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McLaren: We do have a problem

NEWS STORY
13/03/2009

Days after Ron Dennis refuted claims that there were concerns over the pace of the 2009 McLaren, team boss Martin Whitmarsh and Mercedes' Norbert Haug have admitted that the MP4-24 is too slow.

"We are working hard to resolve a performance shortfall," admitted Whitmarsh. "Initial testing of the car, which first ran with an interim aero package, went in accordance with early developmental expectations," he continued. "This week the car ran in Barcelona with an updated aero package, as we had always planned it would, and a performance shortfall has been identified that we are now working hard to resolve.

"At the moment the car isn't fast enough," he added, "certainly not by our team's extremely high standards. But Lewis is the world champion, and he became world champion in one of our cars. So anything less than success at that level is naturally regarded as unsatisfactory by us, by our partners, by the media and by the fans.

"The problems are fixable," insists the Englishman. "Many times in Formula One history successful teams have started off with a car that was not working as well as they had hoped it would. And many times have those teams engineered their way back to the front of the grid in impressively short order. That is what we aim to do. In fact, that is what we are already doing."

Haug was equally forthright and equally confident the situation will be rectified.

"Obviously, there is a lack of downforce and we are currently working hard to solve this problem," said the German. "Basically, the car feels good, that is what our drivers say. However, we are currently definitely not fast enough, not competitive enough to aim for victories."

With two weeks to go before the season opener, Whitmarsh admits that there is still some way to go and that not all the MP4-24's problems will be resolved in time.

"Next week we will be testing at Jerez, which many of our rivals will not be," he said. "We aim to continue to develop the car, and the result should be measurable on the stopwatch. Will the car be as quick as we want it to be by March 29? Perhaps not. Will it be quicker than it has been this week at the Barcelona test? Yes. Will it improve as we develop its aero and thereby address its problems in the coming weeks and months? Most certainly."

"We've fixed problems together in the past and we will succeed in doing it again," said Haug. "Expect us to fight back even if it takes some time. If we were not capable of building competitive Formula One cars, we would not have won one third of all grands prix during the past four years."

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