McLaren Mercedes are looking to improve their fortunes this coming weekend, as the MP4-29 suffered handling issues at the last race in Shanghai. Both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were happier with the increased balance that the aerodynamic upgrades have given, which shows a step forward towards better results.
The Danish rookie is hoping for a better turn of form this coming Sunday, but admits that the team is not where “we want to be,” but is still remaining positive ahead of what could happen on race day: “I think our upgrades are working – they’re not going to completely change the world, but they’re a small step in the right direction and we need to keep taking those small steps. If we get everything right this weekend, I think we can be fighting well in the midfield pack.”
Both drivers were around 2.2 seconds off the pace in FP2, which shows how much differential there is between the teams at this early stage, where development is ongoing, but there is still room for further improvement.
Button said that the team is looking to increase the performance on overall long-run pace when it comes to the balance of the car, but said that the car appeared to struggle as the temperatures rose during the afternoon: “It was harder for us to get the car working properly. When you’re limited on downforce, the car seems to operate properly within a very narrow temperature range.”
The 2009 Champion says that it is still to early to say where the changes could place the team in the race, but thinks that the work the team is doing will help for Saturday. A good result is the aim for all concerned, especially after the lack of form since the season opener.
Racing Director Eric Boullier is hopeful that the hard work that the team and drivers have done will stand them in good stead and potentially put them at the top of the midfield: “We brought a series of upgrades to our car this weekend, and it’s encouraging to see that the package has been a useful step. It seems to have corrected some of the problems that affected us in China last month, but we’re still only taking the first steps on a long journey back to the front.”