McLaren drivers promise speed increase

McLaren Honda drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are confident the team's 2016 car will be significantly faster than its predecessor.

The Surrey-based team had a distinct power and speed disadvantage in 2015 when compared to its competitors, and both drivers failed to claim a single podium place finish.

Button was interviewed by Topgear.com and said the new car could be two second faster per lap, on average.

“I think that’s possible. There are certain things that bring a massive amount of lap time that are sorted for next year already, stuff you can’t simply bolt on during the season. It’s looking very positive,” he said.

Alonso agreed with his teammate and said the speed increase could even surpass the two second mark.

“But everyone will improve between half a second and a second. That’s the normal step top teams can do over the winter,” he said.

“For us being two seconds off the pace, we need to do much more than that, and the power unit will be the main thing to unlock this potential.  Radical changes in the power unit in terms of design and philosophy.

“We know the deficit on the straights. All the solutions we have identified will bring a big improvement in lap time.”

McLaren resumed their historic engine supply partnership with Honda at the start of the 2015 season, after using Mercedes power units for the previous ten years.

Button says he and Alonso – both former world champions – having been working with the engineers to change that.

“I spend a lot of time at the factory with the aerodynamicists and the engineers, and they really listen. A lot of the progress we’re making is because of our feedback,” he said.

“It’s great to have that impact, it’s why we’re in the team and why the team wants us there. With two inexperienced drivers they wouldn’t have moved forward.”

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