Reaction: The MP4-27
Sky Sports' Mark Hughes believes McLaren have yet to uncover the secret of Red Bull's success.
Last Updated: 15/02/12 1:37pm
Sky Sports' Technical Analyst Mark Hughes believes the MP4-27's evolution-not-revolution appearance has revealed that McLaren are still yet to uncover the secret of Adrian Newey's ongoing success at Red Bull.
Unlike the newly-unveiled Caterham CT01, the 2012 charger launched by McLaren on Wednesday does not, at first glance, appear to mark a radical departure in design concept. Amid fevered speculation that the new car would signal an 'aggressive' and innovative new era for the Woking outfit, the surprise upon the MP4-27's unveiling was that it wasn't much of a surprise after all.
"Looking at the McLaren it's clear they have continued to follow their own path. It's just a re-configured 2011 car with adjustments made for the new regulations, most notably the new short sidepods which no longer feature the L&J shape when viewed from straight-ahead. In length, wheelbase and general layout, it looks very much like last year's car - and indeed that seems to be what Paddy Lowe is saying," Hughes told Sky Sports.
Although aware that it's far too early to make any definitive judgements on how the car might or might not perform on track, Hughes - Autosport Magazine's GP editor and Autocourse's Technical Expert - believes the MP4-27's familiarity is a tell-tale sign that the team are yet to work out the secret of Red Bull's dominance.
"Good though last year's McLaren car was, it was no Red Bull. Ever since the 2009 RB5, the Red Bull concept has been quicker than McLaren's. Yet still there is a reluctance at McLaren to throw away what they understand in order to pursue a concept that they do not fully understand. You'd only get to understand it if you committed to it and tried to make it work - but that's a risky strategy.
"I'm guessing Adrian Newey's looked at those pictures and smiled his blink-brief smile: his secret still hasn't been de-coded."