The Woking-based outfit’s season started strongly with a double podium in Australia. However, McLaren has failed to register a top 10 result since round two in Malaysia after reliability problems and a lack of pace in the last three races.
With more emphasis on engine performance around the Circuit de Monaco, he believes McLaren can return to the points this weekend.
“There’s far less of an aerodynamic influence here – it’s just about bolting as much to the car as possible in a bid to find grip – so I think the engine’s influence will be greater,” he said. “So, with less significance placed on aerodynamics, I hope we can enjoy a better race than our two previous outings in China and Spain.
“Monaco is such a special case – in every respect – I just hope we can string together a good weekend: we’ll need to get the absolute maximum from the car in qualifying and on the first lap to be in with a chance to put up a fair showing. I’m up for the challenge, and the whole team is doing a great job of staying strong and working flat-out to bring updates to every race – and Monaco is no exception.”
He is also looking forward to tackling the tricky track at the wheel of the new 2014-spec cars: “Obviously, I’ve never driven a turbocharged F1 car around Monaco before – and I’m relishing the opportunity. More than any other 2014 race, I think this event will show us the most pronounced difference between ‘old F1’ and the new formula we have.”
His team-mate Kevin Magnussen is currently preparing for his first Monaco Grand Prix as a Formula 1 driver. He has unfinished business at the track after failing to finish on the podium in 2013’s Formula Renault 3.5 race: “My [World Series] race in Monaco last year was a bit of a missed opportunity,” he said.
“I didn’t hook it all together and ended up finishing only fourth, so, more than anything, I want to have a clean and constructive race this weekend. We don’t have the pace in the car to challenge at the front, but, wherever I am, I’m determined to make a fight of it.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic