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Button says McLaren won’t win a race with current car

Mar 18, 2013, 10:44 AM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-AUS-F1

Jenson Button says McLaren will not win a race with the MP4-28 in its current form.

“The way the car is at the moment, this package that is sat in the garage right now is not going to win a race,” he said after the Australian Grand Prix.

McLaren endured a miserable start to the season in Melbourne, with Button lining up 10th on the grid and team mate Sergio Perez 15th. They finished the race 9th and 11th respectively.

The MP4-28 suffered chiefly from poor ride over the bumpy Albert Park track. But it also lacked grip, understeered and gave poor consistency.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh described Friday practice with the car as “one of the hardest days I can recall”.

McLaren find themselves in a similar situation to that which Ferrari had at the beginning of last season. The F2012 was not on the pace of the front-runners during the first four races.

However Fernando Alonso was able to score an impressive win in Malaysia, scene of the next race, taking advantage of wet weather conditions.

During wet conditions in qualifying in Australia Button showed the team have the potential to spring a similar surprise. He was fourth in the rain-affected Q2 session, but dropped back when the track dried out later on.

Until McLaren make some progress with their car, wet weather may be their best chance of achieving a result.

“We need to bring updates and move this car forward,” he added. “That is the only way we will see good results and wins. We have been in bad positions before and come back strong. It is just a pity that we have lost out so much at the start of the year.”

  1. manchestermiracle - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    No stories on NHRA, AMA Pro, Grand Am, etc? Good races and interesting drama in all those series this past weekend. If you’re just going to write about F1 and NASCAR then you really ain’t a motorsports site. How do you manage to not even mention the iconic 12 Hours of Sebring?

    • apexassassin - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      It was on Speed. Go to their site if that’s what you’re after.

    • icemanpjn - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:30 AM

      F1 is the world’s most-watched motorsport. It only makes sense to cover it. Then there’s NASCAR, which is the top American motorsport, and this is an American network, so it makes sense that they would focus on that.

    • chaparral2f - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      C’mon dude. AMA Pro? Really now. Speed covers Grand Am and Sports Car racing like the 12 hours of Sebring. NBCSports is about F1 and Indycars.

  2. patellis15 - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    They are posting on Indy car as well. I like the format, keep the f1 news and reports rolling in!

  3. apexassassin - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Dennis has really screwed the pooch… the whole deal with Merc and deciding to sell Mclaren’s shares to the Bahrainis and then release a sports car line that competes with AMG just has had catastrophic results…

    now no Hamilton to develope the car and get to grips with the crappy tyres like he did in 2012, new technical structure changes, major sponship changes, poor pitwall decisions….
    whoever made the decision to got to a pull-rod front suspension with a very high roll center, compounded with making the components very difficilt to change/service needs to be sacked… i know it’s only been one race but after testing and that race weekend Mclaren absolutely look like a sinking ship.

    No sure Honda will be able to save them no matter how great of an engine. Whitmarsh is a bright guy and like his comments, but I felt soooo sorry for him in Melbourne. It will be interesting to watch them recover or fail horribly this year.

  4. apexassassin - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Dennis has really screwed the pooch… the whole deal with Merc and deciding to sell Mclaren’s shares to the Bahrainis and then release a sports car line that competes with AMG just has had catastrophic results…

    now no Hamilton to develope the car and get to grips with the crappy tyres like he did in 2012, new technical structure changes, major sponship changes, poor pitwall decisions….
    whoever made the decision to got to a pull-rod front suspension with a very high roll center, compounded with making the components very difficilt to change/service needs to be sacked… i know it’s only been one race but after testing and that race weekend Mclaren absolutely look like a sinking ship.

    Not sure Honda will be able to save them no matter how great of an engine. Whitmarsh is a bright guy and like his comments, but I felt soooo sorry for him in Melbourne. It will be interesting to watch them recover or fail horribly this year.

  5. apexassassin - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Dennis has really screwed the pooch… the whole deal with Merc and deciding to sell Mclaren’s shares to the Bahrainis and then release a sports car line that competes with AMG just has had catastrophic results…

    now no Hamilton to develope the car and get to grips with the crappy tyres like he did in 2012, new technical structure changes, major sponship changes, poor pitwall decisions….
    whoever made the decision to got to a pull-rod front suspension with a very high roll center, compounded with making the components very difficilt to change/service needs to be sacked… i know it’s only been one race but after testing and that race weekend Mclaren absolutely look like a sinking ship.

