Martin Whitmarsh says he’s confident that McLaren can recover from its current troubles with the MP4-28, but accepts that there will be a limited chance to make any improvements before Malaysia.
“We’ve got to be realistic,” said Whitmarsh after his cars finished 9th and 11th in Melbourne. “I hope we can make some progress and we’re going to be working incredibly hard in the next few days to do that. We’ve really got to learn about this car, we’ve got to work these problems out, and we’ve got to solve it. It isn’t good enough at the moment, and that’s not a good feeling. I’m sure we’ll get it right. We might not get it right as quickly as I would like, but we’ll see.
“We struggled to have a proper understanding in testing, I think a lot of people did. Winter testing was very strange this year. We knew we weren’t coming here with masses of confidence. I think it frankly was a little bit worse than expected.
“We knew to an extent that this circuit would play to our weaknesses, and I think it certainly managed to do that. We didn’t have enough of an understanding to fix it, I think we’re gaining that. I think you’ve got to know what you’re trying to do, you’ve got to understand what the problems are, and then you’ve got to work hard to fix it. Sadly there’s no magic, we’ve just got to work hard now and get it right.”
Whitmarsh admitted that the extent of McLaren’s struggles in Australia came as shock.
“To a degree. I hope that we won’t be quite so far off the frontrunners in Malaysia, but I’m not promising that we will be with them either. I think we’ve got to be realistic about what can be done in the few days before we get there. It’s a very different circuit of course, but we’ll see.”
Asked if reverting to the MP4-27 would be a serious option, he said: “It’s not a serious option for Malaysia! I think at the moment we’ve got to work hard on this car. We know it’s got some areas of high potential, and we know that it’s potentially got more downforce than last year’s car. I think there are other issues we’ve got to understand, and make sure it’s accessible.
“We’ve all had cars in the past, or many of us have unfortunately, that are difficult to get the performance out of, extract it, even though some of the figures are quite impressive. This car seems to be difficult in that regard, so we need to work on that, understand it, and fix it.”