Button: “fundamental change” needed for MP4-28

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

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

Happy birthday!

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If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

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

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

  1. we know it’s got some areas of high potential and we know it has potentially more downforce than last year’s car.

    These are almost the exact same words from Ferrari last year and McLaren’s current situation at the moment looks like a carbon copy of the 2012 campaign of Ferrari. Either this is an omen or McLaren are in serious problems.

    1. I think you can’t compare Mclaren with Ferrari in terms of car development, in a way because of the perceived superiority of Mclaren technical resources, and their results, ultimately based on outright pace advantage since 2009.

      Unlike Ferrari that seemed to struggle with car evolution ever since 2008, Mclaren showed good car evolution in past seasons, especially in 2012. Everyone is error prone in F1, even RedBull got it wrong early last season. They understood the tyres when they won the blazing hot Bahrain GP and from that point onwards they steadily improved the car until it became the class of the field, as they had intended it to be, and they never looked back at Melbourne and Malaysia.

      I think that the bigger question is if they can afford to lose time and other resources with the 2013 car.

      1. Unlike Ferrari that seemed to struggle with car evolution ever since 2008

        Don’t necessarily think thats true.

        In 2009 Ferrari evolved the car into something that was capable of podiums & a win late in the season after struggling early on.
        In 2010 they kept up with Red Bull in terms of car evolution through the season.
        In 2011 its fair to say they didn’t develop that much through the year.
        In 2012 they began with a terrible car yet ended with a car that in race trim was right up there with the Red Bull & McLarens (Often Alonso had the fastest or 2nd fastest car in the races) & Alonso/Massa grabbed a series of podiums.

        1. Ferrari ended up 2009, 2010, 2011 behind Mclaren. I was comparing both teams.

    2. McLaren’s current situation at the moment looks like a carbon copy of the 2012 campaign of Ferrari.

      No. The McLaren is much, much slower than the Ferrari was last year.

      Much was made of the F2012 being “1.6 seconds off the pace” at this time last year. (Which it never was – it was probably a second off the front running McLarens and half a second off title rivals Red Bull)

      Biutton was three seconds off the pace in qualifying on Sunday.

      1. @jonsan @wallbreaker I think we need more data before we can say whether the MP4-28 is as far off the pace this year as the F2012 was last year. The two sessions which can give the best indication for that – FP3 and qualifying – were both rain-affected last weekend. Yes, they had slicks on in Q3, but track evolution was huge.

    3. So mclaren can end up 2

  2. If Mclaren were to revert to using the 2012 car (with the correct rule changes) in the next race.. how high will it place?

    1. @aimalkhan I don’t see last year’s car being much better than what they have now.

      It hasn’t been developed since Interlagos, and probably hasn’t had any new parts on it in the simulator so it is missing months of simulation work, as well as the three pre-season tests, and now a race weekend. The other teams have utilised this time, with their old cars and gained quite a bit of pace, so the MP4-27 right now would be pretty slow, relatively speaking of course.

      1. You think?

        MP4-27 lap time in Qualy at Aus in 2012 = 1:24.9.

        It was subsequently honed through a further 19 races and was regarded as the fastest or at least one of the fastest cars at the end of the season and yet you don’t think it would be faster than the MP4-28! It doesn’t matter about no development since Brazil: the 27 is fundamentally a faster car then the 28.

        McLaren have dropped the ball big time. Did they not learn from Ferrari in 2012? Did they not consider a bit of a “play it safe it’s our 50th anniversary year”? Did they not think it would be far more pertinent to get a good head start on the 2014 car and not have to devote resources to patch-up a totally new design of car throughout 2013?

        I simply cannot understand McLaren. One rumour I hear now is they themselves are sniffing around Cosworth.

        1. Teams are losing their composure in the effort of beating Red Bull. They end up showing their weaknesses and their incompetency.

          1. yh it was madness esp with such big rules changes for next year and so little from the year before.

