Despite a turbulent start to the new season, McLaren proved that the MP4-28 had potential in Sepang, as Jenson Button challenged the Mercedes before a pit-stop calamity put pay to his progress. Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh states that the team are striving for further development ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.
McLaren’s performance in Malaysia was particularly impressive considering the team’s midfield obscurity in Melbourne. Despite the vast improvement, it is clear that McLaren are setting their sights to the top step of the podium. Whitmarsh admits that he would be “very disappointed” if the team did not experience a further improvement in China.
Whitmarsh announced, “We’ve got some good data and I think we’ve now got an opportunity to go out there and improve upon it. We know what we had in Malaysia isn’t optimal for various reasons. We did some experiments, it responded to those experiments and I would be very disappointed if we don’t take another step in China and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Team Principal suggested that a possible reason for the differing performances levels in Australia and Malaysia was the circuit surface. The MP4-28 is supposedly weak on bumpy tracks. This is an area which has been identified by McLaren as an area for improvement, but Whitmarsh states that it is no excuse for a lackluster season. “Yeah, but we’ve got to get better; a good race car has got to be good on bumps or any kind of a circuit so we’ve just got to improve the car. We can improve the car from where it was in Australia. I think the improvements we made at Sepang were not just circuit related; I think we made some small steps forward with the car. Not as much as I’d like but some reasonable steps.”