McLaren admit MP4-28 needs more than a “small tweak”

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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.”