Thursday, August 27, 2009

McLaren now more confident for 2010

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Valencia 2009McLaren's return to form in recent weeks has left the outfit more confident about its prospects for building a title-winning car in 2010, but the team does not believe it can fully relax just yet.

The Woking-based outfit started the season in big trouble with its car, and knew that it needed to understand what had gone wrong if it was not to make the same mistakes next year.

Now that the MP4-24 has been turned into a race winner, the team is more confident about its chances for developing a successful successor.

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said: "If we were still scrabbling around at the back of the grid whilst we are going through the release of the car for next year - which will happen over the next month - then I would be very much more concerned than I am now.

"We are not complacent by any means. We have to recognise that our car has KERS on it which is probably worth 0.3s, and we have a very good engine package.

"If I compare where other team's chassis are, it's clear that while we have a competitive package, we do not have the benchmark chassis and aero performance at the moment.

"Therefore we will not be sitting on our laurels but working to recover that on this year's car and going in to next year, it's a stretch for us."

Neale believes that the fact the MP4-24 was turned from being the worst car in pre-season testing to the winning machine in Hungary was proof that its design was not fundamentally flawed.

"It's a testament to a huge amount of hard work, but it is also evidence of what I said at the beginning of the season, which is that we hadn't done anything wrong with the car, we just hadn't done enough," explained Neale.

"When you end up with a car where you have taken a completely wrong turn with it, i.e you've screwed up the stiffnesses or you have done something to make it really unstable, it is notoriously difficult to get that back.

"We had just under-developed the aero package and then in the cut and thrust of what happened between week 11 and getting to the first European race, we turned the organisation upside down here because we knew we had to fight back and try and overhaul teams that in themselves were pushing forwards."

He added: "In terms of the confidence for 2010, then the regulations are different but it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

"The fundamental aerodynamics of the package are the same. The big changes will be in the weight of the car because we will have to carry the fuel that we need for the whole race.

"We are going to go back around the loop on vehicle dynamics because the front tyre will be changing and therefore the weight distribution and the forces will have to be managed separately. But the essense of the aerodynamic fall will be based upon existing technology and the extension of a stable platform that we have."

Source : Autosport

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