    Not sure Honda will be able to save them no matter how great of an engine they make. Whitmarsh is a bright guy and like his comments, but I felt soooo sorry for him in Melbourne. It will be interesting to watch them recover or fail horribly this year.

    • apexassassin - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      wtf? why did that triple post from my mobile?

      sorry folks!

      • worknman24hours - Mar 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        LOL-Button better remember that it’s easier to fix the driver then fix the car.

        He better shut his pie hole.

    • Matt Thorne - Mar 18, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      it’s not Dennis…it’s Martin. I was talking with a friend this morning and one of our topics was just how much of a downward spiral McLaren has been in since Dennis stepped away from the day-to-day of the team and Whitmarsh was installed. Hamilton and Lowe leaving, Vodaphone leaving at the end of this coming season, the loss of long time partner Mercedes…if I were Whitmarsh, I’d feel a definite warming of my backside from the hot-seat I was sitting on.

      • apexassassin - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        Merc would hire Whitmarsh a second later, wouldn’t they. Whitmarsh answers to Dennis and if your think Ron has relingquished control, you don’t know Ron or his affliction. OCD. Big time.

        Not saying Ron desgined the car, but ultimately if the results don’t come, whomever designed or approved teh switch to pull-rod front suspension with a high roll center and tedious to remove bodywork will get the axe. I’m not certain that’s Whitmarsh though, even though he is the team principal.

        Like other sports, when you can’t get rid of the players, it’s the coach that gets fired.

  6. patellis15 - Mar 18, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    I wonder honestly, if having seen Ferrari take most of a year to come to grips with their pull-rod suspension, if McLaren have already turned an eye towards next year. Take a year to figure it out,hit the ground run ing with the new rules, and a new engine ( perhaps supplier as well).

    • apexassassin - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      go to a famous video site and search “Scalabroni on 2013 front roll centres” for a great explanation of exactly that. It’s not the pull-rods per-se. But the high roll center they create. That and the effect that has on tyres (worse) and related attached componets (more strain).

      Looks to me like Mclaren will be starting 2014 on the wrong foot as well… and maybe 2015 too if you believe they’ll actually redesign the car for a second time to switch to Honda power.

      All signs point to Honda in 2014, imo.

  7. mistercharitystripe34 - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Their front-end looked awful coming out of corners and they were losing major time to the other big names in Qualifying and the Race. Poor management all around. What was up with Perez’s engineer getting him to put on Super-Softs during a rainy Q2 when everyone else could barely handle the track with Mediums? McLaren have a ton of work to do.

  8. pcar15 - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    One doesn’t have to look much deeper than Paddy leaving, he’s the one who instituted the 1980’s suspension change, wonder if that was his parting shot to put big Mac another year behind in development.
    Great to have Diffey in the driver’s seat, for a brief moment I thought we’d finally seen and heard the last of Babbling Bob, suffered too many years with his plagiarized diatribes.
    Can’t believe NBC would let this loudmouth polute their network, send him packing with Paul Page and Marty, they deserve each other.

    • chaparral2f - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:20 PM

      Boos and hisses to you regarding your comments about Bob Varsha. One wag over at the Speed forum wished that Leigh would be gone more often. Those who love Bob outnumber his pundits like you.

  9. gtp83 - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Found a great way to eliminate Babbliing Bob a couple of years ago, XM sat radio carries the F1 races live and with broadcasters that have a clue what they are talking about.

    The audio timing is close enough, you don’t have to put up with ANY commercials, and best of all you don’t have to hit the mute button every time BB opens his mindless yap, which is close to 50% of the time.

    It was great to hear BB have to take a back seat to the announcers that actually knew something for the Grand Am race in Texas, he must have had to spend hours on the bog getting rid of the mess he couldn’t spew out his mouth.

    Diffey does a very good job, keeps his mouth shut until it’s time to speak, a rare occurance on F-1 broadcasts in this country.

    Traveled many parts of the world, listened to many racing announcers, BB is definitely at the bottom.

    Give XM a listen if you want to hear how it should be done.

    • chaparral2f - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:06 PM

      You have got to be freakin’ kidding me. Bob Varsha made the Speed coverage. I have followed him since his early 80’s with ESPN covering IMSA races. Most people over at the Speed forum like him. You have got to be a minority when it comes to not liking Bob Varsha. Anyway, I am absolutely elated he is covering the race at Malaysia.

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