Date: 10th March 2011 at 11:05am
Written by:

It would be easy to put a negative slant on McLaren’s chances going into the 2011 Formula One season.

In fact just state a few facts and the true picture becomes clear.

Winter testing thus far has shown that the late development of the 2011 McLaren has hindered the team and British drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton going into the new season.

The car has lacked the speed and set-up to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari over the short stints and has lacked the reliability to complete the long runs.

While their title rivals complete over a 100 laps per day in Barcelona, McLaren spend a lot of time in the garage fixing mechanical issues.

Missing the first test has meant that the team have had to play catch-up throughout winter testing.

The cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix had given hope that some of the gap could have been closed before the opening race of the season in Australia, but testing this week in Barcelona has shown that is unlikely.

‘Do I believe I have a car to win the world championship at the moment? I don’t. No,’ the 2008 Formula One World champion told the BBC on Wednesday.

But while Red Bull and Ferrari look set for a two team fight for the title at the moment, Lewis Hamilton does actually remain positive.

Just because the car at the present moment in time is off the pace, it doesn’t mean it will remain that way throughout the year.

‘I have every belief in my heart that I can win many, many more world championships,’

‘So I’m definitely not shutting the year off. Everything is still to play for.

‘As long as we keep pushing in the right direction with the development, and the new things we have coming several races down the line, hopefully they will enable us to close the gap and compete for wins.

‘If we pick up a good few points in the first few races, then we won’t be miles behind.’


Thankfully for Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button the McLaren team have shown in the past that they are more than capable of developing a car during the season despite the lack of testing and have in the past turned cars from also-rans to race winners and it looks likely that this may well have to be the case in 2011.