit wall what the strategies were.

as for whitmarsh i havent followed his career enough to know for sure but i think its a bit premature to be serving up heads on a plate.


NASCAR teams aren't sidled all season with a lemon of a car that is slow from the outset - McLaren has bread a bad car. Although I agree with you from a team management/operations perspective - it may be time for Mr Whitmarsh.


Agreed. This is the point (well, past the point) where the team leaders (including the drivers, crew chiefs, lead mechanics) need to sit down and say "We're smarter than this" and write out the fundamental things that they KNOW. Baseline those items and don't try to creatively finesse things in the next race; just go out nose to the grindstone and drive it.


I found it amuzing, that Hamilton lapped the two McLarens after he pitted for his second time..

McLaren will be knowing by now, that they lost a lot, with Hamilton leaving..


Given the poor car that McLaren is fielding at the moment, letting go of Hamilton was BRILLIANT luck. At best Hamilton could probably only get them two tenths of a second per lap better than Checo and JB. So...even with Hamilton they are still badly lapped. Why pay Hamilton's salary when the basic car is so deficient that it wouldn't really matter who is driving it? Especially since Checo is reasonably quick and brings sponsorship?


Think Martin appreciates your logic, sounds like something he's been thinking. Such thinking is what has mclaren exploring entry into the realm of Caterham/Marussia.


A full second? Development of the car? Would that be before or after he pulled into the wrong box? Before or after he was out-raced by Jenson while at Mclaren? Before or after he nearly removed himself and his team-mate during a race or two? Before or after he watched button challenge Vettel for champion from the sidelines?

There are no points for quali.


Reasonably - the word associated with Sauber, definitely not with McLaren.


Two tenths only? Sometimes it was nearly a full second.



Thanks for putting things in proper perspective.

Everyone knows that with a team/car reliabilty Lewis would have won last years WDC. His 190 points to Jensons 188 simply point out McLarens 2012 issues (which seem to have spilt over into 2013).


Robert, I agree with your first point, but the last sentence doesn't really make sense. Hamilton lost at least 100 points due to reliability issues and bad team management.

The final standings were in no way showing the huge difference between LH and JB in 2012.


Look at their qualifying times over the past few years. Barring the 5 races that JB just could not get any balance in the 2012 car due to set-up issues, the usual gap in qualifying between them was a few tenths at best. Their common starting position was on the same row or one behind the other.

You probably still deny that Lewis finished last year on 190 points and JB on 188 too... 😉


As for JB, how quickly these guys forget some of the cars they've driven in the past.....

Ps, I don't think McLaren lost too much in the development department with Hamilton's departure.


I read Eddie irvine book years ago but one thing that stood out was when Schumacher tested the updates he never knew the difference because he drove round the problem but Eddie admitted he wasn't the same level and noticed the updates straightaway


I think you're wrong here. IMO its the other way around, its highligthing Hamilton's development skills. Last year in Canada JB, after finishing 16th in a winning car, had to admit that HE himself took the team down the wrong development path. Lewis knows how to develop a car, he helped develop the 2009 dog into a race winning car at the end of the season. McLaren is lost because non of their drivers can develop, and its clear to me that Hamilton is good at it, he has also helped develop the Merc...


If the driver doesnt tell the team what the cr is doing, or not doing, the engineer has no idea what the car needs. In a good car the team develops the car to be faster. But when the team starts with a un-competitive car the driver has to tell the team what the car's vices are.


Umm, if you praise Hamilton for developing the 2009 car out of a dog you have to also accept that he helped develop both that car into a dog - the 2013 car was also built with hamiltons input.

Drivers are not developers - they haven't been for many years. Hamilton is quick and aggressive - he has always relied on his team more for set up and race information. Remember all those times he was on the radio asking when he needed to come in and berating mclaren for screwing up his races? Hamilton himself has said he doesn't develop cars he adapts to them and drives fast.

Probably the last driver to have a major influence on development was Schumacher and that didn't work at Mercedes because of the lack of testing mileage.

The simulator drivers have more influence on set up than the race drivers now.


Dream on!

Drivers part in the development of a car is marginal. Those highly educated engineers are there just for the fun?

The lack of performance is probably due to them switching from a push-rod to pull-rod layout with its front suspension and not finding a way yet to make it work.


Remembering last season is important in considering this point. Jensen, much as now, was LOST until he admitted it and copied Hamilton's settings and got to business making them work. Now there is no corrective influence, and I'm left wondering if Lewis would truly be as bad as Jensen and Perez have been. No doubt a poor progression from last year for the car,

And just WHO is the mclaren to sort out whit marsh? Does uncle Ron still hold some reins... If not, who.

Whit marsh has done a truly lamentable job, though I appreciate Ron's 12c, I own one.


Development. Given that none of the top drivers are likely to consider McLaren in the medium term, they are switching engines which could mean a couple of years of pain, McLaren should be courting Webber. He can develop a car, and he is not far off the top drivers. A good baseline to work from.


Steve, your are confusing set up with aerodynamic development. The former is part of the race engineering to optimise what the design engineers give them.

In the case of 2009, McLaren got the front wing design wrong. This had a negative effect on the air flow around the car meaning the rear floor and diffuser did not work well. As drivers Hamilton and Kovalainen were saying the car had no rear grip (true). The load sensors would have said as much too. To suggest Hamilton came up with the revised front wing design for the German GP is delusional.

Drivers play a role in ensuring a car has quality downforce rather than just sheer quantity as they feel things in the dynamics of a corner that are hard simulate in a wind tunnel. If a car is losing downforce mid corner if it crosses a bump, roll reaches a certain level or crosses a speed threshold then the driver can explain whether it is important to solve or if it can be managed.

With Mercedes, the team revised the floor for enhanced exhaust blowing for the first Barcelona test. The car became fast at that point. This was a design activity, not a race engineering one. The car has been at that speed since. It is not down to Hamilton, Rosberg or Schumacher or Brawn or Costa. It is the lower level aerodynamicists at Brackley finally getting it right. Costa apparently had a lot of input into the FRIC suspension, which seems to help the Mercedes in the wet.

Drivers can occasionally bring good ideas from other teams, but normally the engineers have worked all that out at macro level and just have to work out how to apply that to their car.

In Hamilton's case it has been argued that he is better at driving around problems rather than solving them. Which is good and bad as some problems are better being lived with for greater overall performance. Hamilton also has a tendency to favour qualifying performance over race performance and has on a number of occasions made the wrong selection on wing levels such as Monza 2010 and Australian and Belgium in 2012. If he isn't getting that right, is it really likely that he's some set up and design genius.

Hamilton is a great driver - the best I can recall seeing in wheel-to-wheel driving and passing intincts - but I completely disagree with your post.


JB said that he took HIS SET-UP down the wrong path, not the whole car. Each driver uses their own set-ups, in fact F1 drivers that have driven other's cars make comments like "I don't know how he can get that around the track like that". JB needed more tire temps because he was so smooth, to get that they ended up where he just destroyed them too quickly and lost all grip. Hamilton's side of the garage did NOT do that. Unfortunately, MCL introduced a number of updates at the same time, and when JB and his engineers realised they needed to go more neutral to stop shredding the tyres, all the updates meant the original settings were worthless. So they copied Hamiliton's as a reset to account for the new upgrades, and went from there. Which allowed him to fly for the last part of the year, and catch Hamilton in the points. From what I can gather, JB is considered one of the more intelligent drivers on the grid when it comes to cars and set-up, possibly because he does need it so perfect for his style.


