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McLaren aim to solve downforce problems

Woking, Sunday: McLaren’s technical department have been working overtime this week as they try to solve the problems that have plagued this year’s car since the beginning of the season.

The team, who won six races last season and saw Lewis Hamilton win the drivers’ championship, have struggled this year with a fundamental lack of downforce on the car, with high-speed circuits such as Barcelona being particularly problematic for the British team.

Lacking: McLarens downforce-free 2009 car

Lacking: McLaren's downforce-free 2009 car

Today, however, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh declared that the team had made great progress on finding extra performance on this year’s car, and that he was confident that their new approaches to the design and operation of the car would help them score much-needed points as they aim to improve on their current fifth in the Constructors’ world championship.

“We think we’ve hit upon a solution,” Whitmarsh told reporters outside the team’s Woking factory. “Unfortunately, with the new aerodynamic regulations it’s difficult to find extra downforce on the car. But we believe we have found a way to compensate for these shortcomings, and the problems with the car, to start scoring more regular points throughout the rest of the season.

“What we’re aiming to do is to get the drivers to push down really hard on the steering wheel throughout qualifying and races, to gain extra front-end grip by helping the front of the car stick closer to the ground. It’s quite clever really – I’m surprised no one has thought of it before.”

Lead driver Lewis Hamilton, as well as some other driver who no one’s ever heard of, have been training extra hard in preparation for the Turkish Grand Prix next weekend, in the hope of being able to apply as much force as possible to keeping the car on the ground.

“It’s a good idea,” Hamilton said. “I’d like to thank the team for allowing me to work out even more.”

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