Australian GP: McLaren will persist with troubled 2013 car

McLaren remains committed to figuring out its troublesome MP4-28, despite admitting that reverting to last year's car could be an option

Australian GP: McLaren will persist with troubled 2013 car

After a difficult start to the campaign in Australia, where wet weather on Saturday helped disguise its competitive struggles in the dry, McLaren is still convinced it can turn the new MP4-28 into a strong contender.

When asked if going back to last year's car was something the team could do, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "It is possible, but I think at the moment the best thing for us is to work and understand this car.

"The season is incredibly long; if you are going to win races and championship you have to develop the car during the whole year.

"We have wanted to give ourselves the scope to do that, and probably if we had stuck on the original concepts of last year's car we would probably be stronger here today.

"But we have made a decision. We will work through this and we will have a car with more potential than we had last year."

Whitmarsh suggested that part of the problem with the new car is that its performance is too peaky, which means its speed is only delivered in a very narrow window.

This was highlighted at the Jerez test in February when Jenson Button was able to deliver a very competitive lap time only with a low ride height that could not be used during an actual race.

Button believes that the way Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was able to fight for the championship last year, despite a difficult start to the season, should reassure McLaren.

"Fernando qualified 1.5 seconds off the pace here last year and almost won the championship, so it is a possible for a frontrunning team to make the deficit up," explained Button. "Whether it is the same as their situation I don't know.

"Qualifying being dry is probably not a good thing for us, because in the wet we could be further up the grid, but it might be a good thing for us to see where we stand.

"After the race we will know where we are, our strengths, weaknesses and there are always strengths and weaknesses, it is just a question of how many of each.

"It's not the place we would like to be at the start of the year, it is not where we were last year at this time, but it is a very different situation."

AUTOSPORT Australian GP coverage:

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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Jonathan Noble
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