I think it's less them losing Hamilton, as Hamilton thinking "damn, I sure dodged that bullet!"


Yup. Lewis was probably looking for alternative employment from the moment Sam Michael came along.



(funny how many people hated on Hamilton for leaving McLaren or otherwise predicted his doom w/ Merc this season, and how quiet they've become...)


Totally. I thought it was a bad move, but then again I thought Button was committing career suicide going to McLaren, and wondered what Kimi was thinking going to Lotus... I'm starting to realize that maybe these drivers actually know what they're doing... 😉


I bet Hamilton was laughing as he did so!


I'm sure he was. lol


Hamilton was an integral part of McLaren also of helping to set-up and develop the car into the season, perhaps James can do an analysis piece to quantify the loss of Hammy and Lowe.


You have to be careful just how much credit you give to any driver regards development skills.

Not one is an engineer, they are merely the end user that recognise bugs with the hardware and guide the designers as to locating where problems are. From there the engineering department focus on the problems.

Bear in mind that MSC at Mercedes for 3 years didn't fundamentally improve the team.

Where was Button's ability in car set up, before Brawn turned up to spend hundreds of millions of Honda money to develop a double diffuser?

As Button said last year, his set up went in the wrong direction.

You can see through history who could actually set up their cars properly and helped the direction of the team.

Stewart, Lauda, Prost were all exponents of the art, and made their cars as easy to drive as possible.

People like Peterson, Villeneuve, Hamilton and to a certain extent Alonso can simply drive around a cars problem.

Schumacher when he first began working with Brawn and Byrne at Ferrari, would isolate the 3 most important items that needed addressing. The three that would make the biggest difference to lap time. If the engine was too peaky, for eg, he would a softer torque curve.

Ultimately, the engine and chassis people would look for solutions based on his observations, but he wasn't responsible for design.

Yet even his genus was sometimes too much for the development of the car.

At Imola one year, he tested a front wing which brought no improvement in time. Yet when Irvine tried the same wing, he was instantly 1/2 a second a lap faster. MSC had simply been driving around the initial problem so although his times remained the same, his driving was taking less out of the car.


Lewis Hamilton would be a massive loss to any team, but even he would have difficulty making this car work. As for Paddy Lowe, he had management oversight (and possibly the final say) of this car and would have been part of the process that would have put the car into production. Paddy Lowe is a proven TD, this just goes to show that even the best can get it wrong.


They only need to go back to 2009 to see what they lost.


It will be fair to ask Button to damn the FIA and do a few donuts for the fans in the home race at Silverstone. Thats what Lewis did in 2009 when they had a real dog of a car.

We don't need whining from Button at Silverstone. He'd better make the race worth it for the home crowd.

Useless car, but Lewis got right off the track and made the fans happy and their presence worth it:

Lewis damned the FIA's fines and did it again in 2011:

That is pride and leadership; I feel something deep when I see such displays to raise spirits when the equipment is mediocre and the seasons prospects are bleak.

It is what we demand from Jenson at Silverstone. No less.


Don't hold your breath. He'll be on the plane to the next triathlon while you're still trying to get your car out of the circuit.

Tornillo Amarillo

Additionnally I guess it's not funny for them to watch Hamilton in the podium again.

And for Button to have Checo ahead both in qualy and race.

James, if Force India is doing well, so I guess it's not the engine, gearbox for McLaren, is it just aero problems or rather strategy mistakes?


Well.....mercedes has the same engine too.....


Or even just set up. Many teams in the past have stopped development midyear, focused on set up and found much bigger gains. HRT didn't develop their car all year in their first year, yet found gains in set up equivalent to their competitors pace of development. Ferrari stopped midyear one year and through set up changes Raikkonen was still competitive until the end.

McLaren might just need to work on tuning their car and ease up on the large scale development. A big improvement could be focusing on qualifying pace, since their race pace wasn't terrible... and what they find in qualifying could also improve the race pace as well.


When Lewis has a problem, he knows exactly what's going on and works to solve it like his brakes right now. With Button, it's always "no grip" " undriveable car" " I don't know why we are slow". How are the engineers supposed to develop the car without knowing what direction to go with a driver like Button? That's what hurting McLaren right now, in my opinion.



Are you serious dude? Hamilton has a problem with the feel of the brakes. There is no mystery. They feel different to what he is used to and that's the only problem.

The McLaren has a myriad of problems - aero and ride primarily - hardly as straight forward as not being used to the feel of the brakes.

So in your expert opinion, how is Hamilton going about solving the Mercedes problems with them chewing the rear tires? I mean after all, when Lewis has a problem he know's exactly what's going on and works to fix it.

So come on, enlighten us all to Hamilton's findings and how he has instructed the Mercedes technical staff to solve it.


That might be what we hear in the interviews, but it doesn't mean that's what he's telling the engineers. I doubt he'd have been able to stay in F1 for so many years if the best he could communicate to his engineers was, "There's no grip".


I totally agree, we just get the interview. Plus you dont want information just handed to other teams no matter how small it seems. Lewis doesn't seem to get that at times…like on Twitter. I don't think he was trying to get the telemetry to his engineers that way do you?


I think it is fair to say that Button has form in being unable to solve problems either through set up or in terms of leading development of the car. We saw during 2009 that the development of the Brawn stalled (granted not his fault) but towards the end of the season he was having race after race where the set-up went away from him and he was unable to solve it.

We have also seen in his years at Mclaren that sometimes he will go a few races at a time where he seems all at sea with the set up and doesn't seem to have solutions.

Button is fantastic on his day, but unfortunately his main flaw seems to be leading a team on set up and working around problems. I feel this has been exaggerated this year by the average to weak car he has been given, and unfortunately he doesn't have the ability to find a set up to allow him to work around its problems.


See last year...


Mclaren needs to find some speed soon or they will lose alot of prize money finishing 6th in the constructors championship this year


Words of a true team Leader from Jenson Button. He's sure to motivate the team with statements like that. At least he is nearly matching Perez. LOL.


Taken from The Guardian website:

'But Button is still backing McLaren to produce a more competitive car. He said: "I'm still in a great team, probably the best team to find your way out of a situation like this. It will happen. It just takes time.

"We have a lot of talented people in this team, people who will find answers, and find a way back to the front. And it will be so much sweeter when it happens."'


“I’m still in a great team, probably the best team to find your way out of a situation like this. It will happen. It just takes time."

Mclaren seem to have the same problems Ferrari had last year.I appreciate that Alonso is a completely different driver to Button, a talisman for the team, but by the time Ferrari returned to Europe, they had a far better car for which to continue the year.

This fabled belief that Mclaren can out-develop the competition is in my opinion a local exaggeration that many of the media have fallen into.

It's one thing to develop a winning car and continue running at the front throughout a season, something that RBR have proved for a number of seasons, but it's quite another to develop a poor design into a significant inprovement, basically you have far more to gain when you are further behind.

