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Australian GP: McLaren working on pace of MP4-28, determined to score points


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: McLaren working on pace of MP4-28, determined to score points - Photo: McLarenMcLaren are determined to score points during the opening round of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship: the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne. As is the case for most teams, the first race of the season will be a tough test, but Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh is confident McLaren will score points at the Albert Park circuit.

Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh: McLaren in decent shape

Or, as Whitmarsh put it in his own words, “In the days leading up to the Australian Grand Prix, it’s fair to say that every team member of every Formula One team is looking over the precipice, balancing their hopes and fears, their nerves tensed in anticipation for the long slog ahead. It’s a tantalising prospect — and it’s one that keeps everyone who loves our sport coming back for more.”

He admitted testing had been troublesome for the Woking-based team, “We’ve faced a challenging few weeks prepping our new MP4-28 for the 2013 season. It’s important to remember that our MP4-28 is a new and uncompromising design that we intend to develop aggressively throughout the year. Undoubtedly, it has great potential — and we fly to Melbourne determined to show well and to score points that should establish us in good stead for both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ World Championships.”

He is confident the problems will be solved in time, “We’re still working tirelessly to bring more pace to the MP4-28’s performance envelope, and I believe we’ll arrive in Australia in decent shape.”

Jenson Button and Sergio Perez - Photo: McLaren

Jenson Button and Sergio Perez – Photo: McLaren

Jenson Button: well-prepared

Jenson Button is also looking forward to the start of the season, and he is well-prepared. “I’ve had a fantastic winter: I’ve never stopped training and working, and I feel incredibly fit and focused ahead of this new season,” the 2009 World Champion said.

Asked about winter testing he commented, “I’ve seen every side of that: you can have a terrible winter of testing, then turn up at the first race and be competitive; equally, you can look impressive in winter testing and be nowhere in Melbourne. If you’re lucky, it all comes together in the tests and you hit the ground running at the first race.”

He has fond memories of Melbourne, and said, “I’ve had some great experiences in Melbourne, having won the race three times, and I love the place. There isn’t a better location in the world to be kicking off what will no doubt be a fiercely competitive World Championship.”

Sergio Perez: an honour to drive for McLaren

Sergio Perez replaces Lewis Hamilton, who will be driving for Mercedes this season, and he spent the winter getting to know his new team. “It’s been an incredibly busy winter. Of course, for me, there has been the additional challenge of getting to know a new car and new engineering systems, and learning the names and roles of the many people I work closely with in the organisation.”

“But it’s never stopped being fun and I can already appreciate how useful that learning will be when I arrive in the pit garage in Melbourne to drive the car in a Grand Prix weekend for the first time.”

And he optimistically added, “For me, arriving in Melbourne as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver will be an incredible honour. I’ve never worked harder over a winter to be ready for the new season, and I’m confident I’ve done everything within my reach to be ready. Now all I’m waiting for is for the red lights to go out next Sunday afternoon!”

Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview

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