Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

McLaren aim to find a second with “dramatic changes” to car

2011 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

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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155 comments on “McLaren aim to find a second with “dramatic changes” to car”

  1. Looks like the fancy “octopussy” blowing all over the rear will not see racing tracks anytime soon. Good to see they had time to bring something that does work.

    Now wait and see weather it really will.

    1. A second? This a joke.U need more than 6 races to get 8tens.

      1. And you base this on… ?
        There haven’t been a single race, and the teams will have already found more then a second since they rolled their cars out for the first time. Of course what matters is relative performance improvement, which is easier to find with a slower car, especially for such a team as McLaren.

      2. Mercedes pulled a second between Barcelona tests.

        1. nah they just ran with less fuel

          1. An loads of visibly apparent upgrades.

  2. They were foxing!

  3. Lets hope you can find this extra second, I really want to see Mclaren up with the best from the start, not just playing catch up. The tyres will have the biggest impact and lets not forget whoever can perform the quickest and error free pit stops should do well. I think last year Merc were the fastest in the pitts so could be a good year for them. Really cant wait now, its been to long.

    1. Lets hope you can find this extra second

      Mercedes did it in Barcelona. I see no reason why McLaren shouldn’t be able to as well.

      1. I think that Mercedes brought ‘planned’ upgrades to the car in Barcelona and according to Brawn, they started the testing with the minimum of new parts to get a baseline for reliability and the tires. Completely different then what Mclaren are trying to do here. Either way, it means nothing in both cases as we didn’t know what the true pace was of the Cars were before the on second improvement, so they could say whatever they wanted in terms of the amount of time it brings to the car. Our cars pace is currently ‘?????’, we’re going to gain a second of improvement with this upgrade so our cars pace is ‘Current pace here’. Then they can claim their engineers are genius because the upgrade worked!

        1. True. There’s usually a big difference between planned upgrades and scrambling to make up for lost time upgrades.

          1. But it’s not like McLaren are simply bolting parts onto the car and hoping they will work. As soon as they knew that the exhaust system was going to be a problem that was not easily solved, they would have stated looking at alternative solutions and developed them parallel to the old-spec parts.

          2. I agree with what PM says here. Also, it might well be that even before the test, they had a (several?) back up idaes ready.

            Whitmarsh sounds as if they had a big discussion before using the complicated bit, first won by the engineers that worked on that; while others remained sceptical of the tradeoff made. After testing, those were proved right, and might well have been working on a back-up already.

  4. I still believe that McLaren will be competitive. They’re a great team and Hamilton is an extraordinary driver.

    It would be pretty unwise to underestimate them. I’m sure they will be successful when dealing with the changes, and will become a formidable competitor to any team out there.

    This comment coming from a well known Alonso supporter…

  5. I am getting indecently excited about the weekend – I really need to try and calm down…

    1. I already tried Rob, it doesn’t work. By Friday I’m probably going to be foaming at the mouth.

      1. Practice starts Thursday evening for me, which somehow makes it seem sooner, even though it’s just as long to wait for all of us… Three days and a handful of hours to go now until FP1!!!

    2. Lol guys, i am sorry Rob unless you find something really important to do that will keep yF1 outta your mind for a bit there is nothing you can do. Only 3 days left and still feels like 30.

      1. I’ve got an R.S GCSE mock and and French GCSE speaking controlled assessment and a Spanish controlled assessment speaking. These philistines don’t know how important F1 is to me!>:-(

        1. As long as you get over a C GCSE’s mean nothing, and mocks have literally no impact except slightly preparing you for how the exams are laid out.

  6. Come on McLaren..!! :D

    I really hope that they find the extra second. I’d hate to see the team beat by an energy drink again haha. With Lewis in such high spirits personally, McLaren need to perform NOW to get the best out of him..

    Bring on Melbourne :D

      1. substructure
        24th March 2011, 17:20

        is that a birdman reference??

  7. lol… I just tweeted a reply to Keith before I saw this article. A lot of us thought that weeks ago and it’s good to hear Whitmarsh finally saying it now.

  8. Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in

    It’s quite relevant to use the phone if your sponsor is Vodafone, nevermind it just made me laugh.

    And a risky move to make dramitic changes if you ask me. I wonder if the U’s are still there.