            But mclaren have a history of this. that rarely build 2 title contending cars in a row(in the last 10 years).

            01 title challenge, 02 none, 03 title challenge(with year old car!) 04 none, 05 title challenge, 06 none, 07-08 title challenge, 09 none, 10 title challenge, 11 none, 12 title challenge, 13 unlikely!

        2. @370hssv I didn’t say the 28 was slower than the 27, I said “I don’t see last year’s car being much better than what they have now.” The thing is, it is all relative. Firstly, the 27 was under a different set of regs so it’s already apples vs oranges. Secondly, adapting that car to the larger tyres this year, the increased weight, the new wing deflection tests, and the new DRS restrictions, could well have hampered the 27’s pace, since for all we know, one of those areas could have been a huge pace gainer for them. And thirdly, the main reason for me not thinking it would be much better than the 28 is the fact that its months behind in development. We saw what a month/one mid season testing did for ferrari last year, so why couldn’t other teams make gains like that over winter? It’s just natural logic. Thus leaving the 27’s interlagos pace, behind the other car’s australia ’13 pace

        3. They have made a decision on the best information that they had at the time, we sitting on our comfortable armchairs may not understand the why. By all means lets reflect at the end of the season and not just after one race, as that is a naive folly.

    2. @aimalkhan According to Gary Anderson’s piece for BBC, McLaren’s fastest lap was 2.602% slower than the fastest lap time set in Melbourne by Red Bull.
      Easy calculation to do, but the most interesting part is that Gary Anderson claims that Red Bull were only -0.359% faster than the pace McLaren set then, in 2012. Meaning that McLaren lost 2.961% in relative pace.

      All things considered you could hint that the Brazil spec McLaren wouldn’t have been further away than 0.359% of Red Bull’s pace, because that was the figure they improved from 2012, and of course judging that the old car hasn’t lost performance from their last spec.

      1. Correction
        “but the most interesting part is that Gary Anderson claims that Red Bull improved 0.359%…

      2. The thing to remember though is that the 2012 spec car was built around 2012 spec tyres & the 2012 spec wing deflection test’s & DRS regulations.

        Bring the 2012 Interlagos spec Mclaren to a race & put the 2013 spec tyres on it, Stiffen the wings to pass the new deflection test’s & run it to 2013 DRS regs & It likely won’t even match the pace it showed at Interlagos where it started on pole & won.

        Gary mentioned the possibility that the simulator didn’t do it job in that article. Ted Kravitz on sky over the weekend mentioned that when McLaren were doing the development work on the car on there simulator that they ran it with 2012 tyre data & 2012 DRS regs & that this gave them false data because of how different the new tyres are.

  3. Stewart did not know whether he, or his friends, would be alive by the time the finishing flag dropped. Hamilton, by contrast, doesn’t know he is born.

    wow, awesome line there!

    1. Yes, I read the article as well and I thought it was a mix of basic dislike for Hamilton (for bling) and a bit of yearning for the ‘good old dangerous days of F1’ , which I think is rather stupid.
      I dislike this bit in particular

      A little bit of Formula One died with Senna that fateful May Day Sunday at Imola in 1994. It became sanitised while clinging to its sacrificial heritage.

      Sacrificial? That’s a horrid thought.

    2. This article was pretty bad in my opinion. Huge amounts of venom. Bit too much for my taste.

      1. Agreed, not nice at all.

        “His desperation to associate himself with Ayrton Senna, a champion of substance rather than a modern corporate hologram, is revealingly narcissistic.”

        Does make me think, in this modern day version of F1 – is there even room for drivers to show real character? Red bull pose themselves as a young, hip team and let Vettel do his Crazy Frog impressions, but I sense Webber would have had a lot more to say during his drive there (eg. The curious case of the Silverstone front wing).

