Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza 2012McLaren is keeping its confidence levels in check despite its recent run of strong form leaving it on the verge of completing a hat-trick of victories in the Italian Grand Prix.

The Woking-based outfit is already the first team to win back-to-back races, and the front row lock-out by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at Monza has put it in a strong position for another win on Sunday.

But despite establishing a spell of dominance in Formula 1, McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe thinks that it would be wrong for his team to believe it can guarantee such form for the rest of the campaign.

“We are certainly feeling that the car is performing well and, as it stands at the moment, we’ve got the tyres under control, to keep them in the optimal condition,” Lowe told AUTOSPORT. “That’s promising for the races to come.

“But I’m still not going to come out and predict sustained success because, as we’ve seen this season, the characteristics of the campaign have been characterised by unpredictable outcomes.

“Nevertheless, the trend has been good all year. It’s just that we’ve been caught out by a disturbance, I would call it. It’s come from a number of areas like operational problems, or wet weather, or occasions when the tyre has got the better of us, in terms of us understanding how to set the car up for it.

“But if you take that disturbance away, the underlying performance of the car has been good. Compared to some of our close competition, we think we’ve been putting laptime on the car at a greater rate too.”

Lowe is upbeat about the performance shown so far at Monza, and thinks that with tyre strategy looking uncertain for the race his team has an advantage by having two cars at the front.

“I think it will be a matter of seeing whether you can make the one or the two stopper work. They both have their attractions,” he said.

“The good thing is from the front row, if we can keep those positions into the race itself, then we have the option of controlling that choice, in the sense that we can see what other people are doing first. That gives us a lot more freedom to cover the different risks.

“The tyres were good on Friday on high fuel; so on paper a one-stop is feasible. Whether it works out with all of the variables in the race itself, we’ll have to wait and see.

“We’ll be making it up as we go along. But it’s actually quite nice, because with the old refuelling rules, all of the strategy work was off line up front and preset and you were just playing it out. Now, you’re deciding according to what’s going on around you, real time.”


Gimax Richie Ginther Yves Giraud Cabantous Ignazio Giunti