DIFFICULT TIME: McLaren's Jenson Button has been trying his best to stay positive while struggling with his car. Image: AFP / Paul Crock
LONDON, England - The 2016 McLaren Formula 1 race cars will be an "evolution" of the current MP4-30.
The famous British team in 2014 finished the season down in fifth place despite having clearly the best engine in the field from Mercedes. Behind the scenes, team boss Eric Boullier now admits, things were just not working...
"There has been a huge change in overall culture and philosophy," he said recently.
The Frenchman was not just referring to the huge shift from customer Mercedes to works Honda power, which for the moment has left McLaren again trailing the field.
STRUGGLING TO ADD POWER
Boullier insists McLaren is now taking an altogether "new approach", which is bearing fruit.
"I guess about 50% of the upgrades we brought to the track last year (2014) didn't completely work," he admitted. "This year, we've brought that down to about 5 or 10%."
Indeed, while Honda is still struggling to add power and reliability to its turbo V6 power unit, McLaren insists the actual chassis is on the right track.
Much of that credit might go to Peter Prodromou, who was formerly known as a key deputy to Red Bull's aerodynamics guru, Adrian Newey.
"Over the last couple of seasons, the team (McLaren) slightly lost its way aerodynamically," Prodromou admits. "It became obvious that if we'd carried on with the previous concept, there'd only be so much we could achieve."
And he said that "new aerodynamic concept" is sound.
"Next year's car will be an evolution of this year's," Prodromou announced, "so we need to keep developing it right until the final race."
Marc Gene, a test driver for Ferrari, says McLaren's progress since the beginning of the year - when it was dead last - has been obvious.
"It's true that it has taken longer than I thought," he told Diario Sport, "but the improvement has been very large.
"The evolution from Australia to Bahrain was spectacular, even though (Jenson) Button had many problems.
"Ferrari has turned out (in 2015) better than even the most optimistic outlook and nobody could have imagined the start McLaren has had either," Gene added.
"But McLaren is a team with a lot of resources and now it's already at an acceptable level when things are working."
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