McLaren have “big test package for Friday”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2010

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2010

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.
Jonathan Neale

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.
Jonathan Neale

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.
Jonathan Neale

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43 comments on McLaren have “big test package for Friday”

  1. patrickl said on 6th October 2010, 12:23

    McLaren has been the third team just about all year. Car performance wise at least.

    • Alistair said on 6th October 2010, 12:31

      Which shows you just how good their drivers have been. The two best in F1, with Lewis at no: 1, imo.

      Alonso has made inummerable mistakes. Massa is rubbish. And with that RBR, Mark (or Seb) should already have won the WDC: the car is as good, relative to the opposition, as anything Schumi got his hands on.

    • Hare (@hare) said on 6th October 2010, 12:32

      I disagree, McLaren have been the No.2 team for much of the first half of the season, Ferrari have come back strongly recently. It’s taken teams a while to pull back some of the f-duct strengths the McLarens had in a straight line. Red Bull have been faster through the corners all season.

      It’s very much a three horse race in the sense that Ferrari , Red Bull and McLaren have strengths and weaknesses particular to each track. So we’ll see mixed results to the last race I think.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th October 2010, 12:35

        On pure pace, Ferrari have been number two to Red Bull more often than McLaren have. Data here: Who will have the best car for the final races? Top teams’ performance analysed

        • sumedh said on 6th October 2010, 12:47

          Actually, Mclaren have mostly been the 3rd fastest team or the fastest team at circuits.

          They were third fastest at most, but at Canada, Turkey and Spa, they were very much the fastest team on race-day.

          Also, they have the best car in the wet and 2 extremely good wet weather drivers, which allowed them to dominate the Chinese Grand Prix.
          But yeah, taking numbers alone, Mclaren have been no. 3 more than Ferrari have, but Mclaren have also been no.1 more than Ferrari have.

          • patrickl said on 6th October 2010, 14:23

            Ferrari were fastest on race day in Bahrain, Germany, Italy and Singapore.

          • sumedh said on 6th October 2010, 16:17

            Hate to be pedantic, but at Bahrain, Vettel easily had Alonso under control before his problem.

            (The next part of the comment is said, presuming you are going to counter-argue with Turkey as an example). However, same can’t be said about the Red Bull drivers at Turkey, they were really put into tremendous presure thanks to the Mclaren’s pace.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th October 2010, 14:29

          But judging from their speed, McLaren have been able to get more out of it in the races, from pace, strategy and driver skill.

          Very nice to see how close they are all year though.

      • Alistair said on 6th October 2010, 13:07

        I disagree with your disagreeing with me. Look at the races which Mclaren have won: Australia and China (Jenson); Turkey, Canada, and Spa (Lewis). Now, on which of these tracks did Mclaren have the best car?

        Jenson only won at Australia by either superbly judging the weather for an entire stint; or, as I believe, by having been forced to pit because he ruined his tyres before anyone else, realised then that he couldn’t beat Lewis on the same strategy, and gambled. Either way, luck or skill, the driver was the reason for the win not the car. Jenson’s other win was just as fortunate (or superbly crafted by him and not the car).

        Lewis wouldn’t have won at Turkey if the Red Bull drivers hadn’t decided to take each other out: Seb trying a hugely oportunistic move, braking off the racing line and driving into Webber; Webber, by refusing to budge a little. Lewis wouldn’t have won at Canada, either, if Alonso hadn’t been distracted by the backmarker, giving Lewis, the master-overtaker, a run on him. At Spa, lewis looked faster than Mark, just, all weekend. But the margin between them, look at qualifying and the race gap especially, was surely smaller than the gap between the drivers: once more, RBR had the best car.

        In summary, Mclaren did’t have the best car at any of the tracks, even those at which they won; the only race anyone can realistically question is Spa. RBR and Ferrari have had the best cars all year; Mclaren, the best drivers.