    1. They were going back and forth with a new forward exhaust system and and a rear system during testing. It takes hours to change the system so they lost a lot of testing time.

      But they knew they had a problem, so why not feed in the data you have from testing and change the exhaust configuration and floor board (which suggests that that are trying a different forward exhaust system) again to see what happens?

      1. The new floor definitely makes it sound like it might be a FEE like Renault, but I think there’s a good chance it could be a Red Bull/Ferrari type exhaust as well, based on Whitmarsh’s comments on it being a much more conventional type exhaust. If all the rumors about the octopus exhaust were true though, even the FEE is probably more “conventional” for them.

  9. McLaren will certainly be interesting to follow in Friday practice sessions thoughout this year, in terms of experimentation. Looking forward to see what they come up with regarding the exhaust – assuming they’ll be able to find a way to make the most of it.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking along the same lines, they are probably fitting a Saturn V Rocket to it, or a warp drive button, etc etc etc.

      A second is a lot of time to find in such a short space of time, but McLaren have shown before that they are pretty good at playing catch up.

      1. ahhaha lol!
        I didn’t resist to post it! Yes a second is a lot but McLaren is always full of nice ideas, agree.

        1. I thought that this was the latest shot. I see they’ve ditched DRS.

          1. That doesn’t look like it’s going to corner particularly well…

    2. NICE!

      Off topic, ut it’s funny how the BT46B runs on Avon tires while it has Goodyear stickers! I guess they can no longer get matching Goodyears for it.

  10. Lots of optimism in this thread. Does anyone not think that bringing a load of untested, second-choice solutions to the first race of the season because the first lot didn’t work is not exactly cause for celebration? We’ll see if they can find that second, but it surely won’t be as simple as bolting on new parts and suddenly outdeveloping every other team on the grid.

    1. What you’re missing is that the new exhaust system is designed to channel all the hot air from McLaren press releases over the diffuser generating huge amounts of downforce.

      1. hahaha COTD!

      2. Hahaha, very good. ;)

      3. COTD for sure! Brilliant, made laugh out loud in class!

      4. LMAO Ads!! :) Good stuff.

      5. Nice one!!!

      6. Best! Comment! Ever!

    2. No-one said it would be simple, but these are clever people wekre talking about.

      1. No one argues that about McLaren… but it may be a question of being a bit to clever?

        1. Funnily enough, they’re moving away from being too clever, which is a good thing considering their history (MP4-18 anyone?). Even in recent times, they got the relatively simple DDD and outwash front wing working but came unstuck with the EBD last year and their exhausts this year.

          1. Weal, I thought this years car was a clasic example of McLaren being to clever for their own good.

            Especially when you consider Ferrari and Redbull are leading the feild by attempting to perfect last years designs. McLaren, with their penchant for extreme development would have been ideally set up to do this, an out develop the other two from a well understood base over the year.

            Instead they got a little silly. An now, as Red Andy said, there trying to find a second, with second choice solutions, talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  11. Probably a relief to McLaren fans. I’ve never thought that they will just sit and watch the Reb Bulls and the horses taking the points away. Let’s see if they [the changes] will work.

    1. Is it for the fans or the sponsors?
      I mean, McLaren must be one of the most expensive teams to sponsor and you would not want to see your logo running midfield.

      Maybe this is a reassurance to those investors that they will be seen at the front of the field, or if not that they will.

      With the increasing competition on track and tightening economic world, I wonder how the competition for sponsors is fairing?

  12. I hope it comes off. Might make for a more exciting start to the season if the likes of Lewis and Jenson can actually get amongst the front rows of the grid from the start.

  13. Good to hear after people were lining up to say the year would be a disaster even before Race 1. They’ll still be a bit behind I think but as they come to know the car better I think they’ll be right up there like in mid-2010.

    1. Agreed, they are 1st class, fast and motivated. Not to mention well funded.

    2. Weal, mutch as I am a McLaren fan, I almost enjoy the frustration at times an it looked, an still in many ways does look, like it was going to be one of those years.

      If they can get the car on the pace for the European season however, I’ll be absolutley delighted with my humble pie, an still awesome looking car.

      I just so wish that McLaren can bag the titles this year or soon, so the team can keep Hamilton for a start. An actually deliver upon there enourmous potential.

