McLaren to be diligent, not cautious over Austin reliability 14 Nov 2012
McLaren insist they are not overly concerned about reliability going into this weekends 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, despite a car failure having robbed Lewis Hamilton of almost certain victory at the last round in Abu Dhabi.
Instead, the teams priority will be adding more performance to the MP4-27 as they bid to win at the all-new Circuit of The Americas and hunt down Ferrari in the battle to secure second place in the 2012 constructors championship.
The failure we had in Abu Dhabi was very painful, admitted managing director Jonathan Neale in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, referring to Hamiltons retirement on lap 20 at Yas Marina, the former champion having dominated the weekend to that point.
Having said that, weve just done 1,500 trouble-free kilometres with the same car at the [young driver] test last week. So yes, we are very mindful of the constructors championship, but we are still taking performance upgrades to this Grand Prix. We are not taking an overtly cautious approach, but we are going to be very diligent.
McLaren were the last team to win a United States Grand Prix, with Hamiltons victory at Indianapolis back in 2007, and Neale believes the US races new Texan home - the countrys first venue purpose built for F1 competition - should prove to be something special again.
Its always lovely to go to a new circuit but this one in particular looks like its been really well thought out, he commented. Ive seen the simulations and definitely the height change in the circuit and the way that some of the corners have been set up with some blind apexes is going to make for some really exciting racing.
The tightening set of curves [Turns 3, 4 and 5] - corners very similar to the Japanese circuit of Suzuka - look a real technical challenge, so I think its going to be an interesting one for the drivers to have to learn on Friday - and for the teams to balance their programme with that.
With two rounds of the 2012 season remaining, McLaren have no chance of overhauling Red Bull at the top of the team standings, but with second-placed Ferrari just 22 points ahead they will be chasing hard for the victory in Austin.
I expect to see the usual suspects up the front, added Neale. Clearly its a very close-fought championship, and with some pretty tantalising battles up and down the grid, whether youre in the midfield or at the rear and fighting for those very important Grand Prix places. But yes, we hope - and our desire is - to do really well and to win the race.
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