Lewis Hamilton is hoping new upgrades to his McLaren car will bring him closer to the front in next week’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The British driver currently finds himself engulfed in the row over McLaren’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix for misleading race stewards. And disappointing pace from McLaren’s new car, the MP4-24, has left him struggling to complete with the midfield runners.
But new aerodynamic upgrades have given Hamilton something to smile about ahead of next week’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, a race which he dominated last year.
“We got it spot-on last year, and while I don t expect us to enjoy that sort of performance advantage this season, I think we re all looking forward to a good showing,” he said.
“Hopefully, some of the upgrades we ve added to MP4-24 for this race will have a benefit: it would be very encouraging if we could qualify a little further up the grid and be regularly challenging for points.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who has spearheaded a recovery programme back at the teams’ headquarters in Woking, is optimistic that McLaren can improve.
“We have reasons to be both disappointed and optimistic about our performance in the opening races of the 2009 season: disappointed because we do not yet possess the necessary technical package to enable us to fight with the leaders, but optimistic that our rate of progress is sufficiently rapid that we should be able to fight for points finishes on a regular basis.”
“This weekend s race will see a number of new components introduced to MP4-24, and while we do not expect them to radically transform the car s potential, they should move us a little closer to the front than we saw in the opening two races.â€