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McLaren's Spanish upgrade package must deliver

Ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, McLaren made all sorts of promises that they would be putting on a better showing after two poor races.

Jenson Button finished ninth in Melbourne while a botched pit-stop ended his race in Sepang, while Sergio Perez finished 11th and 9th in his first two races of the season since switching from Sauber [who finished 8th in Malaysia].

The results have been down to McLaren developing a new car for the new 2013 Formula One World Championship season.

Over the course of the winter teams adopted one of two approaches for the upcoming season, with massive regulation changes in the pipeline for 2014, most teams opted to just evolve their 2012 cars due to the limited regulation changes.

This was certainly the approach that Red Bull took and one that many believed McLaren would take as they ended last season so strongly. But instead McLaren took a different route, designing an almost brand new car for the new season.

They knew that it would perhaps put them on the back foot going into the season, but poor performances in Barcelona in the winter tests would have proved a shock.

Their performances in Australia and Malaysia proved to be even a bigger blow, but while McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale appeared confident that some upgrades ahead of China would show an improvement, the step forward wasn't good enough for team boss Whitmarsh.

McLaren were forced to not set a competitive time in Q3, to give Jenson Button the chance to race on a different tyre strategy to the leaders such as Mercedes, Lotus and Ferrari.

And while that did mean that Button led the race as the pit-stop strategies played out, Button went on to finish fifth, while Perez finished eleventh.

'I would like to be leading it when the chequered flag comes out, I am not delighted. I cannot be delighted. To be honest, I am disappointed about it. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told Autosport Magazine.

'An enormous amount of work went into some modifications which were a bit on the fly, a bit of a try here, and I think we made a bit of progress but not as much as I would like.

'So overall I am a bit disappointed but we now have to make sure that the big package coming for Spain delivers.'

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday April 18 2013

Time: 12:00PM


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