When Newey ran Mclaren, a confirmed aero genius, why didn't they dominate like RBR is currently, or Williams before he tenure at Mclaren? Could it be a fundamental problem within their design philosophy?

Stephen Taylor

Doesn't he mean if


Wasn't this suppose to be "the best car ever"? lol


Does Ron come to races now-a-days?

The problem started not this year; it started way back in 2010 and 2011. Someone hijacked this team and sort of assumed a defacto PR & team lead while the real leadership looked aside.

It is such a sad story... I always felt they would bounce back. But, they now have no clue even after 7 races.


The problem started in 2008 when they forgot to spend any time or money on the 2009 car. A lot of fans forget Ron was still in charge as 2009 rolled in and left to protect Hamilton caught cheating by overtaking and not giving the place back.

Mclaren have never recovered fully from the structure Ron built. It was an incredible set up but not suited to the way F1 is now. Sadly Iron Ron's grip on the way the company is built has strangled the thing he loves.


I am amazed by people's reaction to LH out qualifying MCl. JB and SP are not known for their quallly skills. The fact that MCL are not prepared to sacrifice this season speaks volumes. By the time they get it right the season will be over and the new regs start. MCL days are over, the new teams will continue to out perform them and they will end up with Williams in the middle to bottom. They use an old fashioned way of managing the team and refuse to let go of the past. LH should never had been allowed to leave. Shame on you MCL for letting him go to a rival team.


McLaren keeps making really lame mistakes. How could they have set speed delta's for Jenson to run within when that was the first time they were running in the dry all weekend. Did they employ Merlin or something?

We are well into the season now and there is still no improvement. I guess we'd better forget this season as a nightmare and cross our fingers for 2014.

As for Jenson, he really cuts a folorn figure these days. Checo has come in and turned everything upside down, a lad who just doesn't give a damn.

Its surely not the car thats Buttons biggest pain.


I think Button would have out qualified Checo in Canada given the chance, and he would have easily beaten him. By the teams admission and advice Button was too conservative on tyres so probably would have put in a better race.

Checo is on half the points to Button and if the team gets the car right (this not being Button's job) he will put Checo in his shade.

Checo is good. But on when luck is on his side.


It was one weekend where we got it wrong...

ONE weekend?! Its more than that Martin!


He doesn't mean "one" as the only weekend, he means it was one of those times.


It was obvious a couple of races into the season that they needed to scrap the 2013 car and update the excellent 2012 one. I suppose that just wasn't politically expedient.


Dear Jenson,

We have never been so pleased to see a driver get out of our car.


Team Mclaren 😀


Oh Lawd! 🙂


I am in no way an expert on F1, but having been a fan all my life (aged 34) I would like to add my 2 pennys worth on maclaren and I would be interested to know what you all think.

Well, I believe that having been shocked that Lewis didnt re-sign last year, they went for the driver that was most like Jenson, i.e smooth, good on tyres etc. However this was almost certainly done after the 2013 car was designed so therefore its inherant characteristics might suit a driver more like Lewis i.e jumps on throttle and brakes and is generally very aggressive.

Kudos to Checo for outperforming Jenson in the last couple of races but would Maclaren not have been better going for a driver less similar to Jenson so they could develop the car in a more all-round way?


That last sentence would be meaningful if drivers had any input to car development. The idea that drivers are part of car development is one of the many pervasive internet untruths surrounding F1 (perhaps because casual fans like to think of their heroes busy designing cars between races).

Cars are designed and developed by engineers to achieve the quickest possible lap time within the regulations. The specific driver is not a factor in the development process (aside from ergonomics such as seat fit and control placement).

Setup (including variables such as braking surface material and steering rack gearing in addition to the usual chassis adjustments)is a different matter.


History shows a few drivers do have the ability to help develop a car best example of this is Damon Hill, kicked out of Williams turned an Arrows into a midfield car almost winning a race on the way.

In today's money that would be like a Caterham dominating a race.

Moved to Jordan made their car a top 3 racer (brundle, fisi or Ralph never came close to doing anything like it)

As we are finding out this season all the wind tunnel and SIM data means nothing as on paper each car on the grid will do 200mph, they're all fast. The devils in the detail and that's were driver input matters.

Hamilton's loss is significant don't underestimate their importance regards the development of a car.


A simpler theory: when Lewis was around, the McLaren engineers could just concentrate on maximizing the car and throw everything they could think of at it. Lewis would drive whatever car he got to the limit. They could quickly gauge whether raw performance has improved or not. But with Jenson, maybe engineers have to work on improving both ride quality and raw performance, and that makes rapid development much more difficult.


That'll explain why LH still has and has had issues with the current Mercedes... This 'he'll drive around anything' is nonsense. He has a style of driving based on brute force which might be okay for a lap but tends to cripple tyres over longer periods. Not all cars respond to that approach and definitely not when the tyres won't take it. JB's style is more considered.

Engineers much prefer someone who can sense the car's changes rather than someone who simply whacks the pedals and goes for broke.


In the build up to the new season, Jenson said he had a great deal of input into the new car and it would be more suited to him. Lewis can drive around problems much better than Jenson.


Don't worry Jenson, you'll soon be driving a Honda again!


Yeah maybe Japanese tin tops in GT series


The question is will he be around for 2015?


Has he forgotten his experience of Canada last year?!


Button probably forgot those 'Earth Dreams' Honda days.


Saying they have pace by comparing McLaren with Force India and Torro Rosso means they do not have pace... McLaren are the team that are meant to be helping Force India out!

They should have brought the old car out, given it to Jenson as he knew it, and ran it in parralel tothe new car as a reference to help them work out what is working and what is not... expensive, but logically simple and effective.

I like Martin Whitmarsh, but since first, the we will not have tv on SKY oh but look at all that money, then poor car management, then not speaking out about Mercedes even though he knows its not right,leadsme to believ he must go..


For me Whitmarsh has to go. Under his stewardship the team just seem to be heading backwards. He is a nice guy, but I just don't feel he has the vision to lead a team in his current role.


The only reason Whitmarsh has to leave is because of the people he brings into the team. I still think Sam Michael carries bad fortune with him.

Last year, the Mclarens had pitstop issues, then loss of direction then unreliabiity. This year the car has gone backwards.

Anyway, with tongue very firmly in cheek, maybe the witch doctors need to do their dance around Woking.


Jenson Button: "I've never been so pleased to get out of a car"

Oh, really? Somehow the joy he had during his last year with Honda must have escaped me.


I can't agree more. Somebody needs to remind him of those glory years.


You people... what was he meant to say... its a throw away remark to sum up his drive that day, not a full analysis of his whole racing career...


LOL people take things so literally! I'm sure if people analysed my every remark I'd be in real trouble!



Mike from Colombia

Nice to know that Button has the freedom to criticise the car.

Thank God it is not Hamilton saying this about this year's McLaren.....the media would have been calling for a public apology and retirement by now.