        • Younger Hamilton said on 6th October 2010, 20:28

          @Alistair Wrong and Biased, McLaren had the Best car in Turkey,Spa and Canada.In Turkey Both McLarens and Redbulls were running 1st-4th and the gap;2 seconds i feel Mark was holding up Lewis a bit in the first stint but in the second stint when Seb jumped Lewis by pitting early who knows what would have happenned if the Bulls didnt crash.In Canada all in Practice,Qualifying and the Race McLaren clearly had the fastest car.Lewis’s overtake on Fernando was opportunism not luck or a hold up by Buemi.In Spa Lewis would have had Pole if it werent for the rain coming into play in Q3 and well even if Mark didnt have a poor start Lewis would have passed him during the race look at the straight line speed difference.Seb passed Liuzzi into la source and then Liuzzi came back at him just after radillion.In China,Spain and Valencia McLaren had been 2nd fastest while the rest 3rd Fastest well for Suzuka that might change with the help of the upgrades,Suzuka being High speed and a low/medium downforce circuit McLaren should be at least 2nd Fastest if not THE Fastest.

      • spectator said on 6th October 2010, 14:37

        we are talking of performance pure speed not results

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 6th October 2010, 14:04

      I’m not sure about necessarily third, but they’ve usually punched above whatever their weight was on the weekend, except for Canada and maybe Turkey, Spa and Monza.

    • spectator said on 6th October 2010, 14:36

      Totally agree with you but for some reason they were doing well first half of the champ but luck ended and now they are struggling maybe another melbourne could happen this weakend or turkey and save mclaren

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing a Hamilton charge in the remaining races. Lets hope korea goes ahead eh? :)

    • Alistair said on 6th October 2010, 12:43

      Let’s hope that the Bulls don’t try more impossible overtaking moves. At the last race, lewis was ahead of Webber, by half a car length, and was on the grippy, racing line. Webber was well off the grippy, racing line and braked way too late to take the corner. He was certain to crash into Lewis, doing what he did; he therefore caused an avoidable collision and should have been penalised. What Seb did to Jenson at Spa was even worse…

      We’ve seen it countless times before: the Red Bull drivers are hot heads. Whenever you’re near them, be scared. Webber already took out Lewis, in a hopeless move, at Australia: after making a very good attempt to do the same earlier on! He sees red mist…

      Brundle is friends with Mark and seemingly won’t say a bad word against him.

  3. “McLaren are hoping to keep their championship changes alive……” Erm, that should be chances or not?

    I slowly getting tired of these promises and in the end nothing comes out of it!!

    Seriously considering if I should wake up at 03:00CET for FP1….. Anyway, lets see.

  4. Electrolite said on 6th October 2010, 12:27

    “When we locked out the second row of the grid we thought that was fantastic.”

    Why would they say this if they didn’t think they were the third team ;)

    I don’t think they have been the third team throughout the season, although I think they are now. It’s been unpredictable for Mclaren this year, who knows, they might just pull one out of the bag at Suzuka and everything will change.

    • I think they have been the 3rd team in all but 2 – 3 races.

      The team and drivers have definitely performed beyond the car.

      The opposite can be said of RBR, they have under performed massively, but for most of the session have had such an advantage that they’ve got away with it (so far).

      Typical Mclaren PR, how many times this year have we heard about upgrades that have not delivered.

      Also prior to the Singapore GP they said Singapore was their last ‘major’ update and there would only be minor tweaks for the remaining fly-aways.

      It’s worth remembering this update at Japan is again because they failed to get it working first off, another update that is a race late, (although they did try to bring the exhaust blown diffuser forward, but it was still later than Ferrari)

      • Alistair said on 6th October 2010, 13:24

        ‘The team and the drivers have definitely performed beyond the car’

        The team has been hopeless: they’ve given their drivers the third best car on the grid. They have also made bad strategy calls in several races (e.g., Australia, Lewis; Monza, Jenson). Their pit-stops are slow. And their reliablity has not been great (e.g., Monaco, Jenson; Spain and Hungary, Lewis)

        Make no mistake: the drivers are the reason for Mclaren’s sucsess. Amazingly, if Lewis hadn’t retired from the last two races, he would have scored an extra 24 points and still been leading the WDC – with the third best car, at round 15! (As for Lewis’s mistakes, compare them with those Alonso has made this year.)

