Jenson Button, on the heels of his first victory with McLaren, has told ITV that he suspects the 2010 season will come down to the rapidity and effectiveness of each teams development program and in that race, McLaren will win.
â€œWeâ€™re only two races in, but I think the development race will already be starting to have an influence on performance,â€ said Button.
â€œItâ€™s the rate of improvement that will most influence the battle at the front.
â€œAnd Iâ€™m confident we can deliver in this area: It was something I watched the team doing throughout 2009, and it was one of the key reasons for deciding to hold talks with the team.
â€œIâ€™m convinced we have the firepower to develop faster than our key rivals.â€
Let’s look at this with some historical perspective shall we? I rated McLaren the best team of 2009 because of this very reason. They started the season with a pig of a car and with no in season testing, they managed to develop the car to a race winning competitor. That was no easy task in a year that possessed a ban on in-season testing.
That is no easy task and I am bereft of the logic, intelligence and resources it took to make that happen. No other team displayed quite the amount of fortitude, desire, passion and sheer will to make that car go from a errant thing on rubber to a race winner. In the hands of the 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton, the season turned around for the Woking crew.
Can they repeat that rapid progress and mind-numbing development in 2010? I really do not see why not. The team has proven, in the most dour of circumstances, that they can rise to the challenge. It will be up to Red Bull and Ferrari to outpace McLaren to stay ahead of them in pace.
Simple changes are one thing but gaining a second or half second can be nigh on impossible in F1 and McLaren has a large task ahead of them. Last year saw a dominant Brawn GP lose their pace, comparatively, to McLaren as the year progressed and I suspect that had something to do with the funds and resources the small team had to deploy. Ferrari and Red Bull have an advantage now and they have the resources to maintain a development program so the challenge may be greater for McLaren that 2009.
As a propeller head, I love this part of F1. I was floored by McLaren’s progress last year and look forward to seeing them do it again. I also look forward to Ferrari serving McLaren a beat down for trying.