  14. Are Ferrari and RBR not brining a major upgrade as well?

    1. I think rather no. They had very strong reliability and performance, so probably small corrections for the track itself, but nothing major, I guess.

      1. I doubt anyone else will bring major untested upgrades unless they have to.

        I’m sure McLaren thought their new car would be quick the first time round so I wouldn’t guarantee that this major upgrade will work… Sounds like an extreme change though so we’ll have to see. Could go either way.

        1. I don’t think so they will stick to their plans as they know that they have things in their bag.

  15. Doesn’t this mean that McLaren kind of wasted their pre season testing?

    1. Yes it does if you think like that. What they did was to find out their ideas during the off season weren’t working.

      It’s really not wasted, but it means that they start the season behind the 8 ball.

      1. Yea, with Alex Bkk on this. Not so much a waste…just not beneficial in the way they were hoping!

    2. No. McLaren had always been saying that they were looking to obtain track data for their simulator. May be they found enough correlation and from the results on the simulator see a 1 sec advantage on track.

      1. Afonso Ronda
        21st March 2011, 17:56

        No. That was only for the first test. For the 3 remaining they ran the challenger for 2011. But their original design is unreliable and performance wise was also poor. That’s why they are going for a different approach that is at this stage untested.

        1. No they were pretty much gathering data for most of their 2011 running too.

  16. In those first few races you definitely want to ‘be there’, when things turn out differently then expected. From that perspective you would sacrifice some speed for reliability.

    I do like it that they have such complex ideas that the car becomes unreliable. Pushing the envelope!

    1. eternalsunshine
      21st March 2011, 12:37

      Thought of the same thing. Trading off speed for reliability seems dodgy. While they may start in front, hope they finish the race as well.

  17. I really hope it works but we heard alot of updates talk last year, only a few of which actually delivered.

    No wonder they were queueing to get into work @ MTC this morning (I drive past every morning)

    Fingers crossed for me anyway.

  18. I wonder if the bumpiness of Albert Park will be less of a problem for McLaren this year? Didn’t see much evidence one way or another of the relative stiffness of the MP4-26 during testing. That was one of their issues last year, the stiffness required to make their aero package work properly.

    1. That was down to the size of their diffuser, another slightly ill though out McLaren concept.

      There’s no reason this years car should suffer in the same way, but if the grip ain’t there, McLarens probably in more trouble then there letting on.

      1. wasnt the stiffness issue down to the suspension design of the 2010 car? >

        1. Exaclty, but that suspension layout was designed to keep the super duper DD connected and optimized in the back.

  19. Well, this kind of sudden change usually doesn’t work.

    1. Like McLaren”s upgrade in 2009, or Ferrari and the EBD last year?

      1. BOOOOOOOM

        I prey if it comes. It comes on time.

      2. It doesn’t sudden change. Mclaren in 2009 and Ferrari’s EBD took time to enable.

      3. Don’t forget when Mclaren first adopted EBD last year. They struggled so much.

      4. Sorry for my English. Well, I think it maybe work, but probably later than Melbourne. You would remember Mclaren was not got faster suddenly in 2009 and EBD too. When Mclaren first adopted EBD, in my memory, they struggled with it so hoping it would work later, they had to ditch it. even it had been developed several month in factory, it didn’t work immediately.

        How about this update? Mercedes have improved their car at 11th hour, but at least W02 is not so trouble maker. Considering their poor reliablity in testing, they should focus on reliability, so change should be conservative one. Unless they should deal with new package with unproven reliability and speed at once and we know it’s very difficult. If the update is conservative one and fast, it does mean their radical exhaust concept was totally failed.

        1. You would remember Mclaren was not got faster suddenly in 2009

          Silverstone: fighting Renault for 16th
          Nurburgring: fighting Webber for the lead into Turn 1
          Hungary: won the race

          1. And that was after how many months of development work at the factory and what 10?? (random guess) grand prix weekends. I think thats the point eggry is trying to get at.

            These new updates seemed rushed compared to the ones of 09, i dont think they will immediately gain a second at melbourne, but they will be faster. When we finish the fly aways i think they will be on or very near the pace. That is, of course, if the updates do work as planned.

