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Malaysian GP: McLaren expects no immediate improvement, Button hoping for rain


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP McLaren expects no immediate improvement, Button hoping for rain - Photo: McLarenAfter a disastrous start of the season in Australia, McLaren are travelling to Malaysia, knowing they have no time to improve the performance of the MP4-28, and the Woking-based team is therefore hoping the unpredictable weather at the Sepang International Circuit may change their fortune.

Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh: We have been working tirelessly

“Clearly, our performance in Australia last weekend was not up to our high expectations — and we have been working tirelessly to bring additional performance to MP4-28,” said Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh ahead of round two of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

But he doesn’t expect any major improvements, “The short turnaround between rounds one and two of the championship means that we’ll arrive in Malaysia with less scope to improve our fortunes. This weekend, however, will provide us with additional opportunities to understand our car’s behaviour and to increase our understanding of the package.”

About the circuit Whitmarsh said, “It’s one of the most physically demanding races of the year — for both the drivers and their machinery — and the race will be tough for all competitors. Both Jenson and Checo have gone well at this circuit in the past, and both put in excellent performances throughout the weekend in Australia, so I’m sure they’ll once again be pushing the car to its limit.”

Sergio Perez and Martin Whitmarsh - Photo: McLaren

Sergio Perez and Martin Whitmarsh – Photo: McLaren

Jenson Button: There’s a lot of work to be done

Ninth place and only two points in Australia, that was the maximum Jenson Button could extract from the car last weekend in Melbourne. “Despite getting the maximum out of the car, it’s still clearly not where we want to be. There’s a lot of work to be done but we all know that this team won’t stop working until they get it right,” Button said.

The 2009 World Champion is actually hoping the Malaysian climate could lend the team a hand, “For this weekend, I don’t think we can expect an improvement in our fortunes, but the thing about Malaysia is that it can be so unpredictable — particularly with the later start time on Sunday afternoon, which tends to see late-afternoon showers fall. We saw that last year, when Fernando [Alonso] won, and we know that the unpredictable weather can make it a lottery for everyone.”

Sergio Perez: We need to close down the gap

Also Sergio Perez admitted McLaren has a lot of work to do. “Last weekend’s race was a difficult one for everybody on the team, but it’s shown us exactly what we need to do to close down the gap to the leaders. This weekend in Malaysia will be about trying to maximise the package we have while knowing that it’s not going to be enough to allow us to fight for overall victory.”

But he does not expect immediate improvements this weekend, “We know what we have to do — and I know that everybody within the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team will be working incredibly hard to bring performance to the car. That may not happen in Malaysia, as it’s so soon after the Australian Grand Prix, but we know it’ll start coming soon.”

Also read:

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

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