2013 Australian Grand Prix
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says practice today was “one of the hardest days I can recall”.
The MP4-28 was 2.3 seconds off the quickest car in the second practice session, and only the seventh-quickest team.
“We were lacking overall grip, consistency, we had understeer, poor ride,” said Whitmarsh. “So a very difficult day. One where we didn’t go forward either during the course of the day so that’s a bit of a concern. ”
“But a lot of data, the team will be, I’m sure, working hard and long tonight. We’ve given ourselves what should be a base that we can improve upon. Hopefully we can do so tomorrow. But a disappointing and tough day for the team.”
Whitmarsh defended the decision to radically overhaul their car during the off-season having ended 2012 as the fastest team.
“We made quite a lot of changes to the car running into this season and at the moment we don’t fully understand how to get the best out of this car,” he said.
“There’s a choice you make, it’s a season that lasts between now and the end of November. We’ve got to be able to race throughout that period of time, developing the car. That’s what we set out to do.
“Of course it’s much more comfortable to start the season competitively and then fight from that. We’ve done both in our time. But this feels pretty tough at the moment but we’re a strong team and able to find our way through.”
“We felt that we wanted to have the ability to develop the car between now and the end of this season we needed to make some changes,” he added. “Inevitably when you do that there’s a degree of risk in that, and that’s the judgement we made.”
“We still believe that we’ve got a platform that can we develop, a platform that we don’t know as well as the one that we’ve left.
“Undoubtedly if you took last year’s car and just concentrated on that, would we be quicker today? I think we would today, but would it have the development potential during the year?
“Then it was our judgement, we’ll see later whether we were right or wrong, but it was our judgement that we needed to make some changes, which is what we did.”
2013 F1 season
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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei