Formula 1 News

McLaren plan to be fast from the start

The team has been the only one to put a threat on Red bull with three vitories for both Hamilton and Button. A little bit more speed might put things at the same level for next year.
Friday, November 18, 2011

LONDON, Nov 18, 2011 (AFP) - McLaren's Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton hope, and expect, to be fast from the first lap of next season's Formula One world championship in a bid to stop Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull reeling off a hat-trick of title triumphs.

The title-winning duo of 2008 and 2009 will fly into Sao Paulo for next weekend's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix hoping, also, to end 2011 in a blaze of glory, but their real goal is to take over at the top again next year.

And this week the British pairing received a boost to their ambitions when McLaren's team chiefs stressed that it was vital for them to begin the new season as they were ending the old.

Hamilton won last weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to record this third win of the year while Button has only failed to finish in a podium position once in the last eight races.

This run of consistency and speed has left the team happy with their developments, but frustrated at being unable to mount a serious bid to stop Vettel and Red Bull's march to glory.

As a result, McLaren have made clear that their focus is on starting the next season much faster than they have done recent ones.

Racing chief Jonathan Neale said: "We need to start next year quick. We're showing that we can out-develop and stay close to everybody.

"We've consistently won races, we're consistently on the podium, but we don't win championships enough and that's a frustration."

The team believe their 2012 hopes depend on their ability to design a car which is fast from the outset.

Struggles in pre-season testing this year highlighted a clear disparity between McLaren's MP4-26 and Red Bull's RB7, but McLaren steadily reduced that deficit as the season progressed.

Neale added: "We love winning races, but we want to win some more championships. We've got to get out of the blocks."

He explained that only six percent of the 2011 car will be re-used in the design for the 2012 machine.

Neale said: "We're running a high-speed research and development organisation, but it's up to us to give the drivers something they can really get hold of and exploit.

"And I think Lewis and Jenson, as back- to- back word champions, deserve the best. So that's a clear target."

Team chief Martin Whitmarsh said: "It really is a team effort. There are hundreds of people here who enjoy these victories and contribute to them.

Great drivers need great cars and that's what we are here to develop and supply for them."

Hamilton and Button at Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton and Button at Abu Dhabi.

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