        I mean, it’s gotten to the point where everyone gits giddy with excitement when Kimi dares to be frank with his race engineer! What happened to drivers arguing about the regulations, I’ve barely seen any driver comments on the validity of the engine chage next year – just generic “it’s gonna be exciting!”

      2. why did keith even bother to put up that column in the round-up? to spike up even more bashing of hamilton? it’s one of the most idiotic and hateful things i’ve read.

        and because of what? because the driver bought a jet and avoids taxes? please. if any of you were given the choice, they would do the same and as far as i know, he’s not the only driver to have bought a jet and to avoid taxes. there is no desperation to associate himself with ayrton senna, that’s his role model and a twisted, hateful view from the editor.
        why didn’t he snap on alonso for instance when he associated himself with a samurai? does anyone here think that alonso truly goes along the same code of honor that samurais had?

        i like one of the comments in that column, telling the editor that he’s perfectly entitled to talk about courage and sacrifice in f1, when the biggest threat he has to face at work is spilling coffee over his laptop.

        sorry to tell you this but that is quite an uninspiring choice you’ve made here, keith, to put this in the round-up.

        1. @andrewf1 It’s an interesting, trenchant and well-articulated point of view. You may not agree with it, I certainly don’t agree with every word of it. Me agreeing with something is not a pre-requisite for it appearing in the round-up and the same goes for Comment of the Day.

          And I think it’s as much a critique of F1 as it is of Hamilton.

        2. @andrewf1

          It’s an article/comment on F1 in a major UK newspaper, albeit very agressive, therefore it does have it’s place here.

          It was just a vicious personal piece. Its a shame as I thought that was reserved for football and football fans not F1 that is normally fairly balanced.

          1. Puts the whining of the Melbourne Age in perspective, no?

        3. I didn’t took it as an attempt from Keith to bash Hamilton. For me is something to know what the other side thinks about F1.
          When I read the round up, I had to recheck it because at first I didn’t believe it. Than I said, wow, that’s the harshest thing I have read about Hamilton. What has the guy ever done to cause such hate? I am not really a fan of him, but never judged him other than as a driver. I liked him very much during 2007 and 2012. Occasionally he has his off moments which don’t seem very sportive, but he is one of the best drivers and we should be pleased, at least, having him on the grid.

    3. I rate Hamilton very highly as a driver. As a person, he comes across as remarkably childish, petty, and egotistical, even by the low standards of over-paid sports stars. Yes, his constant efforts to liken himself to Senna are a little pathetic. And if Vettel had announced that he was establishing a museum to celebrate his own greatness the reaction around here would have been rather more, shall we say, robust.

  4. Major changes? G back to MP4-27.

  5. If Mclaren don’t fully understand the car, the tyres, their new driver yet, at least going back to the -27 would be one less unknown parameter to worry about…

    Might not be that simple.
    Might be better for 2014 to persevere.

  6. The “Press Call, or Hard Pressed Call?” article is great, and I can’t help but agree with him. He raises a great point at how uninterested the drivers looked on Thursday. I stopped watching the Thursday and Friday press conferences because, quite frankly they offer little by ways of new info on the teams or drivers, and are usually filled with the same general questions. Not to mention the fact that the drivers nor team principles hardly ever look interested.

    Questions from the fans at press conferences instead of the current journalist ones, would be fantastic. We’d see a greater array of questions, and no doubt a couple funny ones.

    1. quite right, i have been saying for years that the journalists in those press con want a boot up their behinds. How many times have we seen 3 of them ask a driver the same question?? if your question has been asked have back up questions!!

      It really cant be that hard surely.

  7. Ben (@scuderia29)
    19th March 2013, 0:50

    i dont quite know how mclaren have got it so wrong..they ended last year with the quickest car on the grid. One season later and very minimal rule changes and they come with a poor car, surely they know what works and what doesnt after a year with the mp4-27 so how have they gone wrong?

    1. so how have they gone wrong?

      Gone with revolution rather than evolution like most others did.