          2. I’m with Julien on this one. I would be amazed if they could bring a seconds worth of speed in Melbourne, especially considering it has never actually been tested on the car prior to this weekend. I would expect an increase in Mclarens performance to occur sometime after the flyaway rounds. That being said they are the one team I would back to evolve that quickly.

          3. But Julian, in 2009 McLaren had a problem of finding where they went wrong. They spent testing and quite a lot of races learning from that. After finding the problem, the update was brought out in a couple of weeks.

            Now they know where the problems are and just bring more conservative solutions.

  20. Proesterchen
    21st March 2011, 12:58

    Just what were they hoping for with their more intricate first choice if nixing it and going rather more conventional is supposed to add a full second to their pace?

    The exhaust they tried to bring to Melbourne must both have not worked at all AND broken all the time if they hope to find so much time!

    1. Don’t forget, it was never going to work 100% straight out of the box. So they probably hoped it would give lots of performance, if only they could find the right configuration, but it kept breaking, so.

  21. Sounds like an act of desperation to quash the growing pressure on whitmarsh & mclaren.

    Its all very well making changes, but the end line is still…..They havent got enough milleage under their belts so who knows if they will work?

    Milleage is everything, so new parts, old parts or developed parts mean nothing if they havent been realisticly tested on track. You cant find the reliability from a simulator.

    I think mclaren have humiliated themselves again for consistantly under performing in the design department again. And as the public flogging is increasing and no sign of letting up, they have now resorted to scrapping most of the new design and reverted back to an old design (what a waste and disaster by the designers).

    Mclaren will be under major pressure right now from sponsors, fans and even now their best driver.

    This new car will baasically be the 2010 car but without the double difuser and with new L-pods.
    -the whole design team heads need to be given their P45s inc whitmarsh.

    1. “This new car will baasically be the 2010 car but without the double difuser and with new L-pods.”

      Not to sound overly defensive, but how do you know all of this?

      1. Afonso Ronda
        21st March 2011, 18:07

        Because effectively the complex exhaust and floor were the radical changes (among the L-pods) for 2011. They will revert to something they know it works = iteration from last year.

        1. bleeps_and_tweaks
          21st March 2011, 22:41

          I think this is a pretty sweeping statement, and not entirely accurate either. The MP4-25 was built around the DD, which was the route of the cars issues with rake, and the incredibly stiff suspension required to get the diffuser to generate its downforce. Having done away with the DD, tested front wing flexibility and moving to pullrod suspsension – I’d say that was a few important changes!
          In the final Barca test Mclaren did run the MP4-26 with Mercedes style mid sidepod exhaust exits, I think it’ll be something along the lines of that, or the flattened RBR/Ferrari system – but thats pure guess work. I can’t bloody wait until Friday!!!

  22. This should be very interesting if McLaren can improve by a second. They have been quite positive about the first race, in spite of rather modest testing performance. Maybe they has been sandbagging all along.

  23. So if they’re a second of the pace in Melbourne, does this mean the ‘radical’ exhaust and floor was really 2 seconds off the pace?

  24. If they realy have gained a second, surely that will put them right up in the front pack! But, why tell us now, it would have been better to blow everyone away on Saturday qually. So I reckon it is to reasure the sponsors.

  25. Robert McKay
    21st March 2011, 13:40

    They should have just made the changes a bit more quietly and shut up about how much pace it brings. If it works they are suddenly well in the mix for victory and if it doesn’t work then everyone goes “well, Mclaren’s pre-season testing looked shonky at best”.

    Now Whitmarsh has put comments like ” a second per lap” it’s just more visible if it doesn’t work – or, even worse, does give them a second per lap but they still get creamed by RBR and Ferrari.

    Don’t see what’s gained by yelling about it before the weekend begins.

    1. Because sponsors want answers now, not a surprise at the track. Besides, it will be a confidence boost, instead of turning up and hoping for the best.

      1. Robert McKay
        21st March 2011, 14:22

        Is it really that pressing that it can’t wait 1 week?

        I take the point it will be a confidence boost – but if it doesn’t work, then the damage will be greater than if they’d said nothing.

        1. Who knows what sponsors’ demands are? They don’t see F1 the way we do. And I don’t think McLaren would talk themselves up without having some surety of improvement, for the reasons you said.