Alexander Supertramp

Lewis gets outqualified by his teammate 3 times in a row whilst still qualifying on the front rows and all hell brakes lose. Meanwhile Mclaren is underperforming badly and still no one points fingers. Nobody asks: yes it's a bad car, but are the people who are supposed to make it faster doing their job? It's not just the media being unfair, it's also -excuse me- stupid people like John Watson. There is definitely some sort of double standard when it comes to Lewis and other british drivers. I guess it's because Lewis is so 'box office', the guy is like a magnet attracting f1 stories and opinions. He basically, of all drivers, has the biggest spotlight on him. Don't know why though, he's realy not that controversial.


The double standard is awesome to behold.

If Hamilton was in Jenson's position now, there would be countless negative articles on his poor performance- not so much on this site, but the BBC in particular; and if he'd said what Jenson says about the team, some would be baying for blood.


Indeed, if Hamilton ever sugested that a driver neededs to be punched as did a recent F1 driver referencing Perez's aggresive over taking, the internet would be on a meltdown!

And I sure FIA would be very quick to censure Hamilton if ever made such remarks yet other drivers are seemingly invisible to FIA. Selective deafness?

Mike from Colombia

Friends in high places

alastair emmerson

maybe they are struggling because hammy isn't there to set the car up and drive around the problems, maybe that's why paddy Lowe left he knew how bad this years car was you going to be without hammy


I thought Martin Whitmarsh looked decidedly uncomfortable talking to the media after the race. Aside from the car being rubbish, how can they keep getting their strategy so wrong. Who in their right mind would go for a completely new car for one year!! It's going to take a miracle to turn things around, and I'm desperately hoping to see one at Silverstone!


You should start an F1 team blessed with such insight.


Believe me my friend. There will be no miracle at Silverstone!!!

Bring Back Murray

Well William's fell back in pretty much one season in the late 90s and have never really got it together again since, the partnership with BMW and the Montoya years excepted.

There's nothing to say the same thing can't happen to Mclaren.

Change of management, change of design team, and maybe even some fresh drivers are what is required.

Jenson really is looking past his sell-by date now. He had good form when he came to McLaren, then Lewis didn't take him to pieces as expected.

Now maybe its time to make a dignified exit before he does his reputation and go quietly into the night!

Mike from Colombia

Come on, that's too harsh.

Any news on Button's contract renewal?

I read that he commented thathe did not want a long term commitment.


"Come on, that’s too harsh." <--- you're prolly right. sorry to the poster whose comment I slammed w/ undue harshness.

Re. Button's contract renewal - see below in the comments. Someone posts an excerpt from Monaco press conference on the topic.


"Now maybe its time to make a dignified exit before he does his reputation and go quietly into the night!" <------ I'm sorry, but you're delusional, and why you would even post something this ridiculous I can't even imagine.

What top sportsman who still enjoyed his job, was well-compensated, lived a fantasy-life (basically, save for the nightmare that is this current season) and was still competitive (even if his equipment hindered his performances, at least in the short-term) would ever willingly quit and walk-away, just because even an entire season was ruined by failures of technical design and performance unrelated to the athlete's skills/abilities?

Do you seriously think Jenson would quit F1 now, just like that, nevermind the fact that he'd be remembered for failing to even log a podium finish in his final season?

Yeah, JB should make a "dignified exit" and quit F1 just before mid-season, perhaps so "BB Murray" can take over for him!


Bring Back Murray

You can have some of my pills if you like 🙂

Maybe the go quietly bit was a bit silly to put but McLaren and Jenson still need to get it sorted!


Looks like Hamilton made the right decision.


Yes, he did.


And you folks are basing it all on 7 races ? wow !


Shame to see such a great team lagging this year, what a dreadful decision to bin the 2012 car


It can't be as bad as the Earth Dream Honda? That was a shocker in all senses.

In the last year of the current regs, having had the fastest car in 2012 - why the hell did McLaren make such radical changes to their car?


From what they said themselves the 2012 chassis had very little potential left, so they would have been hurting by the end of the 2013 season.

And other people have suggested that they're using this year to get on top of big changes for next year's chassis, for example the new front suspension.


Mr Allen,you are professional man and very

much at the top what you do,and if your

equipment is not as it should be at times

you perservere with it, knowing your support

guys gave the all,you don't empty the bucket

of you know what? over them,they work their

buts off for perhaps 72 hours no stop, they

to have pride for the team they work for and

that team namely McLaren is a top shelf

article in anybody language.

Mr Button quote demands an immidiate dismsal

by the management of team McLaren, and if he

is a man enough,he would do like in the game

of cricket " WALK " , Mr Button shame on you.


If Lewis wasn't dismissed for posting sensitive data on twitter, Jenson won't be either.


[mod] Button's honesty is refreshing and his genuine frankness is probably more endearing to a greater # of loyal McLaren fans than false bravado or corporate drone-speak would be.

Oz Geezza, Shame on You!


I'm surprised of the relatively mild treatment that Mc Laren is getting from the F1 fans. Just imagine Ferrari having this kind of season opening!

If Ferrari had this kind of performance, the forums would be teeming with messages saying that:

1) Ferrari are finished. They have lost it for good (if they ever had it). They aren't creative anymore (if they ever were).

2) Ferrari's performance is the clear demonstration that Italians are culturally/ emotionally/ genetically incapable of producing hi-tech stuff / organize anything/ behave ethically and so on. They must face it, sack Domenicali and hire a Brit in his place.

3) Ferrari were never great in the first place: it took them 20 years to going back winning a WDC between 1979 and 2000. And their brief spell of success was exlusively due to the tires and FIA assistance. Now they're exposed for what they really are.

Actually, I SAW this kind of comments on Ferrari in 2010, 2011 and (early) 2012 when there was a(comparatively) poor performance but not comparable to Mc Laren this year.

Mysteriously, the abysmal showing of the Macca this year, the other big historical team in F1 does not excite the same flurry of comments.



Simply !!!

Lewis ain't driving for McL anymore... spot light has moved. One more reason why Merc hired Lewis is that he is a magnet for the press and is good for their sponsors.


All your seemingly valid points aside, I think it's mostly because nobody believes McLaren won't develop themselves out of this hole... many people here are probably too young to remember the terrible McLarens of 94-96

In the end though I think they will sort it and persist into 2014. They may already have an eye on 2015, who knows

Stephen Taylor

At least the Mclaren is not as bad as the Life L190!



You probably have forgotten about last year?

Ferrari was in exact the same place as where Mclaren is now.. only they miss a driver as an Alonso or Hamilton to out perform the car..

Jenson is only quick when every.. really everything is right and that doesn't happen a lot.

Sergio is still proving himself, but so far he does better than Jenson and that in his first Mclaren season.


"Jenson is only quick when every.. really everything is right and that doesn’t happen a lot" - I totally agree with you on this one. A perfect driver on a perfect car. A regular driver on a really good car. Same as VET.


Same as who? The 25 year old that won the last 3 championships, despite not having the fastest car for one of them, and despite losing the most points to unreliability in one of the others? Button is nothing like him.


I keep telling all my Jenson Button fan friends he is not the driver they think he is. He is average to above average at best.


I'd call Button a number one and a half. He's not good enough to be a number 1, but he's better than a number 2


Are mclaren over stretching resources? We see so much coming from the MTC From Tooned,special road racing bikes,electronic control boxes for all teams,etc,etc and even there road cars.

