McLaren are a team who are used to winning races however they are facing the prospect of their first winless season since 2006 and second since 1996.
The Woking-based team finished last year with the fastest car, as Jenson Button claimed victory in the season finale at Interlagos in Brazil. However, the team chose to radically change the design of their car and have since struggled to understand and successfully develop it.
Button or Sergio Perez have failed to finish higher than fifth in the first nine races of the season to leave the team sixth in the constructors’ championship, behind Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus and Force India. At this point in 2012, they were fourth, in 2011 they were second and in 2010 they were first.
That’s quite a fall for a team who in the last five years have finished second in the standings three times and third twice.
McLaren, who have not won the constructors’ championship since 1998, currently have 49 points, which is a third of the total they had at the same point last season when they sat fourth in the constructors’ standings. It’s also a quarter of their total in 2011, when they were second and a fifth of their total in 2010 when they led the way.
To match their end of season points total of 2012, Button and Perez will need to score 329 points between them. That’s the equivalent of seven 1-2 finishes plus a further 22 points in the remaining 10 races. They would need 448 to equal their 2011 total and 405 to match their 2010 effort.
The team are renowned for being strong in developing their car strongly throughout the season. For example, in the last two years they have scored more wins and podiums in the second half of the season than in the first.
In 2012, they had two wins in the first half of the year, but five in the second half. In 2011, it was two wins after nine races and a further four in the remaining races.
But McLaren have already said that they are putting a lot of resources into next year’s car, which will feature a 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine so even scoring a first podium of the season may be difficult. If they fail to do so, that would be a huge disappointment for the team considering they had 13 podiums in 2012, 18 in 2011 and 16 in 2010.
Button has insisted he is not tempted to leave the team recently saying: “If this was a team that was consistently finishing fourth or fifth in championship then of course I would look elsewhere.
“But this isn’t a team that is finishing four of fifth in the constructors’. This is a bad year and in years to come this team will be fighting for world championships. I am not looking around like some people might think.”
Button admitted a win would be difficult this season, but he’s confident the team are making progress. He said: “Of course, a win in 2013 is going to be difficult, but I actually think the team is working very well right now. In Germany, our tyre-usage, strategy and management of the race was as good as it’s ever been.
“It would be good to have a car with a little more pace to enable those calls to have a bit more impact at the front of the pack, but, for the moment, we can be satisfied by doing the best possible job in qualifying and on Sunday afternoon.”