    2. Then again, nobody knew really how far off the pace they were before improving this one second, so they will be able to stick to it no matter what times they set.

  26. 1s does seem rather ambitious to be honest! Friday is going to be their first oppurtunity to test these components and by the end of FP2 we should know whether or not there is any truth in what McLaren are saying.

  27. ralph schumacer
    21st March 2011, 13:49

    i am a die hard McLaren fan but i cant help but to be slightly skeptical at the comments made my MW. U dont just find a second as if it was lying under a rug somewhere at the factory. These new parts havent even been tested and as far as i understand.. Units such as exhausts need to be tested over race distances just in case the exhausts sets parts of the car on fire. Lets wait until 3rd practise and we’ll see where the car stands.. Too soon to say parts work

    1. Let’s hope they do all the running they can then, even if it’s on destroyed tyres, reliability will definitely be important.

      1. bleeps_and_tweaks
        21st March 2011, 22:47

        Yep, you’ve got to imagine there are going to be some long runs for Jenson and Lewis in free practice, as long as the tyres hold up.

        @Ralph Schumacer – I get what you mean, it has annoyed me a bit too over the last couple of years how much shouting has been done about perceived performance gain from updates, which on a whole just haven’t materialised. The last time anyone was able to ‘find a second’ was in 2009 with the MP4-24, and that took half a season and almost a completely different car!

  28. I agree that to find a full second is not usual other than when a major fault has been found. And I agree that usually a gain of that magnitude comes from a car that was terribly slow to begin with…ie. top cars have to stretch just to find a tenth or two as their package already works as designed and can usually just be tweeked.

    But I don’t blame Mac for their extreme redesign… they had to try something to close the gap to RB and Ferrari…Unreliability got in their way of testing to the max, and now they’ve decided on something to improve the situation…I think this is normal for F1 and what is not normal vs. past years is the lack of testing in general and the abscence of in-season testing. Therefore Mac and everyone else will have to continue their development on race weekends.

    Based on that I wish them luck and believe that if anyone can close the gap they can, but I suspect that moreso than ever if you don’t nail your package in the off season it is damn hard to catch up.

    I agree with the above comment that they shouldn’t have said anything, unless they are trying to appease their sponsors, and they should have just brought it out, theoritacally impressed everyone, and then explained what they did to achieve the gain after the fact if said gain occurred.

    1. Saying that they can only find a second when the car was terribly slow to begin with… it was a good second off the pace at the fastest point in the tests and they are changing their exhaust back to a more conventional solution so they should be able to find a second fairly simply

      I at least hope anyway… they have one of the best drivers going in Lewis, they need to provide him a decent car!

  29. I’d love it if they somehow did a Brawn and wiped the floor with the rest of the field this weekend.

  30. Think that all this negativity towards Mclaren is a bit amusing, sure they have not been at the sharp end of testing but then they have constantly maintained that they have been mainly data gathering and not testing ultimate pace, combined with various comments from JB & LH about the fact there is pace in the car, never done a complete light fuel quali run, JB posting faster times than Webber when he had that thing strapped to the nose of the car simply says to me they have held something back and 1 sec is not solely down to the new parts but that they are pretty sure that they are quicker than we think anyway. I predict a few raised eyebrows at the end of the race

    1. EXACTLY Welshie, some teams concentrated on running their cars round and round. McLaren was seeing far into the season. with measuring equipment on the nose they now know the car better and it’s not surprising for them to know if they have found 1 sec. People rely too much on the testing to judge, let’s wait for the race not long anymore….

      1. F1lover…I am glad I have found someone who is on same wavelength as me, sure RB, Ferrari & Mercedes will be quick but have they shown all they have at present ?? I believe they will develop but Mclaren will also be there.

  31. I think Mclaren can pull something back but if they manage to make a load of upgrades work over one race weekend and develop themselves to the front of the grid already then I’ll be mega impressed.

    The last few days there have been a few comments that Mclaren aren’t delivering a car good enough for Lewis (which I disagree with) but I don’t want to forget Jenson either. Hamilton’s real trump card over Jenson was his incredible ability in qualifying to pull a few tenths out of the bag but back in the Michelin days that used to be an area Jenson excelled in so maybe it might close up between them a little more on a Saturday. So I’m not just interested to see if Mclaren can pull some time back- which I think in 09 they showed they’re more than capable ofn doing that- but how the drivers fair too.

