Button: “fundamental change” needed for MP4-28

F1 Fanatic round-up

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2013In the round-up: Jenson Button says McLaren don’t underestimate how much needs to be done to fix the MP4-28.


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Button fears ‘difficult days’ ahead for McLaren (The Telegraph)

“There have been non-stop meetings and discussions – there is an understanding that it is not OK. We know there are fundamental things that we have to change. We are doing everything we can to improve.”

McLaren battling against time (ESPN)

“The most concerning line from Whitmarsh was his admission that thoughts of a switch back to the old car had crossed the team’s mind. ‘It’s not a serious option for Malaysia – no. I think at the moment we’ve got to work hard on this car and we know it’s got some areas of high potential and we know it has potentially more downforce than last year’s car.'”

Hamilton sure of stronger Malaysian GP (Autosport)

“We take a lot out of here; and in the next race we will be even stronger. I’m really happy with that result.”

Q&A with Force India?s Adrian Sutil (F1)

“I was very lucky to have the chance to decide which tyres I will start with. And we decided to start on the medium ones. This choice was the right one and I could even have stayed out for some more laps on them. The car felt fantastic and so I was even able to take the lead as all the others ahead of me had to pit earlier to take new tyres.”

Honda gears up for F1 return as engine supplier (The Japan Times)

“Honda Motor Co. is looking to return to Formula One motor racing as an engine supplier around 2015, a source said Monday.”

Raikkonen: “We didn?t have to go full speed” (NBC)

“The Lotus driver said he hadn?t used the full potential of his E21 chassis on his way to victory in yesterday?s F1 season-opener.”

Press Call, or Hard Pressed Call? (F1 Elvis)

“A sceptical, or new fan of Formula One watching Thursday?s live press conference would?ve been forgiven for turning off from the sport in disappointment. On the eve of one of the most hotly anticipated championships for some time, a selection of it?s premier stars sat in front of the cameras and looked uninterested and bored.”

Ferrari on the streets of Jerusalem (Ferrari)

Giancarlo Fisichella: “I?m especially happy about the fact that here we will have the chance to do a real, full lap (the track will be 2.4km long ?ǣ Ed) instead of the usual straight-line run, which often takes place on occasions like this. I?m sure that it will be a great success: the public will have a lot of fun.”

F1 nears deal on profit sharing with teams (FT)

Jean Todt: “All the discussions we have agreed, and we are in the situation where we need to finalise it in writing. I am confident it should happen in the coming weeks.”

Hamilton is just a corporate hologram (Sidebar, The Independent)

“Formula One is an increasingly soulless ritual, a business meeting which requires industrial-strength earplugs. It deserves role models such as Lewis Hamilton. The Briton, who approaches the new season as a Mercedes driver, summarises the smugness and self-importance of a virtual sport.”


Comment of the day

@Debaser91 on Kimi Raikkonen’s chances of winning the championship after his Australian Grand Prix victory:

If – and it is a big if – Raikkonen is to mount a serious title challenge then I think he needs to maximise his points and race winning opportunities early in the year, a la Button in 2009, as Ferrari and Red Bull will catch up.

I am particularly interested as to how Alonso will perform in a Ferrari which clearly has a much stronger base package to work from than last year. However, unlike McLaren who have had multiple cars capable of winning championships in the last 15-20 years and have a very poor number of world titles to show for it, whenever ‘team Enstone’ have produced a decent car they have made the most of it and won the championship. And Raikkonen is an excellent driver who has been there and done it before.

I really think it is too early to say at the moment though. Yesterday was pretty unrepresentative in terms of the ambient and track temperature, and if Horner is correct and that is what caused Vettel?s high tyre degradation then Vettel is still probably favourite with Alonso. I?m sure Raikkonen and Lotus won?t mind being the outsiders though, and if he can consistently have strong results then who knows.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Keke Rosberg won the non-championship BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone on this day 35 years ago driving a Theodore.

Emerson Fittipaldi was second in his own car followed by Tony Trimmer in a McLaren.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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78 comments on Button: “fundamental change” needed for MP4-28

  1. vjanik said on 19th March 2013, 10:34

    Regarding the boring press conference article..

    I for one am less interested in the personality of the drivers, how good they are with the media, how good looking they are, or who their girlfriend is. I dont need my F1 driver to be an entertainer off the circuit. Whats important is their skill behind the wheel. An interesting personality and good communication skills should be a bonus, not a requirement for an athlete.