Can they juggle all the balls? Looks like there dropping the one thing there known for.A top F1 racing team.


I guess your comments would have some merit if the company employed 50 people and they had additional work to their main responsibilities. But the extra projects they take on will be covered by new employees who have access to the MTC infrastructure.

It's an often mentioned fact that Mclaren and Ferrari work on contracts with aero manufacturers and space agencies.

It's not as though RD has been trying to juggle the road car division and the F1 team.

Ron Dennis has been focused on the production of Mclaren sportscars for a number of years, he has not overseen the F1 team since 2009, but Whitmarsh has.

Mike from Colombia

I blame Tooned.


Completely agree - all those animators and storyboard artists shouldn't be messing around with crayons; they should be doing the night shift in the wind tunnel :0)


well said


So, the car may be better than it seemed to be, but, James, there´s something I´m not understanding and I would love to read your opinion or from your readers: Isn´t the driver's role to predict what kind of pace to extract from those Pirelli´s tyres?

Because of the rain on friday, there was not enough data to rely on, so I guess the engineers should relay mainly on drivers feedback to predict the delta times.

I´m just an ordinary fan, so I would love to understand why Button is, slightly, blaming the team for a job that should be his…


McLaren have lost the plot - extravagant MTC, road cars, even cartoons (which have stopped I notice).

Trouble is this season is a wash-out & next year is an interim one winding-down as a Merc customer. Even when Honda come in they will be a year behind Merc, Ferrari & Renault.

I really do wonder will Button hang around. He was very non-committal when interviewed over the Honda deal.

And speaking of drivers...I honestly don't believe the current too are in the upper echelon.


Pat, I believe Tooned is back for Silverstone. You'll be pleased to hear...


"I really do wonder will Button hang around. He was very non-committal when interviewed over the Honda deal." <--- Can you cite/reference please the interview in which Button is non-committal?



Wednesday Drivers' Press Conference, Monaco:

'Q: (Ian Parkes - Press Association) Jenson, when the Honda deal was announced, it naturally raised the question as to whether you might still be around in 2015, but Jonathan Neale (McLaren managing director) said you have a job for life. Can I ask how that makes you feel first of all, and secondly, when he says for life, how many more years do you think you might have left as a racing driver?

JBu: Did he say a job for life or a job as a racing driver for life?

Q: (Ian Parkes - Press Association) Job for life.

JBu: Ah, OK. I don’t know what that means then. I don’t know. I don’t want to think about the future too much at the moment. I think that yeah, you’ve got to live for the moment and I don’t think that trying to agree a lengthy deal for the future is something that is interesting at the moment for me. I’m 13 years in the sport, I want to have freedom and that feeling that if it doesn’t feel right any more: stop. But I definitely don’t feel that yet. It feels that it is going to be a long way down the road. For me, that freedom is important in the future.'


Steve Mc:

Thanks! Such a rare treat for someone to actually be able to provide source material/citation for some claim they're making, and rarer still for the actually full exchange to be quoted. You rock!


That's a good catch. I didn't realize the cartoons have stopped. And Button hanging around? The question is would Mclaren even want him? lol


I think button is already on the lookout for a new challenge, especially with his comments about not committing his future to Mclaren

He's probably concerned about how good this Honda will be, because the Honda engine in 2008 wasn't great

I'll be surprised if Mclaren even win one race this year


It would be quite amusing if he ended up with a duff Mclaren and a duff Honda engine, basically all the nightmares of his career in one car.


McLaren have become a poor midfield team with IMO little prospect of challenging at the top during of the grid during the next two season at least with McLaren switching from Mercedes to Honda engines during the next two seasons.

Jenson spent too long earlier in his career in a uncompetitive Honda works car, he needs to be in a car that challanges for wins at this stage.

JB would be better off moving to Red Bull next season if Webber seat is availible, he'd have more chance of winning races even in the same car as Vettel rather than a uncompetitive McLaren or even switch to Lotus if Kimi gets the second Red Bull seat.


Its dangerous to predict F1. Especially with a team renowned for its excellent engineering like McLaren.

The team will bounce back, its just the question of when.


Exactly, Quade. I fear the problem they have though, is there are too many top teams with their act together this year for them to salvage much from the rest of the season. Even if they somehow manage to pull off a few wins between now and Brazil, chances are they will still only finish 4th or 5th in the Constructors' Championship. Good job those Hondas are FOC for 2015...


I'm still baffled why they ditched last years car for this. Surely it's far more expensive and time consuming to develope a new package...and now there's the added expense of it being a dud

This is just a blip, they will bounce back, They're of the best.

As a Ferrari fan, McLaren have always been the enemy, but I actually feel a bit sorry for them.

Now Red Bull is the enemy and I'm happy for Anybody else win.


"I’m still baffled why they ditched last years car for this." <------ really? I would think that's obvious and easy to answer: they ditched the 2012 car for this one b/c they thought the current machine would be faster! The more interesting question is 'why isn't it?'!!!



Okay, Ya got me. I didn't break it down enough.

I'm still baffled why McLaren didn't evolve an already very quick car and see out the current regulations as opposed to basically start from scratch and hope it works.

Especially when everything changes next year, it seems like a waste of resources and a hell of a gamble.


"I’m still baffled why McLaren didn’t evolve an already very quick car and see out the current regulations as opposed to basically start from scratch and hope it works." <---- now THAT's a question I'd be interested in knowing the answer to, too!!



i think - but i don't know for sure - the idea was to go in a direction this year that would suit the regulations next year then make the changes instead of doing it from scratch and having too many new areas... if that makes sense.


Correlation of data from wind tunnel wasn't right.

Similar problem Ferrari had last season


But James, Ferrari's correlation problems came from their own tunnel in Maranello, hence they decided to exclusively use one of the 2 Toyota tunnels in Germany and repair their own.

As far as I have read, Mclaren were using the Toyota facility because their own one was being used by Marussia?

Last years car would suggest that whatever tunnel they were using, it was certainly "good enough"?


McLaten were using both their own tunnel and Toyota


I'd love to see an in-depth explanation of and analysis of the process by which cars are designed, modeled and tested in virtual enviro & in the wind tunnel, and then manufactured w/ fingers-crossed that everything works out on the track.

For two major teams/constructors to experience similar (massive) failures of the implementation of their cars' designs in successive years surely must cast doubt on some aspect of the process??



How much pressure is M Whitmarsh and also S Michael? Mclaren have not won much (In Constructors or Drivers championships terms) in a very long time now, and also poor results seems to follow Sam too!


Normally I don’t comment on McLaren because I am not there greatest fan, but I would like to supply some defense. The last two years have seen some very close competition. I cannot blame any one team for being forced out of there comfort zone.

Could you imagine coming to work every day knowing that what you did yesterday was fine but today is completely unacceptable? F1 moves forward at a phenomenal rate.

If you stand still you are done.

If you move too slowly you are done.

If you move too quickly in the wrong direction you are done.

Recovery time for an F1 team can be extreme. The challenges McLaren is facing are not trivial: top driver, top engineer, and top engine manufacturer all out the door. A new engine (power train) supply coming a year late and the corporate focus is on road cars.

I do not want Martin’s job - thank you very much for asking!


