World Champion Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren is close to understanding the reasons for its struggles with this year’s car. The British driver is enduring a dismal season after his championship-winning campaign, having scored just nine points in eight races. He is 55 points behind championship leader Jenson Button.
Although McLaren has been unable to fight near the front in recent races, Hamilton is optimistic the team is not far away from getting on top of its problems. He reckons it is important for McLaren to understand what the problem with the car is before it shifts focus to 2010.
“I’d say that from every race we learn more and more,” Hamilton told reporters at Nurburgring ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix. “We’re trying to focus on this year and understanding where the car’s faults are and where we can make it better.
“It would be good if we had testing, but we don’t. The race weekends are our three-day tests and we learn more and more about it.”
He added: “If we understood it we would fix it and we would be winning races, and we would have all the updates and everything by now. But we’re not far away, I think, from understanding it. We’ll just have to wait and see. I definitely don’t want to take this year’s car into next year’s car, but we definitely need to understand where and why [it went wrong], because from their understanding the car should have been good.”
Hamilton admitted he and teammate Heikki Kovalainen will run two different aero packages at the German Grand Prix, in a bid to test more components.
“We can’t both be doing the same thing,” he said. “You have to cover as much ground as we can, so he will carry one thing and I’ll carry another thing and at the end of it we’ll just put our results together and come out with the best result, and go in that direction. It depends whether we get the bits we need this weekend, whether they will actually be here.”
The Briton claimed that, despite the poor season he is having, he is not yet thinking about next season.
“I don’t have to do that for a while yet,” he said. “Going into probably the last few races I can start focusing on next year. But it doesn’t have to happen now. We’ve got a lot of work to do with the guys now, to give them the right feedback and find the way forward, and make sure that we feel good in the car next year and it feels like it’s going to be a winning car.
“I drove my old car from last year on the demonstration and straightaway I felt, ‘Yeah, I know why this car was a winning car. It feels right.'”