    1. I agree, if they make these changes and get the reliabilty they seem to be struggling with it will be an impressive acheivement. The fact that they have effectively binned the development work at the other tests (changing exhausts and floorpans are extensive changes) is a bit of a roll of the dice. Can’t wait till Friday i reall hope this works for Jenson and Lewis.

  32. so do we expect to see the U shaped sidepods last all season..?

    or is something like that unchangeable..?

    1. Not a homologated area but from what I understand they arn’t the problem as such, although, I’m not sure there helping.

      Silly exhausts

      1. I’m no expert but doesn’t the configuration of the u shaped sidepods obstruct the amount of air flowing into the diffuser from the ‘coke bottle zone’ at the side. The area where Red Bull are very strong. clearly the trade off of air over the top of the side pods isnt equal to that which can be gained from from the side, hence this probably plays a part in McLarens lack of downforce.

        1. bleeps_and_tweaks
          21st March 2011, 22:54

          The U shaped sidepods are designed to channel air to the beam wing at the rear of the car, this has become a key area for downforce for every team since the double-diffuser was banned.

          Check this out for a brilliant review by ScarbsF1:

          I would expect the sidepods to stay for a while yet as the radiators and cooling systems are all integrated to fit into that shape, which I would imagine be a big job to change.

  33. They’re hardly going to say “If you think we look crap, it’s because we are”. Of course you’re going to come out and say more positive things if the perspective the fans have is one of mediocrity.

    This is the modern McLaren, where innovation either works straight out the box (f-duct) or takes them far too long to come up with and perfect a viable solution to something (EBD).

    McLaren over the last few years simply cannot copy someone else’s idea and get it to work correctly in a good space of time. The design office also needs to get real and quit this 2 tier design team. This was fine in the days of unlimited testing where you could spend as much time and money as you wanted correcting and testing components, but not in this era of restrictive F1.

    The 2009 car was terrible, no doubt about that, and it took part of the No. 2 design team (working on the 2010 car) to help correct the issues. Here we are again and should we really be surprised? Clearly the exhaust positioning hasn’t been working as expected, but they’ve taken far too long deliberating over it and it’s cost them valuable track time, which was limited in the first place as they missed the first test.

    Going back to the EBD, added on for the first time at Silverstone 2010, I seem to remember McLaren being very confident that they had got that right. I’ll just leave that comment as is.

    1. They’ve already ditched the two-tier system as Pat Fry left for Ferrari.

      1. McLaren do need to rethink their conpetual work. They seem to let their imaginaitions run away with them without considering draw backs.

        Still at least it makes it entertaining, a McLaren brining it considerable might to the table in a sensible fashion would be a sight to behold.

  34. A delivery driver told me this late last week and I put in down gossip with no truth.

  35. The 1 sec Whitmarsh talks about can’t indicate a thing here. Even if McLaren manages to find that 1 sec on a qualifying trim (which is easy to claim because no one – not even the team – has a clue about their quali pace from the testing; without all those bulky sensors and with the unlimited usage of DRS the car will be bit faster anyways), it’ll be very difficult to find same performance boost over the race distance.

    Even is they rollback the floor and exhaust to an old design which they knew to be working well, they would need a lot more testing than they actually did (with the conventional exhaust system) considering the new rule on weight distribution and their innovative side pod design.

    Some of us think finding the performance will be as easy as it was for Mercedes. It can’t be, because Mercedes had their basic car tested well and the updates were nothing but planned exhaust and aero enhancements of the base car they had.

    I’m not very optimistic about McLaren’s changes, realistically I hope they will be close enough in the fly away races to grab some important points and catch up the top teams in the European rounds.

    1. “The 1 sec Whitmarsh talks about can’t indicate a thing here. Even if McLaren manages to find that 1 sec on a qualifying trim (which is easy to claim because no one – not even the team – has a clue about their quali pace from the testing.”

      But they do have simulators where they can drive round a track and compare data/lap times ,and thats how to find out how much faster you are .