Good comment!


I'm sure Martin Whitmarsh is a nice guy to work for but McLaren appear to have taken massive steps backwards since Ron Dennis took a back seat. They may have large resources, at the moment, but its not doing them any good. There must be fundamental management problems with bad decisions being made somewhere for a company with such history to now be a third division racing team. I hope I'm wrong but I can't see Honda being their saviour while you have the current management team in place. RB are just making them look silly.


Since the last double, ie WDC & WCC in 1991, Mclaren have won 3 WDC and 1 WCC, under RD.

Brawn have won 1 WDC and 1 WCC

Benetton/ Renault have won 7, 4 WDC and 3 WCC

Williams have won 9, 4 WDC and 5 WCC

Ferrari won 14, 6 WDC and 8 WCC

Even the Championship success has to be looked at carefully.


Newey designed super car. Only competition was a rebuilding Ferrari.

Mclaren had changed to Bridgestone tyres, as Goodyear were leaving at the end of 1998 and Mclaren said they were in breach of contract.

Even so Ferrari and MSC almost won the WDC, as they were still competing at the last race.

1999, Schumacher breaks leg. Returns to "help" Irvine but secures the WCC only, for the team.

2008, Lewis wins on last corner of Brazil GP, Massa had had engine failure 3 laps from end in Hungary.


Their last double was '98. Ferrari in 1998 were very good ... Irvine had 8 podiums to DC's 9 (HAK and MSC both had 11).

Using '98 as the starting point, it would read:

Brawn: 1 WCC & 1 WDC

Renault: 2 WCC & 2 WDC

RBR: 3 WCC & 3 WDC

Ferrari: 8 WCC & 6 WDC

McLaren: 0 WCC & 2 WDC


I wonder if they simply letting 2013 slide, and they will unveil a weapon in 2014? This year must be so tricky for the teams - how do you balance development?


worst Mclaren display since Europe 1995. You hit the nail on the head James when you compared Mclarens speed to Force Indias. No disrespect to Force India but Mclaren should be at the front not at the end of the midfield pack.

I really do think its time for Whitmarsh to go, since he has arrived Mclaren have done next to nothing. They have a Honda deal, but i see another 3 barren winless seasons


I have not seen again one of those (many) articles that talked about such a BIG mistake that Hamilton made by leaving the best car of last year...


Yes, the silence is truly deafening...


+1 (see my earlier comment way above up the page...)

Sir Godfrey Tibbett

"The car does have underlying pace, though. In the race, the McLaren was 0.5 seconds faster than Toro Rosso and lapping around the same pace as Force India."

Surely, you jest.


Comparing the car that finished 11th & 12th to the ones that were 6th & 7th sounds reasonble to me. It is funny though!


mclaren is only one of 3 or 4 teams that have gone backward since last year - williams, sauber and caterham.

merc, ferrari and lotus have some car issues as well.

it is really virtually impossible to model the dynamic effects of tyres in the wind tunnel and cfd. the constant tyre changes are probably driving everyone mad because they are such a fundamental performance factor.

mclaren are just one of the teams wandering around in 'the hall of mirrors' - seemingly lost. i think it is unfair of pirelli to keep changing the tyres because it can render basic assumptions about a car's design worthless.

it's not whitmarsh's fault.

my estimation is that the ability to hit the sweet spot with the pirelli's has a large element of luck.


A year ago, same track, Button: "I don't know why I'm so slow". While Hamilton won the race.

I hope for Honda's sake, that McLaren current line-up is not part of their plan.


That sums it (and Button) up.


McLaren has definitely joined Williams as a washed up champion team.


And what’s the common denominator?

We are told that Sam Michael is highly thought of in the pit lane, and I know that one person can’t be totally responsible for everything that goes wrong in a team – but what has he ever achieved to be so well thought of. It’s a total mystery to me.


Circumstantial. Sam Michael was with the team all through 2012 and they had a really good car that year. What is SM's role at McLaren anyway? I don't think it has much to do with car design?


Agree 100% Mike Michael talks a goog gave in Tv Interviews but he was a disaater at Williams and since he arrived at McLaren the team has gone backwards quickly.


I've worked with a number of people over the years that senior management had a high opinion of, yet no-one else in the company that worked with them or under them could understand why.


Ditto Mike Gascoigne - went on gardening leave from every team he worked for just before or just after some very below average cars were turned out.


I'd forgotten about Gascoigne!


It is unfair to point fingers at Sam. The problems Mcl have at the moment isn't where Sam is directly responsible for.

If Sam is on the chopping block, so should JN, MW, JB & SP.


My Only question - If Mclaren knows that 2013 season is done for them then why are they developing that car. I mean to fix the car and win so many remaining races to out-do Vettel, Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton is remotely impossible even though it Mathematically is.

Mclaren should do what Ross Brawn did for Honda in 2008. Junk the current car and develop next years car as there is are a huge lot of regulations changes next year.

Moreover Please Mclaren dont go down the Williams way !!!!!


McLaren have said there was very little development potential left in the 2012 car, as they designed the car they should know. That would mean they would be struggling all season with the 2012 car. Apparently the new design showed a great deal of potential and on paper and simulation etc. was very fast. Yes, it is not ideal to have a radical change for just one season but they probably felt they had no choice. The question should not be why they changed the car but how did it end up so far of the pace and what does that mean for the 2014 car if their predictions and simulations were so inaccurate?

Strategy for this race.. did they have one? They would have had better results if they had turned the radio off and just sent the drivers out to have some fun.


The strategy was awful. If they had ANY inclination to do a one stop, then ALWAYS start on the hard tire! Mind-boggling in the extreme. I'd start looking for moles in their strategy group, with calls like these.


That is a convenient excuse - "development potential"


The leadership at McLaren has to change. Very poor descision making has led them here. Why go with pull rod suspension when making changes to it takes twice as long as push rod? Jenson always makes incremental changes to his car and pull rod suspension is the last choice for this type of driver. I can't believe they are still using deltas to make the tires last! Ferrari proved in Spain that you go flat out to win. Red Bull caught on in Canada and McLaren did not. Just sad, very very sad.


Conspiracy theory 101- Paddy Lowe designed an impossible car knowing he might leave. Perhaps another Mercedes strategy ?

No seriously I am not surprised by Mclarens woes and I suspected they would struggle for half the season as I posted on the unveiling of the MP4-28!. What is maybe less surprising is the lack of real or comparative progress so far.

Im not sorry for Mclaren management one little bit. I was a huge fan BUT since Button joined in 2010 and more particularly 2011 Mclaren were just plain stupid with their clear favouritism of Jenson. Something very politically incorrect was happening in that team. Montreal 2011 was just plain wrong - everybody blamed Lewis but blind freddy could see Jenson pushed him into the wall yet everybody including Whitmarsh sided with Jenson. Many other fights with Lewis were not defended by the team) rightly or wrongly) instead the team &other drivers copped earfuls of Jensons manoievres and bagging his teammate rather than minding his own business and getting on with the job. Spa 2012 Lewis made a call completely different with high downforce that led to tweet gate - Lewis acknowledged it was his decision but something led him to make that call & even more so publically air it-people can say he was childish but I think there was always much more to it. I think right now we are seeing a team with no ability to identify, and push through developments at the very limits - something which only a top level driver can do- because only that type of driver can find those limits- Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel.

