McLaren F1 car 'a mess'

March 10, 2011 - 0:0

Fears are growing that McLaren’s season may be over before it has even begun following some stinging criticism of the Woking-based team and their new car, which has been described as “a mess”.

Jenson Button admitted after practice in Barcelona on Tuesday that he would be “surprised” if the MP4-26 could match the speed of Ferrari and Red Bull at the first race in Melbourne on March 27.
But the 2009 world champion’s gloomy prognosis was nothing compared to the views of former drivers Martin Brundle and David Coulthard, and former team owner Eddie Jordan, who were speaking as part of a BBC season preview.
“I watched the
[McLaren] out on track a week ago and it’s a mess,” said Brundle in an assessment guaranteed to depress British race fans.
“It didn’t slow down. It didn’t turn in. It couldn’t get the power down. Lewis
[Hamilton] looked absolutely at sea in the thing. Clearly they have a fundamental issue.”
Coulthard pointed out that while McLaren have the resources and expertise to turn things around, they will be fighting an uphill battle from now on.
“If your car doesn’t run quick straight out of the blocks then it is a problem,” the Scot said. “By the time you sort it out everyone will have brought their second and third upgrades along.”
Jordan was the most scathing of all, highlighting McLaren’s system in recent years of using one designer to design one year’s car, and another to design the next.
“I have a real problem with McLaren over this whole concept,” he said.
“Where is the thought process? Where is the evolution? Adrian Newey
[Red Bull’s chief technical officer] doesn’t do things like that. No major, winning team currently uses that system. I don’t get it.
“Both of the drivers are very unhappy. It probably needs a whole new car at this early stage.
“McLaren have done this now too often. This was all very fine in David’s era when there was a test team, test drivers, a whole support act behind you.
""That is why McLaren and Ferrari were always strong. I’m sorry, that is no longer possible and they are suffering as a result.”
McLaren, who last won the constructors’ title in 1998, have just three more days of testing before lights out in Melbourne: today, Friday and Saturday.
“I would be surprised if we can match the Red Bull and the Ferrari when we get to Melbourne,” he said. “Never say never. I am quite impressed with the step that we have made with the car from last week. However, it is still not enough.”
Meanwhile, the FIA has given Bahrain’s motor federation a new deadline of May 1 to say whether a grand prix can be held in the country this year.
In a brief statement likely to generate further accusations of a lack of leadership and direction, the sport’s governing body failed to clarify when a postponed race might be held in an already congested calendar.
Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s chief executive, suggested last week that a decision would be made at Tuesday's World Motor Sport Council meeting as it needed to be signed off.
The FIA also announced that its circuit commission would look into whether F1 tracks could be modified to encourage more overtaking.
(Source: ESPN)