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We're definitely moving forwards, says McLaren engineering director

NEWS STORY
24/09/2014

While he readily admits his team is currently going through a difficult patch, McLaren engineering director Matt Morris is confident for the future.

Morris joined the Woking outfit a year ago following 17 years in F1 and WRC with Cosworth, Williams and Sauber. His role at Woking gives him responsibility for the whole engineering team, which covers how the team is made up, how it operates, and, most importantly, how it delivers performance.

"In my mind, McLaren has always stood for excellence and domination," he told the team website, "unfortunately, however, we aren't quite achieving those ambitions at the moment, but we're working to get there.

"Clearly, the past two seasons have been tough," he continues, "we admit that we've under-performed. There's no single reason for that, but I think we needed to remind ourselves that we're a racing team and not an engineering consultancy. We need to be quick and agile, and maybe take a few risks here and there. F1 is like warfare - you need to be on the attack all the time. If you sit back and relax, you'll lose."

Having slipped back behind Force India following an unrewarding Singapore Grand Prix, the multi-championship winners are currently sixth in the standings, which, should it remain like that, would be the team's worst season since 1981.

However, Morris is far from despondent, and reveals the team hasn't entirely given up on the current season.

"Our technical plan for the rest of the season is to continue developing the MP4-29," he says. "We have updates planned, potentially, right up to the last race."

Also, having no doubt taken notice of the resurgence at Williams, the Woking outfit has seen some serious restructuring, with the possibility of more to come.

"Yes, we've been working hard over the past year to bring in some new people, allow a few people to move on, and change the way the engineering team is structured. With the valuable input of Jonathan (Neale) and Eric (Boullier), that plan is now almost complete.

"However, we do still have a few more people in the incoming and outgoing pipelines, which is something that always happens when you want to stay fresh. We now need to give our new people and structures some time to develop and mature, but we're already seeing some of those changes coming to fruition as we continue to add performance to the car."

And looking ahead...

"We need to continue to catch up with our competitors as quickly as possible," he admits. "We also need to ensure that our new 2015 power unit integrates into the MP4-30 as seamlessly as possible, and that we continue to develop our already strong relationship with our new engine partner.

"The feeling within the team is a mix of great excitement and measured concern," he continues. "We're making some bold new moves, which is what was required, but such things always take time, and we're still a long way behind where we need to be as McLaren. But we're definitely moving forwards - that's the most important thing."

Chris Balfe

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