McLaren inherited a second podium position to go along with the first achieved by Formula One debutante Kevin Magnussen once Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from second place.
But while McLaren owed its Melbourne results in part due to reliability, it admits it doesn’t yet have the pace to challenge fellow Mercedes-powered teams Mercedes AMG and Williams, per racing director Eric Boullier.
In a teleconference Wednesday, Boullier said they achieved their goal of strong points, and now need to refine the MP4-29 chassis to improve the pace.
“We focused a lot of our winter on building a solid and reliable car, because we believed – and Australia confirmed our strategy – that reliability was key to taking big points at the beginning of the season,” he told reporters.
“It is true now that we are pushing very aggressively on performance development – we need to clearly catch up the gap to Mercedes and also some others.”
Jenson Button is a past Malaysia winner (the rain-shortened 2009 race) while Magnussen will make his inaugural appearance at the Sepang International Circuit next week.