McLaren sporting director Sam Michael has admitted that this year’s car is not up to scratch, confirming that the best the team can hope for this weekend is a points’ finish.
The Australian was a guest at this morning’s Australian Grand Prix Breakfast, and a tough day’s running yesterday had left the Woking squad scratching their heads as they try to quickly turn around the car’s performance to keep in the hunt for the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship titles.
“We made a lot of changes to the car over the winter and we’re not where we want to be at the moment,” he told us on the event’s red carpet.
“Obviously we’re here to win. The car – as it is right now – needs more work to it to get back to where we need to be, but we’ll put our heads down and make sure we get there.
“We pretty much know exactly what needs to be improved, but unfortunately we haven’t gotten on top of them as quickly as we’d like. It’s a long season – nineteen races – and while Melbourne is pretty important to us, we’re not going to win or lose the championship at the first Grand Prix. The most important this for this weekend is get as many points as the car is capable of achieving, and to not make any mistakes. Those points could prove invaluable come the end of the year at Brazil.”
One disrupting factor is the impending departure of the team’s long-serving technical head, Paddy Lowe, who will jump ship to Mercedes at the end of the season.
“Paddy was a really good asset to McLaren and had been with the company for a long time; he was a fantastic engineer,” Michael added.
“He’s decided to move on to other pastures and people do that, it’s a completely normal process in Formula 1.
“We have plenty of engineering depth inside McLaren, and that’s why it was an easy and natural decision to promote Tim Goss into Paddy’s role. Tim has had an important role in the design of our recent cars. Of course you will miss people like Paddy, but equally you don’t dwell on losing staff in Formula 1, and you just have to carry on.”