At the same time last year with the same radically different car Ferrari started to find pace.Mclaren with a similar concept of car as Ferrari last year is not going forward because they have a driver that cannot adapt his driving style sufficiently enough to switch on the tyres properly and exploit the limits to help drive aero development AND a complete idiot driver going over the limits destroying his car ( and others in the process) -costing the team track and feedback time when they need it most !.

Great coaching Mr Whitmarsh now find another scape goat to take the fall--oops sorry but your best driver and best technical director are gone!


Cannot agree more on the paragraph you wrote explaining about what you think happened when Jenson joined in 2010. I was thinking exactly the same thing. They backed the wrong driver, and ultimately it has harmed them in the long term. Now even to the point that Button looks as if he wants to get out of McLaren.


Also, you need to note that the data/setup was centralized for the benefit of Jenson. As, Jenson could take advantage of Lewis's setup details. One of the reason Lewis was so frustrated was that Jenson was able to use his work effectively, while some of Jenson's find never was shared, like in Australia 2012.

Now, that Lewis is gone and Perez is here looking at Jenson's data - he is under extreme pressure to lead Perez here. Now, Jenson is in a situation similar to Lewis before. He will do all the hard-work while Perez piggy back on his data and starts beating Jenson... as is happening now. Very soon you will see a frustrated Jenson.


Another interesting question is whether Hamilton had a feeling that things would not work out for McLaren this year ...

Just imagine how frustrated he would be now if he had stayed for another year at McLaren!


Yeah one could sense that things weren't quite right at Mclaren. Lewis must know a lot more than he said anything about.


What's winning races got to do with staying or leaving a team ? If you are unhappy and being screwed through countless f/ups by the team and the management -you are going to leave - I said this all through early last year that he should leave and go to Mercedes -so you don't have to be a soothsayer or some genius- you just have to understand people and have some belief in the truth. I could see it coming after the crappy year and ridicule he had in 2011.

Same thing happened with Raikkonen I said at winter testing when he returned to F1 he would be on the podium many times and he would win a couple of races- even when people were writing him off. Common sense would tell you a driver of his calibre would be successful if he chose to return to F1 in a decent team. If you listen and watch people long enough you understand what makes them tick and you can form opinions that unfold over time.

Also on different note-Your definitely wrong about predicting the future because 2 days in a row I mentioned people I haven't heard from in more than 13 years and both times they rang me out of the blue- 1 offered me a job!


I have to disagree - noone is that good at predicting the future and as of decision time in 2012 both Lewis & Jenson were winning races.

He was unhappy @ Mclaren, not a soothsayer. That is all.


Paddy doesn't design cars, unlike Newey.

He manages the team that does


But Adrian is Technical Officer for RBR. Rob Marshall designs the cars.

Isn't this the same sort of set up as Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne at Ferrari?


James, the guy who manages the team that designs the car has more responsibility than the guys who actually does the design - this is how it is atleast in my line of work.

We can't absolve Paddy completely from 2013 car. However, I don't think the car is as bad as it is projected now - just that the driver switch has unsettled their regular process of gathering & analyzing data. They seem clueless on what direction to take as they couldn't get consistent on-track data, atleast this is my view.


Of course he does James, but surely he has a say in the development direction. He could easily say lets push in with the 2012 concept. I said last year the Mp4-27 would be the best car on the grid on its release and I was right about that also.


Sorry, just clarifying Of course he manages the team not design the cars.


Its good you correct posters like this at times they just mention names without realising what they do exactly.

In other posts as well I have read people blaming Sam Micheal as well thinking he's part of the design team.


I'm not one of those posters buddy and I do know what & who the hell Im talking about after watching it for over 30 years. I think Ive also clarified this already


Bad as this McLaren is, Jenson's driving worse F1 cars!


Ok, we all know McLaren have had some shocking seasons - especially at the beginning. 2009 awful start, 2006 no wins that year, 2004 bad first half, and if your memory is as long as mine 1994-1996 had no wins, 1987 was poor.

But how far back do we have to go for a year when Mclaren had no podium finishes or front row starts? Because that could be the outcome in 2013! Here's hoping!


1980 was the last year that McLaren (and Ferrari too!) didn't podium.


1996 was the last year McLaren scored zero front-row starts.


Mclaren is a mid-field team this year. I'm sure they have already written-off the 2013 campaign.

Save up for 2014.

Perez appears to be the faster driver of the two. Button is still a typical slow driver. IMO his 2009 WDC is really a lucky gift from Honda and Ross Brawn.


And Rubens Barrichello who by that time was already the most experienced driver in F1.... Just like Mansell you put a team mate waaaaaay past his prime in the other seat & it discretely allows you to back one man for the title.


Same as Vettel & Webber actually, and Alonso and Massa.


Is it my imagination but Sam Michael seemed to drag Williams down from a front running team to back of the grid....died on his sword then moved to McLaren and did an even faster job there! Why is he rated so highly by some?


Firstly he is a Sporting Director at McLaren, so not responsible for the car, but for the sporting side, dealing with FIA, rules, procedures etc

Secondly he is only one person in the chain.

McLaren's problem is the car isn't fast enough.


James, Thank you for hitting the nail right on the head "The car isn't fast enough" ... nuff said.


Didnt realise you had already done this just commented above for you to explain this out to people.


I remember a few years ago when BAR was doing ok, cant remember which season now, I think it was the year that he won Sepang, or maybe Hungary. Anyway Button was there and the team was doing ok for a while. Then things turned sour as the car became less competitive and there was an incident that struck me. Button had just had an engine failiure and walking back through the pits he took the time to stop at the pit wall and with quite an air of 'confidence' shall we say, he continued to demand answers to his questions from the Honda engine guy. Then, not liking the answers he was getting he turned and walked away as the guy was still speaking to him. What I didnt like about this was that Button has no clue what it takes to build an F1 engine, yet he thought this guy was wasting his time. And he did it, fully knowing that a camera was on him. This showed me that when Button gets any kind of higher ground (like a few good results, or say, a drive with a top team), he turns into quite a snob. Success corupts so people and Button is one of them. Why berrate your team in public, does to help your cause and deffinitely does not inspire confidence within your team..


think pretty much all has been said about the design of the car so I will focus on the other problem that is being masked to a degree by the bad car and that is the amount of strategy and pit errors that Mclaren have made this year. For a top team it is way too high and has pretty much continued from last year. Even if they had a reasonable car right now they would still be failing. They have lost a whole bunch of points through errors in quali or the race.

Derek Stevenson

Mclaren seem to be suffering from far too many routine operational problems eg gearbox on JB 's car on Friday in Canada -losing time in the only dry session, fuel pump problems which have cost race wins the last few years as well as quali positions. They need a good organiser and IMO Sam Michael -with his track record at Williams and Mclaren - is a large part of the problem. Perhaps if he was replaced the cars would leave the pits with all 4 wheels attached an example of mistakes other teams don't seem to make


Wow, im amazed at so much negativity, ive just read all these posts from the armchair enthusiast. Yes Im not a fan of Mclaren's silly mistakes whether on track, in the design office, or in the driving seat behaind the wheel. Its way too easy for us all to critique every, word, error, and desicion. I think every one just needs to show a little bit more respect..