        • OK, Ok, the drivers, :-) I was giving the team credit for a car that is stronger on race pace (still 2nd or 3rd), but when you list the team errors like that its amazing the drivers have managed to drag themselves into a championship fight.

        • Younger Hamilton said on 6th October 2010, 20:36

          AGAIN WRONG!!! Yes the team has made poor @Alistair pit stops and made some bad strategy calls but Jenson,A PART of the team made some good ones(Australia and China)Lewis would have scored more than 24 points and leading the championship with the third best car,that would have been staggering he’s also completely out performed the car in important situations(Silverstone,Valencia,Hungary and Singapore notably)Its amazing and not shocking that McLaren are well in this title fight and will be until the end of this season.Im guessing you’re a Red Bull fan, its alright to admit

  5. Scribe (@scribe) said on 6th October 2010, 12:46

    Jeez I hope it works this time, granted the vastly improved performance on the the kind of circuit that suits the car least was promising in quali but we can’t have tyre troubles like that again.

    Suzuka and Interlagos should suit our car well, Korea looks Redbully, although that first section could have been built for us, an Abu Dhabi looks like a one stop Ferrari shop.

    Please let this work huh, if we can win a title with the third fastest car this year, imagine what we might do if we actually get on the pace.

    • Alistair said on 6th October 2010, 13:32

      Lewis almost won the WDC with the second best car in ’07; did win the WDC with the second best car in ’08. Can he do one better: win the WDC with the third best car in ’10? I hope so. The good thing for us is that there are a number of updates to the Mclaren for Japan: those scheduled and the new floor that wasn’t raced last time out.

      Also, it’s expected to be a wet race at Japan: McLaren teritory. Jenson is very good in the wet. Lewis is the master: the only driver, since Senna, to win a wet race by over a minute (he also lapped his team-mate in that one: Silverstone 08).

  6. If this upgrade doesn’t work I think we can rule McLaren and their drivers out from both championships barring a freak result where they manage a win while Webber and Alonso retire.

    • Alistair said on 6th October 2010, 13:35

      Red Bull have had remarkable reliability for some time now. I can’t see this lasting. And Ferrari are putting some strain on their engines…

  7. SPIDERman said on 6th October 2010, 13:31

    I doubt that bringing updates this far when we have only four races or (3)? left to go will make Mclaren overtake the Ferrari or the red bull
    My view is that both Hamilton and Button just need to try and finish the remaining races in the top three places or kiss the championship good buy.
    They have had 14 races to sort the MP4P-25 out and it it has not worked well so far.

    • Alistair said on 6th October 2010, 13:43

      McLaren (Lewis and Jenson) are behind Red Bull and Ferrari and so must outscore them in the remaing races. It’s no good just finishing on the podium if your opposition tower above you. So McLaren either need to get the best car or pray for Red Bull and Ferrari unreliability. The only sensible strategy is to get the best car. They need these updates to work. If they don’t, then they must do what you say and just hope (pray?) for the best. What they must not do, now, is fail to finish, Mr Hamilton.

  8. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 6th October 2010, 14:19

    McLaren should be thinking about getting better strategies too. Their thinking in the last two races has been a little baffling and worryingly precedented.

    • patrickl said on 6th October 2010, 14:28

      There was nothing they could have done to prevent what happened though.

      Button was pretty much slower than Alonso in Alonso and they never had the gap to Webber in Singapore.

