McLaren test MP4-28 updates before home race

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McLaren conducted a straight-line aerodynamic test at Idiada in Spain to evaluate the latest upgrades to their MP4-28.

The team which won seven races last year have struggled to make an impression in 2013 and are yet to finish a race higher than sixth.

“The only issue with our car is we lack downforce and that is what we are trying to create at the moment,” said managing director Jonathan Neale in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.

“We’ve got a range of upgrades for the weekend but we’re not there just testing parts, but testing some fundamental understanding issues as well. We’ll wait and see on Friday afternoon at Silverstone as to what remains on the car for Saturday to know how successful it has been.”

Neale said the team’s goal for their home race is to “get both cars into Q3 and then race hard for good points”.

“It would be great if the guys could get a podium out of it but I think on recent performance that could be quite challenging,” he added.

Following their disappointing start to the year McLaren have faced several questions over whether they will give up on their 2013 programme and channel their efforts into the new regulations for next year. Neale once again downplayed the suggestion:

“The program is, to some extent, fluid. In terms of this year’s car versus next year’s car, we’re still learning a lot. I think that some of the fundamental work that we’ll continue to do beyond the [factory] shutdown is useful into next year, but inevitably once we’re through in to August we will be migrating some resource across in to 2014.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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