After all, like me im sure all you that post make poor descions from time to time. imagine if every time you did you had 1000 so called experts having an opion on why you are so rubbish.

Its a shame that in this age, there is so much media platform easily available and opportunity for people to express their opinions, without respect or true understanding of the whole situation.

I wish Mclaren well in thier quest to resolve the issues, whilst privately having a little chukle at the situation they are in.


Andy, thanks for a very civil, respecting opinion, I appreciate that. Now, can you please step down from the pulpit?

Are we following Kiddie soccer? People here have invested years and years of time (some have bought expensive sports tv packages) and have a passion following a particular team/driver and will get emotional when things don't go their way. I'm sure James will remove abnoxious comments from here before it gets published, so lets not get too corporate & politically correct here.


I think what he's saying is that most of the posters on here haven't a clue what they're talking about.

The only thing that most people want to do is a character-assasination of someone they don't like.

As for comments about Sam Michael, when JA has already said that he doesn't design the car or manage the Team / pitstops, people just go on moaning "He's got to go....& take Whitmarsh with you"..etc....etc.

It'll happen the same on a Ferrari thread, or a Red Bull one - I've even seen it about Caterham & Marussia

Childish in extreme, a product of the internet. The general negativity, I mean - not just re. this thread.

On another F1 blog I read, many of the above posts would not be accepted & the posters would be banned.


Absolutely spot on, Peter. And get rid of Sam Michael whilst you're at it. Rubbish designer, he is... :0)

roberto marquez

A lot of the same people that said nothing good when Hamilton went to Mercedes are now recognising his value as a quick driver. ???? People be serious. Quoting from the article "we set him lap time targets which were too slow – and he could have gone much faster.", the team telling the driver how to drive ????. What is this The Scalectrix World Driver Championship ???????????


When drivers have to drive to timed laps and not push at all, they may as well give up and go home... F1 is becoming entirely pointless. DRS and now time restricted laps - what a total joke F1 is...


Tale of the tape. 2010 Turkey. Both drivers told to conserve fuel in the races closing stages after Vettel / Webber pranged and handed the one / two grid positions to Macca. Button pulled a Vettel and overtook HAM. HAM didn't mess around and regained the lead in a couple of corners. Not in four / five laps, in a couple of corners! Very telling,that. In 2012, James has said that HAM left over a 100 points on the table due to pitstop errors and reliability issues. Come on. HAM made ALO look very ordinary in his rookie year. You wouldn't say that BUTT is better than ALO, now would you? BUTT is better? Maybe on the political end of the spectrum. Checo is now HANDILY outperforming BUTT in both quali and race pace. All things being equal, HAM is better in quali, and raw pace, and his overtaking moves are often the stuff of legend. Wake up and smell the espresso.


Get rid of Whitmarsh, he has taken this team no where since he took over running it. And Get rid of Sam Michael, he cursed Williams, and has now cursed Mclaren


See what I mean?


Just scrolled down and fell off my chair!


I'm with Roger W and Peter C.

Lovely comment above Peter 🙂


Peter C - my kinda guy - agree 100%


James. Some folk here drawing a comparison with Ferrari's poor start to the 2012 season. Interesting parallel between the two is that they both changed from push to a pull rod (or was it the other way round?) suspension set up. To what extent do you think that this is a contributing factor to McLaren being unable to understand the performance of the car given the different aero and ride issues that this brings up? If I remember rightly it was noted as a reason for Ferrari's slow start last year.


It's so obvious what the problem at McLaren is...

1.) Whitmarsh

2.) Button

They are bosom buddies - they keep each other around at the detriment of McLaren.

Their combination is a nightmare.


I agree - combined with a decline in working relations with Mercedes over several years - they do after all run their own team against Mclaren now.


Mclaren have been most unlucky this season. Personally , I think they made a judjement error by going for a super agressive design this year, rather than progress the fast platform which they had at the end of 2012. This is always a risky stratergy, as was witnessed by Ferrai early last year. Sometimes a great idea and very agressive design pays off and produces a winning car, but I think Mclaren took a big risk taking this route, considering the new regulations in 2014, when all teams will be taking a new agreesive design approach. Red bull, Ferrari, Merc, Torro Rosso have all built on the 2012 platform they knew worked well at the end of 2012.Macca took a risk and got it wrong. They will improve the car no doubt, but they are playing catch up this season with a big gap to start with. They will do extreemely well to catch Ferrari and Red Bull! Ferrari always have the added pressure of tifosi,Monti, Fiat and an etire nations angry criticism to propel their development into the stratosphere when they get it wrong of course. Macca on the other hand don't quite have such a cattle prod to drive them when they get it wrong. Neither do they have an Alonso, Hamilton or or Vettel to help. Button is good, but I'm not sure he is the right man to drive a team forward?

Macca seem to have had a lot of operational problems in the last 4 seasons, and one has to ask what is wrong at the team, they seem to have gone stale. paddy low's and Lewis' exits, to me speak volumes. The team is lacking excitement and energy, and seems incapable of moutning a real challenge. lets hope the team is not going the way of Williams.


“In the case of Jenson, we set him lap time targets which were too slow – and he could have gone much faster. He could have pushed into the points. It was one weekend where we didn’t get it right. We were not quick enough to be at the front but we should have been able to get in the points.”

about a sorry state of affairs.


What happened to the days of watching cars actually racing. You look at any other motor sport and you get racing to the limit. It doesnt matter whether your rooting for Vettel, Alonso, Kimi or Button, I think everyone would just like to see drivers being allowed to push and not handicapped by silly tyre compounds.

For some reason the managment of F1 thinks a sport is interesting because of the strategy behind the scenes. You dont watch a football match and enjoy watching the physio's strategising about how to warm Ronaldo's hamstring up in the most efficient way. You watch it for the competition. "We want to watch F1 for the competition". The strategy you should get in a race is The choice of tyre compound, fuel load, when to make your stops and how many stops. Not being limited to how many tyres. F1 teams should be able to use any of the Pirelli compounds at any race and as many tyres as they like. Quite frankly watching an F1 car tip toe round in order to not offend its tyres is offensive to the fans. You may as well go and watch the traffic at rush hour on the M25.


2.5s Pitstop was mighty Impressive though!

There's a lot I don't understand about what's happening at McLaren this Season, but then I'm not an Engineer! But for them to have the Fastest Car Last Season, and be in the Mid-Field this season, just seems Crazy, to have Stayed still or even gone Backwards in Car Development, How does that Happen?

I still think they need to preserver with this Car, if only to Understand what not to do next Year. You have to start considering this Year a Write-Off, so they may as well try a few Development Curve-Balls and what happens!


"The team told me a lap time to follow so that we could be sure of keeping the tyres alive..."

Is this where we've ended up in f1? How about just get in and drive the flippin wheels off the thing.


I have never understood that statement ref "maxed out" it's potential, development is open - if the regs stayed the same then it's just a case of refineing what they had

In hindsight Maclaren could be so far ahead bot;h championships or have that potential

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