Carlos Sainz has revealed his new McLaren chassis has so far failed to solve the cooling issues that have impaired the car’s performance.
The Spaniard was affected by the problem at last week’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, when bodywork changes were carried out before qualifying to aid cooling and meant he lost pace.
To try and rectify the issue, McLaren gave Sainz a new chassis for his home event, the Spanish Grand Prix, but there was no immediate sign of improvement in Friday practice.
Sainz finished P11 in the morning stint and while he was again ahead of his team-mate Lando Norris in the afternoon, a time 1.331sec adrift of fastest man Lewis Hamilton did not have the 25-year-old punching the air with joy at the Circuit de Catalunya.
🏁 The chequered flag waves on FP2. 🏁
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 14, 2020
“At the moment we haven’t really solved the issue, we still see some discrepancies across the two cars,” said Sainz, who is leaving McLaren to join Ferrari at the end of the season.
“My car, obviously we have [a cooling issue] and we are having to run with more cooling on the car which obviously costs more lap time around here. So still not fully into the bottom of the problem – we need to keep searching.
“It’s a big question mark that we haven’t found [the answer to] and we’ve changed pretty much everything on the car and we are starting to run out of things to try.
“Hopefully we can find the last thing, or the main thing, which will give us the final answer, but at the moment it’s tricky.
“It means that going into tomorrow [Saturday] we still need to do a lot of work, a lot of analysis, and see what else can we change. But we are nearly at the limit of all the things we’ve changed, so we still need to keep digging and keep finding stuff.”
Norris, who was P13 and P14 in the two Friday sessions, acknowledged McLaren face a difficult task to secure what has become their regular place in the top 10 on the grid – due to the increasingly competitive midfield battle, which Haas are also threatening to join.
“More and more people are climbing into the top 10,” said Norris. “It will make our life much harder to get into Q3. But that’s where we are, that’s our realistic position at the moment.”
The Englishman referred to McLaren’s performance on the hard compound of tyres as “garbage”.
“I felt like I would have had more grip on the wets,” said Norris. “But I think it’s similar for everyone.”
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