A few quick-fire observations from the McLaren F1 launch at Vodafone’s HQ in Newbury, which has just finished.
What of the Lewis/Jenson dynamic? Or should that be Jenson/Lewis dynamic? When the pair were called up on stage, Lewis was named first and took to the steps first, but then it was Jenson who spoke first. No team orders yet, then…
On that note, Lewis took the initiative and offered this: “Last year, at one race, there were parts for one driver only. As I had the number one on my car, I got them. If the same situation occurs again this year – and I doubt it will – I’d expect Jenson to get them as he has the number one.”
Mind games? Perhaps a few. From his opening salvo Lewis emphasised that the he’d been developing the 2010 car “for a lot of 2009” and that he is “particularly proud of his contribution”. He also noted he’d been at the team for many years, was proud of everyone he worked with and how much he knew and trusted them. Jenson could only talk about how busy his January had been, getting to know everyone.
Jenson reckons the dynamic between him and his engineers will be the hardest thing to learn. As a result, he’s concentrated on getting to know them through his work in McLaren’s simulator. “I don’t want any excuses for underperforming when I arrive at the first race,” he says, boldly.
It’s not just the car that McLaren have been developing, but that simulator too. The drivers confirmed the simulator is now fully set up to MP25 spec, albeit with a guesstimate on how the new tyres will perform. “The figures look exciting, but we’ll have to see how that translates on track,” noted Jenson.
Two quick factoids. This is the first time consecutive world champions have been in the same team. Lewis won his very first British karting title powered by an engine built by Jenson’s dad, John.