Hamilton says McLaren need more testing

2011 F1 testing

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Lewis Hamilton said he hopes the team are able to do more testing before the start of the season as doubts grow over the fourth test in Bahrain.

Speaking to journalists in Barcelona he said: “More testing is better for everyone.

“This year is a little different than last, last year we had a tyre everyone knew, now we are getting used to new tyres, rear wing, KERS, completely new compounds of tyres. With more testing we would get better.

“I’ll be happy if we get the test. Let’s see what happens.”

He admitted that if the Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled or postponed it would be good for McLaren:

“I hope its not the case. But the more time we have, the better it is for us. I won’t complain if we have a bit more time given to us.”

Hamilton is concerned about the rate of wear on the new Pirelli tyres: “It’s very strange. At the start of the race you try to preserve tyres and today I drove a bit easier on my first long run, but the tyres went away.

“There was nothing I could do in the second run, I tried to look after them even more but I was going so slow. It’s not particularly exciting, but they lasted a bit longer. I don’t know what that’s going to be like in a race though.”

Hamilton described the MP4-26′s performance as “OK, not too bad” but added: “It’s difficult to know how much is the tyres and how much is the car.

“The tyres are very difficult to use this year. When we come to Barcelona, it’s even more important than it was the last two tests.”

Hamilton admitted to concerns – also voiced by team mate Jenson Button yesterday – that other teams have completed more laps with their new cars:

“We had a few technical issues, we were able sort out though. We did 90-odd laps today, that’s an improvement, a good step for us.

“Yes, we want to get more mileage. I hope to do that tomorrow.”

Asked about Ferrari and Red Bull he said: “They did lots of laps, [Mark] Webber did 140!

“All I can do is laugh. It’s incredible what they are doing, it’s fantastic they managed to get that many laps, but slowly and surely, I’m sure we will get there.”

He’s hopeful the team will get on top of their problems: “I think any reliability issues are a concern but we have got great people around me who are intelligent, who are able to solve potential issues we have. That’s how we work as a handle the challenges.

“Of course we would love not have any problems, but then it would be easy.”

Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves

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59 comments on Hamilton says McLaren need more testing

  1. Do they still think it was a good idea to launch the car so late? I’m already looking forward for 2012 season. This year will be a mess for Mclaren. I’m not looking forward to it. Hope next yar they can make a winning car.

    • It might not be a loss cause. This is only testing and, important and all as it is, you can’t read too much into it.

      You’ll remember in 2009, when Mclaren built a dog at the start of the year, their rate of development improved their car hugely and it brought them some excellent results in the second half of the year.

      Don’t write them off as yet.

      • 2_ UgandanDiscussions said on 20th February 2011, 20:05

        Mr Spud, you can choose not to “read too much” into testing but if during tersting you find the car is gobbling up the tyres in every lap, then it’s time to scratch your head and ask questions. What about when race day dawns and the car hasn’t tamed its appetite for the Pirellis?

        • Fair point, but you could say they same for 2009 when they were at the back of the grid. I’m fairly sure they were asking questions then too. The car wasn’t working properly then but they solved some of the problems at least and their season didn’t go so badly after. Sure it wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t a complete disaster either.

          • 2_ UgandanDiscussions said on 20th February 2011, 21:01

            A near disaster isn’t worth many many sponsors’ cheque, especially if it becomes all too frequent and for a team like McLaren, if we had a rendition of 2009, it would just be too soon. I hope they get to grips with the problem pronto. I would like to see them as close to the top as possible, not just because I am a fan myself but also to give us a credible competition.

          • Andy C said on 21st February 2011, 10:22

            I don’t think they want to start that far back. They made the car quicker by about 1.5 seconds from start of year to end. But remember that they were also one of only a couple of teams to have Kers working well that year too.

          • tharris19 said on 21st February 2011, 14:17

            What is disturbing is they have been consistently behind the curve come testing over the past two years. The MP4-24 was a dog; the MP4-25 did not respond to being developed. It is getting hard to understand and appreciate McLaren’s technical prowess. Perhaps Red Bull is the new standard by which Formula 1 is judged?

        • Not a Mclaren fan by the way.

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 20th February 2011, 20:40

          The other cars are “gobbling up the tyres” at the same rate.