      1. We should call it simulator pace gain then :) If simulator data is that reliable then why bother to test on track?

  36. Whitmarsh is really putting himself on the line. If they are more than ~1.5s off the pace in Australia his name will be mud. This, coming after his absurd comments that the car kept breaking in testing because it was being pushed over the limit. This is a CEO taking ownership, setting goals, and setting benchmarks. Good. But these benchmarks now become the measure of his leadership.

    The only way to credit Whitmarsh’s comments is to assume that Mclaren simply have more development capacity than others. That is, they are able to run a greater multiplicity of design approaches and parts in testing, with the result that at the end of testing they will have developed an ideal package—on paper. Even if this were true, it means that this ideal package will never have been tested for reliability, and the drivers will be running a new floor, exhaust, etc. for first time on a race weekend. Are there enough new parts and fabrication capacity to do this; is there enough heat-shielding; is the balance there or will they cars be flying off the track. These are not hypotheticals, but the situation they were in last year post-Silverstone, taking the same approach: a car the drivers struggled to master from week to week and parts availabitliy crises.

    1. It’s ridiculous in someways, I reckon it might be put down to Whitmarsh, as an ex mechanic it’s possible he greenlights to mutch unrestrained wackery from his design team.

      McLaren despreatley need a bit of restructuring, possibly a new team principle, they can’t keep making the same mistakes forever.

  37. the biggest problem of mclaren team is, they think that they find something which will make their car faster on their pc, wind tunnel etc, but it really doesnt pay off on track.
    it was same story since 2009. think how many times you read withmarsh talking about a big update in recent years and think how many times mclaren made a big leap forward.

    so unless they had made a big change on their main design facilities at base, than the best they can do to get closer to teams like RBR and Ferrari by copying those teams, nothing more.

    to my experince, i cant see a reason to believe withmarsh and get excited, he was always over optimistic during his period.

  38. So different year – same McLaren. Will they be able to back up their promises this year?

  39. Seeing both cars finishing the race in Australia will be a huge surprise – really bad start for a top team. Can’t get why Whitmarsh plays a PR game that in some days will prove to be a hoax…

    1. Yes I have to admit with the reliability they’ve shown I can’t see either finishing the race really tbh!

  40. Who know might do a Brawn kinda thing…

  41. It is my firm belief that Martin Whitmarsh should do the honourable thing and resign immediately.

    He is clearly incapable of running a front-line F1 team and is almost totally nauseatingly full of positive PR soundbites.

    He is a total travesty and is tainting the legacy of a now once-great team.

    1. They won five races and beat everyone apart from Red Bull last year. I think you’re overreacting.

      1. what he said ^^ :)

      2. I am of course being liberal with my use of hyperbole, but I just cannot see how he has moved the team forward in any meaningful way.

        All he seems to have done is to make it increasingly bland and anodyne.

        1. He’s only been in charge 2 seasons has he not?!

      3. ..3rd team..
        redbull won 9 races and ferrari 5

  42. The key word here is ‘aim’…until this second is well and truly found at Melbourne my doubts are still in place. As much as I love Mclaren a second is all be it a tad optimistic….but then look at Merecedes….time will time…BRING ON FP1!!!!!

  43. DeadManWoking
    21st March 2011, 17:50

    I’m beginning to think that Ferrari have managed to insert a post-Spygate mole into the McLaren team who prowls around the Technology Centre late at night locking up the potential in the cars! 8)

  44. Y’all seem to forget that those poeple have been in the business for decades. I don’t think Whitmarsh would just speak for the sake of it. He knows that saying untrue things will haunt him later. Do you remember the nose measuring equipment? They are not fools to just have such radical change overnight…

    Why don’t we all just chill and wait for a few days then judge?
    Sometimes its good to be underestimated that only give them the desire to work harder compared to those who think they are already there.

    Come to race some might be surprised that the teams they thought were up there, are not in reality.

    1. Once again F1Lover I am in total agreement, I have said in several posts through the testing period…” Wait & See”

  45. I don’t think it’s being done in quite the same way that Mercedes have done it. Their latest upgrade had probably spent sveral weeks or months being tweaked and improved in the wind tunnel.

    McLaren, no doubt, expected their car to work well out of the box. It didn’t. And so now they’ve come up with 1 second of performance from something that’s a lot less complicated in just a couple of weeks?

    I shall be suitably impressed if they make it into the top ten in qualifying.

