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Michael: We fully understand where we went wrong

NEWS STORY
03/09/2013

Mat Coch writes:

While it may not have enjoyed the success to which it is accustomed, McLaren believes the lessons learned from its difficult 2013 campaign will at least stand it in good stead for next season.

Initially impressive in pre-season testing it was soon clear that the Woking squad was off the pace of the leading bunch. It was a fact reinforced in Australia and soon prompted speculation that the team could return to its 2012 car.

"If you look over the last couple of races, definitely Budapest and Spa, we've improved our performance," said the squad's Sporting Director Sam Michael during the latest Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "It's not where we need to be as McLaren but previous to those last two races we didn't have the ability to run with some of the top cars and indeed challenge them."

In Belgium, Jenson Button's finished sixth, a result earned on merit and not lucked into as others hit trouble, Michael reasons. But while that's offered some encouragement any expectation of greater things to follow are being kept very much in check.

"It'll be difficult to score a podium based on full merit between now and the end of the year, particularly as we start to concentrate a lot on the 2014 car," he admitted. "We're still bringing parts to this car (but) they're not the normal sort of integer developments you would bring when you were pushing in a performance race against other teams."

In essence Michael has confirmed McLaren has begun rolling the dice with an eye on next season, a calculated risk to try and jump the opposition as they squabble among themselves this year.

"Looking at rule changes that are coming up now if anything they take the car in quite a different direction yet again so you're almost forced in to taking risk," Michael explained. "With this year's car we took too much risk compared to what we probably had to, particularly as we were winning grands prix at the end of last year. We know that. We know that we've made a mistake.

"I think the main thing is that we fully understand where we went wrong and I think we've got a pretty firm handle on that now," he added. "As long as we understand that we should be able to avoid that area in the future."

"The team of guys that designed this car are the same team of guys that designed the winning cars previously. They're all the same designers and engineers and technicians and people at McLaren so we've got every confidence that they can do the same thing again next year."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Mechanical, 04/09/2013 16:46

""Jenson Button Finished Sixth a result earned on merit and not lucked into....." as I've always suspected most of his wins are at the expence of others failing to finish."

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2. Posted by Don_lyall, 03/09/2013 13:41

"I think Whitmarsh is absolutely fine as a team boss, but this statement from Michaels is far more what the McLaren fans - or at least this one! - want to hear.

McLaren have only had one season in the last ~18 years where they haven't won at least one race (i.e. 2006). This year will soon become only the second, but hey - you can't win all the time. "

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3. Posted by Podge, 03/09/2013 12:50

""We understand the problem, and it rhymes with fartin flitflarsh.""

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