McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale insists the team are ‘under no illusions’ about the amount of work that needs to be done to make their MP4-28 competitive.
“As always with a car there’s no one thing or one magic bullet,” said Neale in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. “There are a number of things that will restore performance to the car and we believe we’ve got, underlying, a very good package.”
He said the team have a busy program planned for the first day of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, with a raft of new updates to be tested on the car.
“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do on Friday as we learn more about the car and learn what if any of the upgrades that we’ve taken, works. So it’ll be a very busy day for Sergio [Perez] and Jenson [Button].”
Chief among the car’s weaknesses has been poor composures over bumps. The car suffered less from this in Malaysia because the Sepang circuit was smoother, Neale acknowledged:
“I certainly think that the Malaysian circuit was more favorable to us,” said Neale. “We got the car set up better for Malaysia.”
“But nevertheless Jenson worked really hard to get himself into a good scoring position. But for a mechanical problem with the wheel gun he might have capitalized on that but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.”
Greaves car, lineup confirmed for FIA WEC’s Mexico City race
Junqueira (above) back in action. Photo: Getty Images
Diaz (right) is another prototype class veteran, with recent PC experience (8Star Motorsports and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) added to his LMP2 days with Fernandez Racing.
All three of them also competed in Champ Car World Series races in Mexico City, with Gonzalez and Diaz part of a six-Mexican driver entry in the 2003 race (Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario Dominguez and Rodolfo Lavin).
Ricardo Gonzalez co-drives the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the WEC.
Around two-thirds of the Formula E grid also race in the WEC, with the two championships preventing clashes so that drivers do not have to pick between them. As a result, it seems inevitable that one of the races will have to change date.
Jolyon Palmer felt “gutted” after a likely top-10 finish in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was lost following a spin in the closing stages, costing him his first Formula 1 points.
2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Renault for its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, but arrived in Hungary without a point to his name from the opening 10 races of the season.
Palmer was left disappointed on Saturday after a red flag knocked him out of qualifying at the first hurdle, but a long first stint brought him into contention for points.
Palmer moved into the top 10 after jumping Nico Hulkenberg in the pits, only for Renault’s hard work to be undone when he spun off at Turn 4, losing three positions in the process.
The Briton was ultimately classified 12th after Esteban Gutierrez’s time penalty, extending his points drought to 11 races.
“I’m gutted as my first points in Formula 1 were there for the taking,” Palmer said.
“The car was good and I was driving well within myself in P10. I turned in the same as normal at turn four – I wasn’t hanging everything out and I was looking after the tires – but for some reason I lost the car in a massive snap.
“I need to look at everything with my engineers to see if there is anything we could have done to prevent it.
“I was running tenth, we had completed all our pit stops, we had good pace relative to those ahead and behind so it looks like we’ve made a real step forward this weekend.
“It was the best drive of my career today and just one small spin took away those points.
“I’m gutted today but I’ll be fighting to get in the same position or better in Hockenheim.”