Kevin Magnussen has spoken openly about the problems that have afflicted the beginning of another disappointing season-opening few races for McLaren.
The Dane finished 2nd in Melbourne ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, but since then has scored just two points from three races while Button was eliminated from a potential podium-winning drive in Bahrain a fortnight ago.
“The problem for us is that we are struggling to get front-tyre heat in the wet, and it’s also a problem in the dry.” said Magnussen.
“It’s not that we don’t switch the tyre on as such, it’s that it grains immediately. We’re very front limited and this circuit has shown where our weaknesses are.”
Button concurred, saying the MP4/29 had proven ‘confusing’ and that there was a lot of work to do before the Spanish Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.
“It’s tough for all of us. It’s tough in the car because we have to put up with it for an hour and a half, but it’s also very tough for the guys working at Woking.”
“The car is an all right car. It’s a good car, but we can’t get the tyres working and that’s one of the biggest issues in F1 these days. All I know is it wasn’t very quick. We start the development work now.”
The results have drawn criticism from fans, some bemoaning the continued lack of results by McLaren and blaming the drivers or the departure of Lewis Hamilton in 2012 for the downturn in results. In actuality, neither is the factor with Button and Magnussen both proving their competence time and again while Hamilton’s input to development at McLaren was minimal at best.
Eric Boullier points to the MP4/29 as the real problem.
“Our car isn’t competitive enough, we know that, its deficiencies are mostly the consequence of insufficient downforce.” he said.
“…the fact that we’ve been unable to get sufficient heat into our front tyres in the chilly weather conditions we’ve experienced this weekend has further compromised our performance here. There’s a three-week gap between now and the Spanish Grand Prix, and we’ll work flat-out between now and then in an effort to address our car’s shortcomings. We know what we have to do, and we’ll work night and day to do it.”