      • anTONIo said on 20th February 2011, 20:19

        You’re right, but the truth is that the first half of the season was complete write off. It’s too much if you ask me mate…

    • Lemon (@lemon) said on 20th February 2011, 20:07

      Ha yeh exactly what im thinking. although this is what I said at the start of last season (and the one before) at bahrain when they admitted the car wasn’t great. Whats to say it won’t just happen all over again next year, mclaren dont seem to be learning from their mistakes! I think hamilton should just drop Mclaren all together he’s far too good for them!

      • knottybwoy said on 21st February 2011, 6:09

        Mclaren is bluffing…everyone will be too confident that they don’t have to worry bout Mclaren…they’re hiding their true power…

    • Andrew said on 21st February 2011, 13:02

      Hey David,

      There’s no need to judge yet when the season still hasn’t started, McLaren know what the problems and as we seen in 2009, they can recover very quickly. :)

  2. “All I can do is laugh. It’s incredible what they are doing, it’s fantastic they managed to get that many laps, but slowly and surely, I’m sure we will get there.”

    You know… slowly is not something that goes well in Formula 1…

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 20th February 2011, 21:34

      I translated his comment there in my head to “OH MY GOD! WE’RE SCREWED!!”

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 7:45

        That crossed my mind as well. Laughing is better than crying after all!

        I would love them to get that car sorted out though, and really make it another multiple team battle for the title this year.

      • tharris19 said on 21st February 2011, 14:23

        Lewis is the canary in McLaren’s coal mine. They have some serious problems with that car. I won’t hold my breath in anticipation of a good year for Hamilton or Button.
        However, the challenge of driving this potential dog of a car to it’s limits and making it look exciting will be Lewis’s task of the upcoming year.

  3. 2_ UgandanDiscussions said on 20th February 2011, 19:51

    I’m a Mac man but I must admit I’m beginning to get worried by their lack of testing mileage. And reading Lewis’ comments makes me believe they are indeed in deep doodoo as regards taming the tyre!

  4. Actually, if Bahrain is cancelled, when does the in-season testing ban begin?

    • Stefanauss said on 20th February 2011, 20:07

      It could be a matter of only 15 days allowed, probably. Don’t know.

    • DeadManWoking said on 20th February 2011, 20:24

      Sporting Regs

      22.1 c) No track testing may take place between the start of the week preceding the first Event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year

      • ElChiva said on 20th February 2011, 20:36

        Doh!

        • Dianna said on 20th February 2011, 21:00

          Lewis needs to think of a change of team for next year.

          • Webbers place at RBR?

          • Why Dianna? Mclaren gave him his first title and his first car was brilliant too, 09 they developed well, 2010 was a competitive year and 2011 is an unknown esp with the tyres but they’re a very capable team.

            The next best options would be Ferrari but Fernando is there or RBR but Vettel is pretty settled there and they have Webber who is strong and Daniel Ricciardo as their young driver.

          • I agree with you Steph. Mclaren are a very capable team. Since he got into the F1 team he has been competitive every season. Even if the car was a dog in the first half of the 2009 season, they did very well turn it into a race winner in the second half.

            Again Mclaren are a very capable team, with two very capable drivers. As
            2_ UgandanDiscussions says in his replies to me above, the sponsors might not be best pleased if this years car isn’t great but this may just be a blip. You could say, every team is starting on a blank page so it’s too early to say whether Mclaren won’t do well.

            I wouldn’t write them off just yet at all.

          • why?

          • Tim (@legardism) said on 20th February 2011, 21:57

            I’m sure RBR would prefer hamilton over ricciardo just as much as he would prefer a front-runing car. That said, it’s always good to see how HAM can outperform the capabilities of a lesser car..

          • Tim (@legardism) said on 20th February 2011, 21:59

            Then again, Mclaren aren’t exactly in danger of producing a ‘lesser’ car. They managed to win in 09, after all.

          • Andrew G said on 21st February 2011, 5:19

            Not so sure RBR would prefer Hamilton over Ricciardo. Ricciardo’s ‘fun’ and ‘nice guy’ personality is probably more suited to the Red Bull image. A world champion in Vettel with a Rookie Ricciardo would be a good combination.

