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.”
Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.
The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.
“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.
“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.
“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.
“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”
Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.