    I hope people are not watching F1 for the press conferences.

  2. Dafffid (@dafffid) said on 19th March 2013, 10:46

    “Smugness and self-importance”? Whatever you think of Hamilton, it sounds like Michael Calvin of the Independent is describing neverwozza journalists who self-appoint themselves hypocritical guardians of all morals and behaviour. That article drips with the envy of the nonentity, who then seeks to wrap himself in the cloak of former great drivers, none of whom I fancy would wish to be associated with such an warranted attack.

  3. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 19th March 2013, 10:59

    McLaren said that they had reached a point where they’d struggle to improve the 27 much more. On that basis, they could go back to the old car but then what? They’d probably start off slower than the top cars due to not having spent time developing it in the off-season and then according to them, they wouldn’t be able to develop it much futher.

    They should stick with the 28 and if they are unable to get it onto the pace in the next 5 or 6 races, switch focus to the 29 which will give them an advantage over Ferrari and Red Bull.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 19th March 2013, 12:20

      Simple, change the paint job.

    • @petebaldwin Is it actually possible for them to dust off the old car and bring it to the circuit, without doing any changes….

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 20th March 2013, 10:27

        @jjjj – yeah sorry I didn’t mean that they’d not be able to use the old car, I’m sure they would. The point was that whilst they may move up a position or two initially, the problems they’ve highlighted in terms of where they could further develop the 27 would mean that they’d still not be fighting for wins.

        Atleast with the 28, there is potential to get it right and if they’ve designed a car that they can evolve the 29 from, they will be in good shape once they get there. I think the short-term gains in using the old car now would lead to a huge disadvantage going forwards.

  4. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 19th March 2013, 13:16

    I just don’t understand the decisions made by McLaren surrounding the MP4-28. It seems to me they looked at the known quantity that was the MP4-27; a car that had the smallest average percentage deficit to pole last year, and confirmed that the smaller development task that came with the chassis would some how be a bad thing in a year when all teams are splitting resources between 2013 development and 2014 concepts. The fact that McLaren are really diverting resources away from the MP4-29 and pinning their 2013 hopes on in-season development, suggests to me that McLaren are not confident of being competitive in 2014, and therefore aiming for the championship this year. I really would not get bogged down by the woeful performance we saw in Melbourne, because I am very confident that McLaren will arrive in the second half of the season with the fastest car; but this raises two questions. Firstly, will the points deficit by too big by that point for Button to take the championship, and secondly, surely cutting that sizable performance deficit to the top teams will dramatically impact the realization of the MP4-29? I really don’t see why the McLaren MP4-27 would have reached its developmental ceiling faster than the Ferraris and Red Bulls, who have both recognized that a faster evaporation of in-season development would help them find a balance between the 2013 and 2014 chassis. We enter into a season with a strange dynamic, with teams that fight for the championship, who have therefore have maintain a high level of in-season development, under considerable disadvantage for the following year. This is why Hamilton looks so good for 2014, who will really benefit (and I know this sounds strange) from Mercedes’ signature mid-season tail-off, who are really viewing this season as a warm-up, a warning shot preluding 2014. Ignoring Hamilton’s 2013 performances, testing form and that of his rivals, he will enter into 2014 as the favourite. Fact.

    (Proudly wipes brow)

    Now, @keithcollantine, surely that deserves COTD?

  5. HoHum (@hohum) said on 19th March 2013, 15:57

    Niki Lauda is telling “Bild” the tyres are wrong for F1. Niki has the experience to know what he is talking about but no doubt he will be dismissed as an out of touch dinosoar by younger fans who have never seen a race without pit stops.

  6. DaveW (@dmw) said on 19th March 2013, 18:48

    Regarding McLaren, it’s much too early to be digging their grave now. Let’s remember that Mercedes won a race last year early on but were never seen again unless being lapped. Williams won a race, Sauber almost won a couple. The sport changes rapidly now race to race.

    Nonetheless, we do know that McLaren have lost a critical benchmark for development and set up issues in Hamilton. Whether or not Hamilton better “developed” the car McLaren now has to put at least a couple tenths extra in the car for it to be where it was last year at least on Saturdays. Sometimes it will be much more if Button again has his strange swoons where he can’t set the car up at all. Perez may be able to fling a difficult car down the road but only time will tell.

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