The spy saga that ripped through Formula One last year was bound to rear its ugly head at some point today, but McLaren spoke confidently about the legitimacy of their car, and to also warn others that the distractions of the past six months haven’t taken anything away from the development of the MP4-23. In all honesty, the issues that embroiled the team must have hurt some of the work on the teams 2008 campaign, but being such a large and organised team, I doubt it will have any affect on the upcoming season. And of course, further recriminations will not happen following McLaren’s unreserved apology to everyone.
I would like to say that it has made no impact, but the reality is a whole variety of things stray into the time of the engineering and management team. We were fighting to win a championship last year, ourselves and Ferrari.
In the last third of the season we were putting a lot more work and development into it to compete for that championship, so I am sure that we both were slightly distracted from developing this year’s car. However I think it is maybe a testament to the determination to both those organizations that we are out launching the cars early.
The car that is being launched downstairs, as I think is the case with our competitor, will not necessarily look the same in Australia. Ours certainly won’t look the same. We will evolve and develop the car between now and the beginning of the season. It has a lot of performance left in it. Martin Whitmarsh.
McLaren voluntarily stopped developing certain systems on the car as the spy saga came to a close late last year, but Whitmarsh has stated that this won’t change the approach of the season for the team and the car will still be competitive.
We did not want there to be any ambiguity or question during the course of this year that any of our programme had been influenced by the events of last year. But we of course are happy that there is no influence on the development of last year’s car or this year’s car.
But we accept that it would be useful for us and for this sport to live without any of those questions or challenges. So we came up with those three areas. We do not believe that we are handicapped by that. We are in there with equal opportunity with the other teams to hopefully develop a competitive car, and to compete and win races.
So clearly there are a lot of areas, a lot of tools on the car to address various handling issues. And despite the regulation changes that take away some of the electronic aids, but nonetheless we are confident that we can develop the car to give our drivers the ability to win races. Martin Whitmarsh.
It sounds like a frank statement from McLaren, but I must admit to taking the Woking team’s words with a grain of salt following the debacle of last year. Hopefully though, McLaren can be competitive and challenge Ferrari. The season is slowly shaping up to be a great year of racing with many unknowns centred around BMW and Renault. And the final unknown centres around where Ron spent his Christmas? He looks very tanned in the above photo!