McLaren are hoping to keep their championship changes alive by bringing a series of upgrades to the MP4-25 at Suzuka.
Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in McLaren’s managing director Jonathan Neale said:
We are taking a reasonable-sized package to Suzuka: Front wing upgrades, we’ve got a new rear wing and various aerodynamic details. What we’ve got is a big test package for Friday when we should be in a better position to say what we’re going to run in it. We’re taking everything we took to Singapore and some more to Japan.
He denied the team had become the “third force” in the championship behind Red Bull and Ferrari:
I don’t see it like that. I do think that looking at our performance in Hungary that we were going to have a bit of a challenge going into Singapore. When we locked out the second row of the grid we thought that was fantastic.
Had Lewis been able to get his way around Mark and make it stick I think we would be sitting here talking about a very different situation.
The remaining four races are circuits which we should be very competitive at. Everybody is going to be pushing very hard both at Ferrari and Red Bull. We’re doing exactly the same and we expect to go and win some of these races.
Neale also commented on the race-ending contact suffered by Lewis Hamilton in the last two races. He said there were no concerns over the strength of the McLaren:
No I don’t think that me have a concern about either the reliability or the durability of the car. I think that it’s unfortunate that this happened and Lewis has made contact. Obviously we’re very disappointed about that and so is Lewis.
Lewis is a force of nature – give him half an opportunity and he’s going to race hard. That’s what makes him the man he is and why he’s such a great racing driver and why he is and will be successful. Because he’s the kind of driver who, if you see him in your rear view mirror, he’s going to come and have a go.
The fact of the matter in Singapore was that Lewis had got the position, had the line and the grip and the pace to make it stick and, if Mark hadn’t made contact with him, would have got clear away. I don’t think there’s any fault or problem with that, but that’s motorsport – on occasion there is contact. I don’t think it’s in Lewis’s instinct to play a percentage game. But I do think Lewis is a learning animal and he will take all of these things and weigh up the risks. And he’s a great driver.
We don’t design the cars to have a Red Bull torpedo you amidships. The fact is the wheel broke, the tyre deflated and he was going nowhere. There’s nothing fragile about the car, we’ve made some pretty good contact with walls and cars and had the benefits of it so it’s swings and roundabouts – sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you don’t.
2010 Japanese Grand Prix
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