Strong baseline with new car, says Hamilton
10 February 2012 – Despite a current lack of rear end grip, Lewis Hamilton is confident that McLaren can begin the 2012 F1 season with a strong package. The 2008 Champion first tested the new car in Jerez on Thursday and he continues in Spain today.
McLaren stands out from the rest of Formula 1’s teams, as it is the only outfit to have introduced a new car minus a ‘platypus’ nose; however, team head Martin Whitmarsh has already said that a number of changes will be introduced before Melbourne.
“Today felt pretty good, considering it was my first time in the new car,” Hamilton said in Jerez on Thursday. “My initial feelings are pretty positive despite going through a long, tough programme of initial tests – there were no nasty surprises, which is pleasing.
“This year’s car feels a bit different from last year’s: in 2011, we had so much stability from the rear end, particularly in the high-speed corners (due to the exhaust-blown diffuser, which is now banned) – but we’re now having to find that grip elsewhere or, at least, take grip off the front and somehow offload it at the rear.
“This car’s baseline is something we can really work with. I know the men and women back at the factory will take a lot from this test and translate it into something new and even better for the next test. The car feels reasonably quick – and that’s a nice feeling.”
Since 2007, Hamilton’s Drivers’ Championship finishing positions are as follows: second, first, fifth, fourth and fifth.