McLaren play down Melbourne victory chances

By on Friday, March 8, 2013

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh insists that his team would be satisfied with points at next weekend's Australian Grand Prix.

McLaren has won in Australia three times in the previous five seasons, including the 2012 opener courtesy of Jenson Button.

"We’ve faced a challenging few weeks prepping our new MP4-28 for the 2013 season," said Whitmarsh. "The often cold and sometimes wet conditions we experienced during pre-season testing in Barcelona and Jerez made it difficult to operate the tyres consistently within their optimal performance window. That issue, combined with a handful of typical testing setbacks, gave us a few headaches."

"It’s important to remember that our MP4-28 is a new and uncompromising design that we intend to develop aggressively throughout the year. Undoubtedly, it has great potential – and we fly to Melbourne determined to show well and to score points that should establish us in good stead for both the drivers’ and the constructors’ world championships."

Button, a three time victor in Melbourne, is also unsure of the pecking order.

"This year, I don’t think any team really knows or understands the competitive order," said the 2009 world champion.

"It’s been an extremely hard-to-read winter: varying fuel-loads and levels of tyre degradation mean that it’s hard to accurately predict who’ll arrive in Australia with the best-sorted car. But that’s part of the game."

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