World Champion Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren might have been better off scrapping its current car and starting again from scratch, rather than pushing on and trying to improve it.
With the team having endured a troubled Turkish Grand Prix weekend, as the MP4-24's weaknesses were exposed more than normal on the high speed track, McLaren has been delivered a reality check about just how much more progress it needs to make with its car. Although there is no suggestion of the team giving up on its effort to improve the car, and ensuring the mistakes made this season are not repeated in 2010, Hamilton concedes that it may well have been better to have abandoned the project as soon as the team knew it was in trouble.
"It is too late to do it now," he said when asked if the team should just scrap the car. "We probably should have done that a long time ago, but who knows. It is easy to say that now, but in this race we might find [an improvement] or the next race we might find it, and it would be a lot of waste of money and hard work from all the guys who have put all the work and effort into this car.
"But with the way the world is and the economy is, it could take five or six months to rebuild a car and make sure you get it right, and who's to say we wouldn't get it wrong?"
Hamilton says that the team is still not much close to understanding what has gone wrong with the car -- having seen last year's title rival Ferrari turn around its disappointing start to the season.
"With the other guys [Ferrari] they have clearly got good foundations to work from I think. Ferrari's car looked good from the beginning, it just lacked a little bit of downforce. They have got that now so they are more competitive. But I think for us we lacked the downforce from a very early stage. I am sure we have all the downforce; we are just not able to get it out of the car. Something switches it off in the high speed corners for some reason.
"If you look at Barcelona, in the last sector I was just as quick as everyone else, as the top guys, but in the first two sectors I was losing over a second. I have to have faith that the guys in the team will find the solution to it and fix it. There are so many different things it could be. It is like trying to find a needle in a haystack."
The extent of McLaren's problems with the car was highlighted at Turn 8 in Turkey with qualifying analysis showing that it was the slowest car of all through there -- and up to 15kph adrift of the Force India machines.