McLaren: Still some scope for improvement

Jenson Button

Jenson Button

A busy Friday for Jenson and Kevin, who completed a comprehensive aero and data-gathering programme across both practice sessions. Neither driver was fully satisfied with the car’s balance today, but the team has collected enough data to ensure it can aggressively develop the cars overnight.

With sunshine and higher temperatures anticipated for the rest of the weekend, the team’s focus now turns towards the effective management of the tyres, particularly Pirelli’s Supersoft compound, which showed signs of graining during this afternoon’s session.

Kevin Magnussen MP4-29-01

  • FP1: 1m18.514s (+1.276s) 31 laps 8th
  • FP2: 1m17.052s (+0.934s) 42 laps 8th

“Obviously, this is my first time at this circuit, and I really enjoyed driving it – it’s a really good track. It has a really nice series of corners and braking zones – for a relatively low-speed circuit, it’s really cool.

“The car feels good, which is positive, and hopefully I’ll be able to look after the tyres during the race. If it continues to get hotter over the weekend, then tyre overheating will become more of an issue, particularly on the Option tyre. It’ll be the same for everyone though, so we’ll just manage it as best as we can.

“I have a good team behind me and I think we’ve prepared for this weekend really well. So far, it looks as if we’ll be fighting towards the top of the mid-pack; if we can stay there, we should be satisfied with our weekend.”

Jenson Button MP4-29-04

  • FP1: 1m18.446s (+1.208s) 33 laps 7th
  • FP2:  1m17.059s (+0.941s) 38 laps 9th

“In theory, this circuit should quite suit us: our car’s pretty good in a straight line, there aren’t many high-speed corners, and we’ve got the softest selection of tyres, so we should be okay.

“This morning’s long-runs looked quite respectable, but we made some set-up changes for the second session, which weren’t so bad when we were running low-fuel, but weren’t quite so effective when we switched to running higher fuel-loads.

“On my long-run, I also hammered the Supersoft tyre while running a high fuel-load – just to see what would happen. I anticipated that there might be graining – and there was. The Supersoft compound is a tyre that definitely requires you to look after the rears more than the fronts.

“Nevertheless, we gathered a lot of useful data, and that will inform the processes and decisions we make – not only about how to balance the car, but also about the inputs that’ll be needed from the drivers to manage the tyres during the race. It’s been a pretty useful day.”

Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren Mercedes: “We came into this weekend determined to get through a very busy development programme that was focused across both practice sessions. We undertook some aerodynamic tests and some back-to-back evaluations – and it’s a credit to all the mechanics and engineers that we were able to complete the entire programme satisfactorily today.

“Neither Jenson nor Kevin were completely happy with the balance of their cars, or the changes made to them between the sessions, so there’s still some scope for improvement ahead of tomorrow’s sessions. We got plenty of laps under our belts today, so there’s a lot of data to analyse this evening.

“The Canadian Grand Prix has traditionally been a weekend where we see plenty of incident and excitement – and today was no exception Already, we’ve seen plenty of spins, grassy moments and scrapes along the wall – and while all of us at McLaren will be hoping that Jenson and Kevin enjoy clean and profitable races, let’s hope that the sport as a whole can put on a spectacular, breath-taking and unpredictable show on Sunday.”