McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says the team have made “dramatic changes” to their MP4-26 following problems in testing.
Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Whitmarsh said the team aim to be one second per lap quicker in the first race at Melbourne.
Whitmarsh said: “I’m not satisfied with where the car was on reliability or performance in the tests. We have made some dramatic changes to the car and those changes we’ll see in Australia.
“So there’s some risk in that but I think it was the right thing to do and we’re hoping that risk comes off and the car is a lot more competitive in Australia.”
He said the main changes were “a completely new floor and new exhaust system. There are a lot of other bits and pieces but they are the obvious ones.”
He described the exhaust as “a simpler design than we’ve had before in my view.
“I think the exhausts systems have become a lot more extreme on quite a lot of the cars. I think we in particular had a very extreme solution but they were not delivering, in my opinion, sufficient benefit for their complexity.”
He added: “I believe we need to unlock the exhaust-blowing potential and we have some very creative ideas, some of which could have worked spectacularly well, but in order to work spectacularly well, they have to be sufficiently durable to be race-able. And, frankly, some of our solutions weren’t and that’s why I think we had to go back a little bit.
“But I think in doing so we found some interesting performance. So we’ll see. I think it will still be a challenging weekend.”
He said the team expected to be a second per lap quicker: “I want us to be significantly quicker and I believe we’ve implemented some changes which are aimed are making the car over a second quicker than it was in the tests.
“The target, certainly, is to deliver more than a second in performance with the round of modifications we have for the Australian Grand Prix.”
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