McLaren is pressing ahead with plans to develop and improve their MP4-28, as suggestions last year’s multiple winning car could be resurrected begin to fade.
Despite struggling markedly with the radical new MP4-28 in Melbourne, the flawed silver machine is parked in the Sepang garage this weekend and will not be retired any time soon.
“It’s better to stick to the plan in terms of developing what we have to improve what we have — that’s always the way forward,” Jenson Button told Sky.
Indeed, the Woking based team is known as perhaps the best team in Formula 1 at continual car development, and the need for all those skills is now greater than ever. It has already begun.
Sporting director Sam Michael told reporters on Thursday that previously unscheduled developments for the car have arrived in Malaysia for experimental testing.
“All our energy is going into the current car and understanding it,” he said.
Pulling out the winning 2012 car might seem like an easy and obvious solution, given the fact that most teams on the grid simply evolved their existing cars for the new season anyway. But Anthony Rowlinson, editor of Formula 1 Racing magazine, said it’s not quite that simple.
“They would have to re-crash test the MP4-27, have a new front wing that’s compliant with the new technical regs, have a new underfloor that’s compliant with the new technical regs.
“That in itself is a big job and then they’d arrive, say in Spain for the Spanish GP, with a car they hadn’t tested, they hadn’t run, so they’d probably be in no better a situation than they are now,” he explained.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said in the team’s preview, “Clearly, our performance in Australia last weekend was not up to our high expectations – and we have been working tirelessly to bring additional performance to MP4-28.”
“The short turnaround between rounds one and two of the championship means that we’ll arrive in Malaysia with less scope to improve our fortunes,” conceded Whitmarsh. “This weekend, however, will provide us with additional opportunities to understand our car’s behaviour and to increase our understanding of the package.”