MARCH 20, 2012
McLaren confident heading to Malaysia
Question and answer with McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe following the Australian Grand Prix.
Q: How satisfying is it to get off to a winning start?
Although it's the points on Sunday that matter, I think ultimately the front row is the most pleasing thing because it's indicative of the qualifying pace, which is what you to control races from the front.
It was a fantastic result but a shame for Lewis. Well, two shames really. He got a great lap in qualifying and deserved the pole position but for some reason his launch wasn't as good as Jenson's. It wasn't that bad because he didn't seem to be in any danger from the guys behind but Jenson got the first corner and eventually that all conspired to make Lewis the one who suffered from the Safety Car advantage that Vettel gained.
Q: It looked incredibly close pace-wise at the end but Jenson appeared to be in total control at the restart?
He managed to get the tyres working much quicker than the other guys, that's what seemed clear, and I think once they were three or four laps into it on the prime tyre, the pace seemed quite similar between the top four. They were exchanging fastest laps.
Q: With the one lap pace the MP4-27 has, are you confident that you will go to Malaysia and be in the same shape?
I think the car has good all round performance and Malaysia will be interesting. I'm not feeling too worried that it's got different circuit characteristics to Melbourne because our performance in Barcelona was encouraging in that respect.
Q: What's your take on the Mercedes DRS-activated 'F-duct.'
We'll just stand back and observe, we are not moved by it one way or the other. I don't know exactly what they are doing and it's hard to have a strong opinion about something you don't understand!
Q: Is it something you will look into?
Yes, pieces of the jigsaw will gradually emerge.
Q: If, as people suggest, they are stalling the front wing, how difficult to copy it?
If you wanted to do it, which is the other matter -- just because somebody's got something doesn't mean you want it -- I'm sure it's feasible. I was quite surprised -- and depressed! -- about how quickly everyone copied the F-flap in the first place. We'd spent two years developing it, mainly because you don't put a lot of people on something you are not sure is going to work. We were kind of hoping it would take people most of a season to get that working. It seemed to take them about a third of a season. That involved people generating tubes here and there, so if that's what they're up to, I don't imagine it's going to be massively different.