If Michael’s prediction proves to be correct, it will be their worst season in the sport since 1980. They have struggled to develop the evolutionary MP4-28 and despite making improvements over the last few rounds, it hasn’t been enough to close the gap on those ahead.
Speaking in a Vodafone teleconference Michael said: “If you look at the last couple of races, Budapest and Spa, we have improved our performance. It’s not where we need to be as McLaren but previous to those last two races we didn’t have the ability to run with some of the top cars and challenge them.
“But there is still a gap between us and Red Bull and a decent gap to Mercedes as well. If you look at the other teams, such as Lotus and Ferrari, we are getting close there.”
However he is confident that the team can continue to score points at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix: “Spa was a good one for us and we finished sixth there on merit, no one dropped out and there was nothing unusual about the race that resulted in us inheriting positions. It was done on pace. Monza should be good for us as well.”
He added: “It will be difficult to score a podium based on full merit between now and the end of the year, particularly as we start to concentrate a lot on the 2014 car, but we will keep pushing to make that happen until the last race.”
Despite the difficult season, Michael is confident that the team will learn from the mistakes of 2013: “The main thing is to fully understand where we went wrong. We have got a pretty firm handle on that now with not as much ability to change that in the season as we would like.
“However, as long as we understand that, we should be able to avoid that error in the future. That’s definitely been a big focus internally at McLaren. We know what we are doing going forward and the team of guys that designed this car are the same guys that did the [successful] cars previously. I’ve got every confidence that they can do the same next year.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic