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McLaren rules out return to 2012 car

NEWS STORY
17/03/2013

Amidst claims that McLaren could drop its 2013 contender in favour of its 2012 car, Pitpass is told that such a move is not being considered.

Already on the back foot, McLaren's 2013 efforts took another knock when it was revealed that a suspension component had been fitted incorrectly at the first pre-season test, a mistake which gave a false impression of the MP4-28's pace.

Clearly struggling against the Red Bulls and Ferraris, and under serious pressure from the midfield teams, there has been talk of the Woking outfit temporarily dropping the 2013 car in favour of its predecessor, even though this would mean a massive logistic operation which would also include the car (re)undergoing the mandatory FIA crash tests.

However, as speculation continues, a McLaren spokesman told Pitpass: "All our efforts are currently focused on understanding this year's car's issues, not considering last year's car. And we believe we can fix those issues."

McLaren confessed to having taken a huge gamble heading into the season. While most teams simply evolved their 2012 cars McLaren instead changed its fundamental design concept with the hope that it would unlock greater performance as the year unfolds. It soon became clear that this was a gamble that hadn't paid off.

"We were lacking in overall grip, consistency, we had understeer and poor ride," said Martin Whitmarsh on Friday, when the sheer number of problems with the MP4-28 first became obvious.

While much of the talk of reverting to the 2012 car is media led, Pitpass' technical editor Matt Somerfield agrees that such a move would be foolish.

"They really needed to understand the current car," he said. "We must remember that McLaren, by far and away, has the biggest evolution for 2013 and so they will require a longer gestation period to understand their car. Coupled to this is the team's understanding of the switch to Pull Rod Suspension at the front of the new car.

"Having made the switch to this arrangement in 2012 Ferrari not only has a year's advantage they too struggled initially with the Pull Rod arrangement."

With just four days until the opening session in Malaysia, the Woking outfit clearly has its work cut out.

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