      Perhaps they could also have taken the gamble on switching tyres so early, but if you know you will be struggling on tyres then going almost the full distance on one set is pretty much out of the question.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 6th October 2010, 19:18

        We keep hearing so much about Button’s vaunted tyre management but they couldn’t keep him out a lap longer than Alonso? I know the team said the hard tyres were faster but that one lap of getting hem up to temperature in a slower car was what undid Button’s race.

        And in Singapore those soft tyres were going off at an incredible rate. yet they left their drivers out there for more laps. Shades of China 2007.

  9. Johnny86 said on 6th October 2010, 17:00

    Dont think ferrari were the fastest in singapore either..just a case of alonso’s brilliance and vettel’s underperformance.

  10. Michael said on 6th October 2010, 21:52

    The Constructor’s Title is the most important title. Ask any one that is a major figure within the team operation. The driver’s title is an offshoot. McLaren are gunning for the Constructor’s. They’d be ahead if it were not for Lewis’ mishaps in the last 2 races, which is quite amazing considering that Red Bull are the fastest.

    Their is a definite synergy in the Button-Hamilton pairing. I don’t even think the bosses at McLaren could have seen this. The press and the fans were thinking it was going to be the days of Prost-Senna. It’s been the opposite. The arrival of Button has matured Hamilton and made him an even better racer. It is unfortunate what happened to him in Monza and Singapore. Those were moments where Lewis should have dialed it back a little bit and looked at the big picture. He was doing that after Button’s second win and you saw the results…getting 3 wins of his own and lots of points. Button realizes you do not have to win all the battles to win the war. Hamilton did too, but he forgot that lesson the past 2 rounds.

    It is all still to play for. Webber has not been the fastest the past 2 rounds. Ferrari has reliability issues. Button is right….he is still very much in this championship, as is Lewis, and Vettel.

    • “The Constructor’s Title is the most important title. Ask any one that is a major figure within the team operation. The driver’s title is an offshoot.”

      LOL Really? What do people remember about 1986? Williams winning the constructors title? Or Williams losing the drivers’ title to a guy in a slower car? Ferrari won the constructors’ in 2008, but does that make up for the pain of losing the drivers’ title in the last corner to Hamilton? It could well be different for the people working in the team, but IMO the drivers’ title was and is the holy grail.

    • Electrolite said on 7th October 2010, 2:45

      Great comment, Michael, enjoyed the Prost-Senna expectation bit!

  11. f1yankee said on 6th October 2010, 23:07

    “We don’t design the cars to have a Red Bull torpedo you amidships.”

    the car should fall to pieces as it crosses the finish line
    vs.
    to finish first, first you must finish

    mclaren have faired quite poorly in fights this year. the ferraris look awfully tough, and i believe they handle high temps better than anyone else.

    • Electrolite said on 7th October 2010, 2:47

      That spawns an interesting point…

      Keith you should do a graph showing the correlation between temperature and team success at each race this year – if there’s a significant one. Or perhaps an article full of interesting little correlations.

  12. So what you’re saying is, if RBR’s drivers hadn’t taken Lewis out of the races, he would still be winning the Drivers Championship yeah??

    Exactly that, I thin RBR knew that Hamilton was faster than them & decided to take him & Button out of the races so that they would lose points!!

    As for Ferrari, if the cheating scum team had played by the rules, then Alonso wouldn’t be anywhere near the top, so there you have it, RBR take out there opponents & Ferrari cheat, so how is McLaren supposed to cope with that???

    F1 is turning into a diabolical sport for cheaters & crap drivers, the FIA does stand for Ferrari International Assistance too bloody right!!!

    • MacLeod said on 7th October 2010, 14:45

      Maybe should McLaren stick a hit me sign on the pods… If your are correct Vettel is going to take out Hamilton in this race to make sure Weber is winning. And Alonso will be promoted several places up just from the blue sky.

      Lets hope McLaren has some good upgrades so Hamilton can finish ahead without any crashing.

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