    1. These things may have been in the pipe line for months, its just at the time they may have opted for the more risky radical solutions!

    2. Read again. The lack of testing caused by the complicated thing braking down has left them slow. So they hook up the thing that doesn’t break, work out the set-up for the car with it and hey presto, the time is a second quicker.

  46. People here are already performing post mortems on the McLaren season before it has even started.

    Just sit back and enjoy the season guys.

  47. polishboy808
    21st March 2011, 20:41

    Ahahahahahahahahaha, not going to happen…. They’ll probably ditch the L sidepods and go for a conventional airbox, which I can guarantee won’t bring them a second….

    1. I’m wondering where the logic is in saying that removing the parts that are supposedly making them slow (i.e. the radical bits) won’t make them go faster.

  48. Oh wow, I’m looking forward to the race more than ever now!! I hope they find that second, qualifying on Saturday should be an absolute nail biter!!!!!

  49. i take this as a joke, really. 1s… remind me to kick myself in my head if thats come out true :)

  50. i dunno, the whole layout of the car’s internals is based upon the l-shaped sidepods. For them to put effective conventional sidepods on they would need to rework the whole layout of the cooling system and many of the other internal components. It’d need to be pretty much a new car

  51. Its been said earlier in the comments for this article. The chassis has gone through Homologation. The chassis can not be changed it will have those sidepods for the season. They have only mentioned the exhaust system and the floor.

    Just because you can see the unconventional sidepods doesn’t mean that is whats going to be changed. The internal systems and other systems most of us don’t understand will be modified.

    Can we just play the wait and see game before we suggest Mclaren are going to be hopeless again and heads need to role. They have remained a top 3 team for years forgetting recent blips.

    1. i didnt think sidepods were part of the chassis. Teams often introduce new sidepods to cars mid-season.

  52. 1 second per lap is dangerously close to being lapped. what is going on over there?

  53. SO much negativity towards a team that came second in the Constructor’s Championship last year and 3rd the year before, despite not being quickest from day 1?

    As i’ve said before, there are so many variables, with the new tyres and what not, that I completely agree with McLaren deciding to take a conventional approach and looking for reliability. If this brings them a second, then that’s great.

    Also, who’s to say that during the last test at Barcelona they weren’t already planning this and were testing to see what they would need to change in order to remove or reduce their issues?

    McLaren haven’t always been my favourite team, but they sure are smart when it comes to things like this in my opinion. And my best bet is that they understand the Pirellis better than any other team as well…that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will use them the best, but they will know how to react towards them more.

  54. Great news. Go McLaren!

  55. tonyfernandes Tony Fernandes
    RT @MyTeamLotus: Some FANTASTIC news today – we’ve confirmed that Karun Chandhok has joined us as Reserve Driver. ..

  56. Burrows (@)
    22nd March 2011, 8:01

    McLaren were very bullish at this years launch, I think they thought they were in with a chance of blowing everyone away with their radical design, so I’m surprised that they should be so far off.

    We’ll see, but just becuase no one’s found a second before, it doesn’t make it impossible, but the only way I can see it working is if one part of the car is desperately poor. It is possible that the car is inherently very very fast, but that one of the more extreme components (the exhaust) is working nothing like expected and is slowing the car down dramatically. Reverting to a simpler design may put this right. Hence 1 second.

    Anyone got any straws?

    1. Unless they have been performing a nice piece of theatre these past weeks, I think they had a Plan A and B all along.
      Plan A is more radical with the potential to make them very very quick.
      Turns out it doesn’t work (yet) and that it even slows them down.
      So on to plan B.
      Whitmarsh mentions they have a new floor. you don’t quickly make a new floor in a week time. They must have had this ready for quite some time.

      Maybe – hopefully – they still develop package A and we see it on the car further in the season.

  57. 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.”

    Nowhere does he say they have found a second plus.

    Just hopes, wants, aims, targets.

    In the interests of more close teams I hope they have found a second plus

  58. Lewis is Hopeful but will the McLaren be hopeless. Can’t wait to find out, but half a second still sounds a long way off.
    “We’re hopefully within half a second, maybe within eight tenths of a second, which means hopefully by the time we get back to Europe we are able to be a little bit closer to them.”

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