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McLaren: All our energies are on the MP4-28 21 Mar 2013

Sam Michael (AUS) McLaren Sporting Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 McLaren MP4-28 sidepod, radiator and electronic detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 21 March 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 and Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 21 March 2013

McLaren have dismissed media speculation that they could revert back to their 2012-spec car following the MP4-28’s disappointing Grand Prix debut in Australia, where the team scored just two points courtesy of Jenson Button’s ninth-place finish.

“All of our energies are on the 28A,” said sporting director Sam Michael in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in ahead of this weekend’s 2013 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix. “That’s what we think will offer us the best chance over the course of the season and at this point in time that’s where all our efforts are going.”

Michael insisted the team have already identified some key areas of the car that need most attention, but admitted that for now at least they must continue to investigate all avenues of potential gain.

“When you are looking for performance as we are at the moment, you look everywhere, so we have programmes on everything. We have a good idea of what we need to concentrate on, but until we’ve got on top of that then we’ll keep our minds open to everything.”

Explaining the modifications McLaren will be making to their car for Malaysia, Michael stated: “We have two lines of new parts. One is normal development that was going to come anyway to the car, and then we’ve got some experimental stuff to work through on Friday, some of which is just background test items to help us further understand (the car).”

Regardless of the success or otherwise of the new parts, Michael believes the tough lessons learned in Melbourne and the car data accrued there should help make for a much smoother time in Kuala Lumpur.

“When you go to this race you have the benefit of the knowledge of Melbourne. We obviously have more understanding of the car and that actually allows you to manage the race weekend better. I think even if we went through Melbourne again we could probably do a better job just because you have more data.”

The Sepang International Circuit, with its sky-high temperatures, two long straights and array of medium- and high-speed turns, is a very different proposition to Albert Park. In theory it’s a track that could be more suited to the MP4-28. In reality, Michael feels the ultimate pecking order will alter little in Malaysia.

“It is very different,” he agreed. “In terms of where it puts us I don’t know. I suspect it won’t change the order too much. It’ll be a similar order to what we saw in Melbourne and in testing.”

McLaren finished on the podium in Malaysia last year, with Lewis Hamilton third. His replacement at the team for 2013, Sergio Perez, scored a spectacular second place for Sauber, while Jenson Button came home a disappointing 14th after an early collision with HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan.

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