      While pretty much everyone else took the 2012 car & improved upon it to come up with an evolutionary design (Hence why most cars look similar to last years cars), McLaren on the other hand came up with an entirely new design with an entirely different front suspension layout.

      As to why they went that route, As Anthony Davidson said a few times over the weekend on Sky, McLaren felt they had got to the end of the development path of the 2012 car & would not have been able to get more performance out of it.
      They say that in terms of development, They can develop the new car & get much more downforce & performance out of it than they could have they simply evolved the old car.

      I think its way too early to be talking about ditching the new car for the old one, Especially if what they say about the new car having more development potential is true. If they stick with the new car & manage to figure it out sooner rather than later then there season is far from over.

  8. Interesting comment on a pic tweeted by Lewis on his arrival in Malaysia


    6 Malaysian GPs with McLaren and he’d never gone into Kuala Lumpur?

  9. Whoever came up with the MP4-28 must be sacked immediately… oh wait, that was Paddy Lowe right?
    Maybe it’s not a bad idea that he goes to Mercedes, after all McLaren hasn’t won a WCC in 13 years (soon to be 14).

    1. @mantresx Not so sure about that. McLaren have two technical teams that alternate working on cars. Paddy Lowe is technical director and oversees both teams, rather than having a direct role in creating specific cars.

      Also, as has been noted elsewhere in the comments of this article, McLaren were apparently running the simulator for the new car with 2012 tyre/drs data which was feeding them false information. and then made a fundamental error in Jerez by putting a suspension component on back to front, which improved performance but made the car run too low and gave them a false lap time.

      McLaren’s problems stem from more than just Paddy. They start at the top and work downwards, imo.

    2. I am sure last years car was made by Paddy and Goss desinged this one . Mclaren have alternate design teams.

      1. The alternate design teams perhaps highlight why they rarely build 2 great cars in a row.

        they are up and down like a fiddlers elbow.

    3. To Me, McLaren’s problems seem to have arisen since Ron Dennis stepped down and Whitmarsh took over. The team seem to have lost something in those three years or so. They used to be so cold and clinical. I cant imagine some of these amateurish mistakes (namely regarding pit-stops and strategy we saw last year) being accepted under Ron. McLaren may have become more friendlier, approachable and fun, but ultimately, they have, in my opinion, lost that killer instinct.

  10. nothing wrong with the new car – Lewis would have put it on pole :)

    1. Sad thing, I dont think this is far from the truth. Considering Jenson’s performance from last year when he was absolutely clueless why he was unable to perform at the same level with same equipment.

      1. The problem with jenson/massa is that they can only get max out of the car when its perfect,look at the difference when car is not perfect but still alonso and lewis keep getting it higher up the grid on other hand massa/jenson struggling

        1. Well Button last year proved that he can be nowhere even when the car is perfect. Lewis was taking poles and winning races and Button was nowhere for a big part of 2012. At Canada Hamilton even lapped him like Button was driving a Caterham or something.
          That makes you wonder whether the car really is slow or Button just kind find his way with it.
          Maybe it really needs development and has problems but maybe it’s actually a fast car that Button can’t understand, or maybe it’s a mix with the car not being very good but not as bad ether.
          There is Perez too but the guy is still trying to learn how the team works and probably follows Button in a few things for the first few races so expecting him to use the car and find why they aren’t getting it to work from the first races is a little bit much.
          The thing is that with Button and a newbie that is an unknown quantity Mclaren can’t even be certain that the performance they see it’s the actual ability of the car. By losing Hamilton they lost more than just a very fast driver but also a benchmark that will show them exactly how much speed can be pulled from their car.

  11. @keithcollantine
    The last article link (“Hamilton is just a corporate hologram”) points to the wrong article :)

    1. No, it doesn’t. You just have to scroll down to the second item in the article.

      1. I see – thanks.

      2. Wow!

        Michael Calvin really, really hates Hamilton!

