MARCH 24, 2015
Silver lining for McLaren is good chassis
A silver lining for struggling McLaren-Honda could be the cornering ability of the new MP4-30 car.
After Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen qualified dead last in Melbourne, some estimates put the team's power deficit to pacesetters Mercedes at as much as 150-200 horse power.
But the silver lining could be the chassis.
"The drivers say it is a good car," team boss Eric Boullier is quoted by Spain's Marca, "that it gives them confidence and has no vices."
It is believed Honda de-tuned its engine, and particularly the power unit's ERS systems, to the tune of some 60 per cent in Melbourne, due to reliability fears.
"We had to lower performance in Australia," Frenchman Boullier confirmed, "but there is more potential on the way."
Indeed, it is rumoured Honda took a very aggressive approach to its V6 design, realising the gap that eventually needed to be closed to Mercedes.
Button confirmed: "It's probably wrong for me to say ... it's probably more like a Mercedes than it is the other two manufacturers. In terms of design, aggressiveness and packaging.
"But it's going to take a little bit of time."
Also on the bright side, it emerged on Tuesday that the 2015 McLaren chassis is almost certainly a good one.
F1's official website calculates 'cornering ratings' for each driver after races, by averaging the side-to-side G-forces in every corner across a grand prix.
Button's cornering rating ranked fourth overall in Australia, behind only the two Mercedes drivers and Felipe Massa.