McLaren have endured one of their worst starts to a season in recent years, currently lying 7th in the constructors’ championship behind one-time backmarkers Force India. However, despite the evident issues with the MP4-28 car, team principal Martin Whitmarsh is still pleased that the team did not re-introduce the MP4-27 earlier in the year.
After issues with the 2013 car in testing and at the first couple of races, many believed that McLaren would be better off switching back to the 2012 spec car, but Whitmarsh is sure that this would only have hindered the team further.
“I think looking where we are now, the fact is that if we were to switch back in the last few months, one: we’re learning and we had to learn, and two: eight months ago we had the fastest car in Formula One,” Whitmarsh said. “Our competitors have moved on and that car that was competitive then frankly wouldn’t be competitive today.”
The pace of the MP4-28 has dampened the title aspirations of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, who have amassed just 37 points between them so far in 2013; McLaren had 40 after the first race of last season. However, Whitmarsh believed that it is too easy to raise the idea of backtracking without fully understanding the circumstances.
“So, inevitably it’s easy from the outside looking in to say ‘this car isn’t as quick as you want it, why don’t you just go back’, but forgets the fact that Formula One has good, well funded teams here and people working hard and if we come back to that we lost the development time on that product as well.
“I think there are times and glimmers where we’re seeing something and learning something and having hope.”
McLaren did show good pace in China where Button finished an excellent 5th, and Sergio Perez would most probably have scored the same result barring a car failure that forced him to retire from the Monaco Grand Prix. The team is looking to switch focus to 2014, but they are by no means giving up on the current campaign.