McLaren and Marussia will be trying out substantial revisions to their respective Formula 1 challengers at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix as each seeks to improve the competitiveness of their 2013 cars.
McLaren has endured an appalling start to its 2013 season, netting a paltry four championship points to-date as it struggles to cure the poor handling MP4-28.
The team suffered a dramatic slip in form between pre-season testing and the opening round in Australia, with it later emerging that the car’s strong performances in Spain came by dint of the team’s mechanics accidentally fitting the car’s suspension components back to front!
But it’s going to take more than incorrectly-fitted suspension to fix the car, and the team’s Managing Director Jonathan Neale has confirmed that a raft of new parts will be tried out on the car during Friday’s two practice sessions at the Shanghai International Circuit.
“We managed to improve the car between Australia and Malaysia, we were closer on the pace there. Taking the learning from that weekend we’re taking a number of upgrades to China,” he said during the team’s routine phone-in session with the major F1 journalists.
“Some are part of our routine upgrade package and some are in response to what we’re trying to do at the moment.
“I believe that we know where the problems are on the car, but in order to be absolutely sure of that we need to have run the package that we’re going to run in China.
“As always with cars there is no one thing or no one magic bullet, there are a number of things that will restore the performance of the car. We believe that we’ve got a very good underlying package, but it’s clearly not the performance that we predicted.”
While it may not have the financial clout of McLaren, the Marussia team does share in the Woking squad’s technical expertise by dint of a new collaborative partnership signed between the outfits during the off-season.
Having outpaced fellow backmarkers Caterham in the opening two races, the team is hoping that revised suspension and brake ducts will give it more of an edge this weekend. These new parts will come ahead of a more substantial upgrade when the European leg of the Formula 1 season kicks off next month.
“We will be running some new suspension parts that we proved out in testing but delayed until we had some further race distance experience with the MR02. We also have some new front and rear brake ducts,” team principal John Booth said in the team’s pre-event media release.
“The bigger push will come for Europe, but for now it’s good to be bringing new incremental updates to the car to maintain our positive trajectory.”
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