        1. @maroonjack doesn’t he just! What a bitter individual.

    2. @synapseza I see others have saved me from replying here.

      It is odd the way some newspapers group unrelated articles together on the same page like that. I can only assume it’s because they’re presented in the newspaper on a single page and are all comment pieces by the same person.

  12. F1 in Jerusalem, WOW thats awesome, Ive never been to a race and this will be my first chance to see an F1 car up close, can’t wait!

    1. V8s wailing past the wall

      1. V8s wailing past the wall

        Last of the V8s… NExt yr onwards it would be turbocharged V6s whistling past the walls..

    2. @mnm101 Whenever I put a story like that in the round-up I always hope to get at least one comment like this from someone!

  13. I would be surprised if Martin could still hold on to his job after this season. I haven’t seen a team principal mismanage a team to this extent –

    1) 2009 – Produced Mclaren’s 1st Dog of a car in a while. Developed it well enough but only when it was too late. Would probably be better off just focusing on the 2010 car
    2) 2010 – Started the year with the 2nd fastest car, but got out developed by Ferrari and dropped to 3rd fastest car by the end of the season. Had reliability issues that ruined Lewis’chances for a WDC.
    3) 2011 – Started with a good car and did a solid job all year.. but 2nd best again.
    4) 2012 – Started the year with the best car on the grid.. screwed up mid season development, had a lot of operational problems and reliability issues. Couldn’t manage to hold on to their star driver anymore even though they had the quickest car towards the end of the season
    5) 2013 – Produced another dog of a car even though they had the quickest car at the end of last season. Dumbest decision of all time was not to evolve a winning car.. but instead take a risk of a new development with only one season left to go before rule changes. They also now have a driver line up that will make the car look worse than it is.

    Stefano has had a bad time at Ferrari as well… but even with a poorly designed car, he did everything right to take Fernando to the WDC fight.

    I think Martins in deep trouble.. throwing away last years championship and then having a driver of Jenson’s calibre as team # 1 really shows the trouble Mclaren have run into.

    1. I think if you are going to fire somebody, you need to fire the person directly responsible for the issue at hand, not the person who does the hiring and firing.

      So if a designer or engineer made the screwup, then that designer or engineer needs to be removed, otherwise they will just repeat the problem (even with new upper management!).

      1. Or look at it the other way. If the person who does the hiring and firing assembles a poor team and then manages them badly, and let’s any talented ones slip through his fingers, then maybe the hiring and firing person needs to go.

      2. Its not like Mclaren dont have the talent. They have had the same staff produce championship winning cars before.. the problem is with the direction provided at the top and strategic decision making that shapes the work of these engineers, etc. That is where Martin has failed miserably

    2. @todford have to agree with you there. Problems start at the top and should be dealt with in that manner. McLaren have a really talented team but the direction from senior management seems to be lacking.

    3. These form lapses are a tradition at McLaren, you should value tradition, not try and break it.


    4. It’s too late to fire him now, he’s done a lot damage already.

    5. Everybody, please… There is more to McLaren than a Lewis Hamilton… Lets not forget that… Many of us here are trying to potray the fact that Hamilton made that dog of a McLaren look good every year..

  14. Interesting claims here from Sergio Perez about Ferrari asking him to ‘take care of Alonso’ last season:
    And the original source in Spanish: http://www.marca.com/2013/03/17/motor/formula1/1363533816.html

    1. Interesting – the Sauber/Ferrari relationship has been questioned (about the abovementioned) before.

      “I’m happy at McLaren; I hope to stay here for many years, maybe my entire career.”

      Where have we heard that before :)

    2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      19th March 2013, 18:48

      After reading that all i could think of was this.


  15. 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.

  16. “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.

    1. UNwarranted, I’m sure you meant.

      1. @hohum I did mean unwarranted; my ire got the better of my typing :)

  17. 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.

    1. Simple, change the paint job.

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

      1. @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.

  18. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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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