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Q&A with Sam Michael

NEWS STORY
24/01/2014

McLaren's Sporting Director, Sam Michael, admits his team faces a difficult year ahead in 2014 and that "growth and regrowth" is needed.

What are McLaren's expectations for 2014?
"We've made no secret of our disappointment at how the 2013 season turned out. The aim now is to get back to winning - that's what McLaren exists to do - but there's a certain amount of growth and regrowth that needs to take place before we return to a position where we can challenge for the world championship.

"The good thing is that we've acknowledged that, and we've actually been working towards that goal for many months now. We have Honda waiting in the wings, we have a number of key technical staff bolstering our existing design and engineering teams, and we are fostering the careers of our young drivers, all of whom have an incredible amount of potential. The future for McLaren is bright, and we're now putting in place the processes that will move us closer to our goals.

"For 2014, our aim is for continuous development; we'll be refining and strengthening the car and the organisation throughout the year, so you'll see a rapid turnover of parts and ideas on the car as we, like every team, wrestle with the many unique challenges of these new regulations.

"More immediately, our aim is to enjoy a smooth winter at all three tests, hopefully learning a lot as we go, and hopefully developing MP4-29 into something consistent, useable and quick."

How do you balance the equation of reliability vs performance?
"I think the key to the first quarter of the season could well be consistency. It'll be critical in the pre-season tests - firstly, to enable the drivers and engineers to learn about and understand the behavior of the new car; but, secondly, to provide us with the mileage and data our designers at the MTC need to further refine and develop the car for the year ahead.

"It'll be a season of complexity and subtlety; we won't find ourselves in a situation where the guy who wins the first race goes on to win the championship, I think it'll be unpredictable and exciting - and that's fantastic news for Formula 1's fans.

"One thing is for certain, though, there'll be a lot of cross-pollination of ideas during the season as the best concepts and solutions proliferate. We're proud of some of the concepts we'll be introducing with this car but, likewise, there'll be areas where we can learn and improve.

"In fact, I think constant learning and improvement will be the key motifs of 2014."

Our drivers - ready for anything?
In Jenson and Kevin, we have both the sport's most respected senior ambassador and its newest and most promising young hopeful, respectively.

Jenson has proven again and again that his unmatched experience, application and supreme natural ability make him perhaps the perfect driver to spearhead the development and integration of the myriad of new systems introduced for 2014.

Kevin is motivated, incredibly focused and eager to learn. Everybody at McLaren has not only been convinced by Kevin's raw pace and commitment, but also by his ability to channel his determination and thoughts with singular and unblemished dedication.

Only 21, he is unmistakeably ready for Formula 1, and is prepared and equipped for the intense and steep learning curve ahead of him.

Our test and reserve driver, 21-year-old Belgian vandoorne pphotlinkhighlight}Stoffel Vandoorne, is the most promising racer outside Formula 1. He will combine a full year of racing in GP2, with the ART team, with his duties as McLaren's reserve driver - a role that will naturally dovetail with his racing activities at all coinciding events.

Check out the MP4-29 launch gallery, here.

Meanwhile, in this video, Sam explains the various changes in 2014.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by bfairey, 24/01/2014 17:13

"So what does the driver do other than steer the car?"

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