      • John H said on 20th February 2011, 22:04

        When is the ‘first Event of the Championship’ exactly?

  5. Shagrathian said on 20th February 2011, 21:27

    Let it be easy, Lewis. :(

  6. John H said on 20th February 2011, 22:02

    I’ve got an idea… how about attending the first test?

    Genius eh?… Can I have a job at McLaren please Martin?

    • John H said on 20th February 2011, 22:02

      With the new car of course ;)

      • The whole point was to get a benchmark for the tyres so they could directly compare them to last years. We will not know if that was a good decision until the first race weekend.

        It does seem as if pretty much all the teams are having the same problem with the tyres, so who knows what will happen?

  7. sparky said on 20th February 2011, 23:03

    so is there a reason they can’t make up the testing days they have missed with private test days?

    • Coefficient said on 21st February 2011, 8:49

      They haven’t missed any tests, they just used an updated version of the old car in the first test.

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 21st February 2011, 1:16

    If Bahrain Testing is canceled then they should go for testing in other track,there are many in Europe.

  9. Yea Im worried too Lewis

  10. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 21st February 2011, 1:28

    Oh my. I’m actually believing all this stuff about about the new McLaren being behind now. I’m not reading into the testing times, but these interviews are the more revealing things. How is it amazing what RBR and Ferrari are doing? They just got started on time and have driven loads of laps. A team like McLaren could have done that surely.

    It should be called the MP4-2sh**s at this rate.

    • Yeah, as far as he is talking of mileage that will eventually come with time, I am Ok.

      It will be scary when he says:”I cant get the tyres working well enough” or “the car is simply not fast”…..

  11. Not sure what the Paranoia is about regarding McLaren. These comments means nothing. Everybody has different test programmes and media/drivers make things interesting by these little remarks. But otherwise up until Qualifying and the first few laps of the first race everybody is as good and as bad as the others.

    McLaren is one of the oldest, Most Matured, best funded, best driven and best managed teams and I am sure they have a plan and know where to put their money. Getting worried ahead of time is not worthy enuf.

    • knottybwoy said on 21st February 2011, 6:16

      as i’ve said, their bluffing…they’re not that stupid to just waste this year’s challenge. wait for the first battle and for sure they’ll bring out their shining armor. :-)

      • knottybwoy said on 21st February 2011, 6:23

        they’re hiding some things from their new car which they don’t want others to have time to copy. pretending they have lots of issues with the car and got another dog so opponents won’t bother to investigate bits & pieces of their new design. has anyone published or bother to see where their new exhaust is and what more innovations they have in their car after not topping the past tests? see? hahaha. wise guys!

  12. Electrolite said on 21st February 2011, 5:12

    Oh my. I’m actually believing all this stuff about about the new McLaren being behind now. I’m not reading into the testing times, but these interviews are the more revealing things. How is it amazing what RBR and Ferrari are doing? They just got started on time and have driven loads of laps. A team like McLaren could have done that surely.

    It should be called the MP4-2****@ at this rate.

  13. quick_kill said on 21st February 2011, 7:08

    all the more better?! a racer like lewis behind the queue.. more action!!
    and to prove to all naysayers — who says lewis just got a lucky seat at mclaren, wrong!

    not sure about jenson though

  14. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st February 2011, 7:57

    I expect McLaren will be fine. Let’s wait until the first race. HRT got through 2010 with NO testing and didn’t even finish last!

  15. McLarenFanJamm said on 21st February 2011, 8:48

    At the risk of being declared “deluded” or a “fan boy” I think you should wait and reserve judgement for the first race of the season (whenever that may be).

    The testing thus far hasn’t been disasterous, they certainly haven’t turned up and found themselves 3.5s behind the front runners like they did in 2009. Reliability is a bit of an issue, granted, but given their record with reliability over the past few seasons I’m confident they can get a handle on things.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2011, 8:56

      Agreed. Reliability is not a constant – Sauber were pretty reliable in pre-season testing last year but had all kinds of problems once the season started.

    • Andy C said on 21st February 2011, 13:20

      Hurray! A sensible comment :-)

      I think they’ll start a little off the pace of Ferrari and RB, but I would be amazed if they don’t get there or thereabouts by the start of the season.

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