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3 Valtteri Bottas

McLaren ready to take risks

Tuesday 12th March 2013

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McLaren ready to take risks

McLaren ready to take risks

McLaren have vowed to continue to make their MP4-28 'quicker, lighter and more 'aerodynamic' even if it means taking a risk on reliability.

The Woking squad started with the fastest car in 2012, but they failed to make the most of the advantage as Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton both fell victim to operational and mechanical problems.

The team eventually finished well outside the title races, but they are confident things will be different this season as they are determined to have the quickest car on the grid.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh insists the team will continue to develop their 2013 model throughout the year.

"Clearly we've taken some risks in changing the car from last year," he said in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.

"We finished the 2012 season with undoubtedly the quickest car and it would have been very easy to have continued to develop that car - we'd have made it quicker still for the start of this year.

"Yet we've made a lot of changes to the overall package and we've done so in the belief that you have to be competitive over 19 races, and you've got to be able to develop it. We've given ourselves a platform that is new to ensure we've got a development opportunity over the course of the season."

He added that the team are determined to eradicate the errors that cost them dearly in 2012, but also promised they won't become "obsessed" with reliability.

"You can never be as confident as you'd like to be with a new car," he said. "If it's stable and reliable, typically you want to push it further, make it quicker, lighter and more aerodynamic.

"We've been working hard with (engine supplier) Mercedes-Benz on some of the issues we saw last year, and we've been working internally as well.

"We are constantly vigilant but we must not become so obsessed by the pursuit of reliability that we don't change the car to improve it."

The 2013 season kicks off in Australia this weekend and Button and new team-mate Sergio Perez head into the race upbeat after some solid showings during pre-season testing.

Whitmarsh, though, admits though no one is quite sure how things will pan out in Melbourne due to tyre degradation.

"On the last day Jenson did a very good long run, so you can start to convince yourself that you're managing it (tyre degradation) better than others," he said. "But the truth is that conditions during testing are very different.

"We believe that the new Pirelli tyres will be more challenging than those we've had recently in terms of their ability to grain and to wear. High degradation is inarguably good for the show, but is obviously a big headache for those of us who are trying to race and win. It's an interesting challenge but it's the same for everyone."

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