McLaren musing

I can’t really purport an ‘analysis’, because that takes research, and non-lazy effort.

But it is frustrating that real anatomical dissection is not being done, by the world’s F1 experts, on McLaren now.

Surely, the McLaren engineers must be absolutely at it day and night, hammer and tongs on their car, to fix it ready for 2 weeks time in Aus?

So where has it ‘gone wrong’?

Their designers trumpet their 60+ years of total experience, yet they still flag behind Newey and Red Bull, and Pat Fry and Ferrari, both of whom were previously at McLaren, and left.

It hasn’t gone THAT wrong… it’s not as bad as 2009, which yes, Pat Fry was ‘apparently’ responsible, but, Ferrari still wanted Fry.

But to re-state, this car isn’t as bad. It seems unreliable and off the pace, however the 2009 car was a wreck, even three-wheeling at times.

So it can’t be said that they have made an ass of it, but just that a tenth of a second is a massive deal in Formula 1, and anything less than complete 100% understanding of your car means that you won’t be at the limit of success (i.e. the limit of speed) that your car can give you.

Red Bull followed on from the RB6 with Newey seemingly some kind of Einstein when it comes to downforce and holistic mix of machinery working in sync, and Ferrari seemed to have hit the mark also.

McLaren have tried to be revolutionary with their side-pods, other air-intakes, wings, length… so it is perhaps therefore no surprise that there are teething problems. It will make McLaren fans, or maybe more specifically Hamilton and Button fans angry that Whitmarsh has simply failed to make EXACTLY the right and 100% correct decisions, but… this is the case.

There are still other factors for season victory, and it is perhaps these which will be more crucial to the Championship.

The tyres being so ladylike, gentle yet tempestuous means that correct decisions, adaptation and strategy will be more crucial to either gaining or losing several seconds over the course of a lap. Even on this note, my prediction is that Red Bull and Mercedes (Brawn) will come out on top. McLaren always seem to stymied into an overly (supposedly) ‘calculated’ approach… see Malaysia 2010 and Italy 2008 – rather than looking up to the sky to see the rain-clouds, they obsessed over (1) what Ferrari were doing, and (2) how their position on the track was relevant as ‘race leaders’… not just getting out on the track and setting a bloody time!

The good news for McLaren… MAYBE Ferrari and Red Bull can only improve so much more… i.e. to a limited degree. Maybe they have almost found all the time they can, and more changes will actually negatively effect the wear on the testy and feisty tyres. Maybe if McLaren can really unlock their car and iron out the large creases, it can actually cause a jump of over a couple of seconds pace.

Other than that… their only positive is two amazing drivers, one highly respectable Button and one truly phenomenal Hamilton. If anything, they will save McLaren’s face, and save their season.

So, WHITMARSH, PERHAPS, you might want to stop openly criticising Hamilton for saying negatives (even though Whitmarsh seemingly can’t understand the concept of how negatives can help, and ignores them and only trumpets positives… but I digress) and realise that you are totally at sea without their World Champion ability.

That, and pray for rain.

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