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GP Week : Issue 182
F1 >>> NEWS After a difficult start to the season, McLaren had their hopes pinned on a raft of upgrades and modifications for the Spanish Grand Prix, although the team conceded that correlation issues were only adding to their woes. But the much- needed upgrades to the MP4-28 don’t appear to have given the Woking racers the boost they had hoped for. After having struggled throughout practice, the McLaren duo could only manage ninth and 14th on the grid, with new recruit Sergio Perez out- qualifying 2009 world champion Jenson Button. “T hey’re making a little bit of a difference, but nowhere near enough to really challenge up the front,” Button said after qualifying. “Ever yone has got new parts so it makes it very tricky for us to catch up.” McLaren have had a dismal start to their year after ending 2012 with the fastest car. The best the former world champions have managed this season is a fifth-place finish, and the team has generally struggled to match the front- runners for pace. As the F1 circus returned to Europe, McLaren were sixth in the constructors’ standings, 86 points behind Red Bull and outperformed by Force India, a team whose recent upturn in form has its foundations in a technology-sharing partnership with McLaren. The Spanish Grand Prix was a crucial race for McLaren as it marks the first chance for teams – especially those which have underperformed – to trial major modifications to their cars on F1’s favourite test circuit with a view to restarting their seasons anew, something McLaren have been unable to do. Further complicating matters for McLaren is a correlation issue, meaning that the par ts that they have brought to the circuit don’t perform on track as had been anticipated by wind tunnel and simulation data back at the factory. “Looking for ward, I believe that it’s really important that we sort out the issues with the car and the correlation,” managing director Jonathan Neale said ahead of the race at the Circuit de Catalunya. “All the time you’ve got that lingering doubt as to what went wrong where or how do we fix it, you’ve always got the opportunity for it to arise again.” UPGRADES LEAVE MCLAREN IN THE MID-FIELD 9 GPWEEK.com // 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: