According to McLaren-Honda driver Jenson Button, the 2015 MP4-30 racer will be quicker in Sepang than it was in Melbourne, which is something we’ll definitely need to see in order to believe.
Jenson is counting on the improvement the team has made while optimizing the engine and tweaking the aerodynamics, allowing him to push harder and hopefully (at least we hope) take the fight to “3rd tier” teams such as Toro Rosso and Force India. Baby steps, yes.
“If you look at it from afar, you probably won’t see any changes but if you look at the laptimes compared to other people, I think you will see a change,” said Button, while also adding that “The problem is that we are so far behind that you won’t see a position change.”
“There will be a good chunk in terms of performance and it comes from the power unit and in terms of cooling but also in terms of aerodynamics as we have got some new parts on the car, which will help.”
All this could indeed lead to a “snowball effect” where everything starts working in your favor, but the fact that they still don’t look at it as trying to catch up to other teams which aren’t particularly quick is very disconcerting.
Of course, the British driver also expects to see an even faster car in China and Bahrain in April but that’s not exactly news to any F1 fan, as all teams expect improvements on a race by race basis.
What is encouraging is that McLaren doesn’t want to be conservative anymore, like they were in Australia where they were happy the car crossed the finish line.
“Everyone said if they struggled in Melbourne they are going to struggle here and of course it’s more difficult, but before Melbourne we didn’t have stabilized temperatures. Now we have them, we can work on which direction we need to go with cooling for this race.”
Sounds like Jenson is not just hopeful but also very much involved in the development process, and we’re looking forward to seeing how well both McLaren cars do this weekend, especially since Fernando Alonso will also be taking part in the race.