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.”
Danica Patrick to sign off driving career at 2018 Indy 500
With her full-time career in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now coming to an end, following the end of the 2017 season this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Danica Patrick is embarking on a new path in 2018 with the two biggest 500-mile races in North America.
Patrick confirmed plans to participate in North America’s most marquee 500-mile races, the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, during a press conference today in Miami. A team for the Indianapolis 500 has not been determined, and her options for the Daytona 500 are limited to NASCAR teams with three or fewer full-time cars, because a four-car full-time team cannot enter a fifth for the Daytona 500.
Patrick ended her full-time career in IndyCar after 2011 to head to NASCAR. She drove 10 races in 2012 before her first full Cup season in 2013, where she won the pole for that year’s Daytona 500 and ultimately finished eighth.
Her Cup career has seen her finish between 24th and 28th in points with seven career top-10 finishes, all between sixth and 10th place. She ranks 27th heading into this week’s finale too.
It was her IndyCar career though where she first entered the national conversation after a few years of apprenticeship driving for Bobby Rahal’s Barber Dodge and Formula Atlantic teams. A fourth place finish in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 with a number of laps led launched her into the racing stratosphere and helped produce the Indianapolis 500’s biggest rating in years.
Ultimately her best finish in the ‘500 in seven starts was third place in 2009, behind Helio Castroneves and the late Dan Wheldon.
She won at Motegi, 2008, for her first and only win in IndyCar.
A visibly emotional Patrick announced this was the end of her full-time driving career to kick off the press conference, but switched to her future plans once she got through the opening remarks.
Patrick “never thought” she’d do the Indianapolis 500 again but when tossing around future ideas, the concept of running both Daytona and Indianapolis came up.
“I never thought I would do it. I always thought never, but I never said never. Here I am,” she said.
“Out of my mouth came, ‘What about Indy?’ That was really the first sort of idea that got me excited. Let’s do it. I called Haley (Moore, longtime PR rep). What did I just say I would do? She said, ‘Hell yes that’s a good idea.’
“I’m still surprised.”
Patrick will need to participate in the Indianapolis 500 refresher program for drivers that aren’t full-time drivers, so that will provide her a couple hours additional track time before practice opens to the full field in mid-May.
The new 2018 Dallara universal body kit comes into being this year too, and Patrick thinks she has improved as a driver over the last six seasons to be able to come back.
“(Going) 240… it’ll be no problem,” she deadpanned. “It’ll take a bit of adjusting. It’s different for sure. But I think I’m a better driver now. It’ll take a bit of acclimating. Yeah, I would like to get in a car before I get to Indy.”
Patrick said running the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 “could” occur with her same teams she last ran with full-time, Stewart-Haas Racing and Andretti Autosport, respectively. But her options remain open for both.