McLaren have fired a warning to their Formula One rivals, by claiming that they could be even stronger as the teams head to Malaysia for the second race of the season.
After an opening weekend in which Jenson Button romped to victory and Lewis Hamilton added a third place finish to his pole position from Saturday qualifying, team principal Martin Whitmarsh claimed that the MP4-27 car would excel on the high speed corners of the Sepang circuit.
Speaking to Autosport, Whitmarsh said that the Albert Park circuit didn't play to the strengths of the car, and that the high-downforce track in Malaysia would give a true reflection of the team's capabilities.
“If you looked closely at ourselves in testing at Barcelona, we were pretty good in the high speed corners," he said.
“We looked like we were quickest in the high speed corners and, if anything, Red Bull was beating us in [low speed] traction areas.”
Whitmarsh continued by comparing how McLaren fared in Melbourne, with how he predicts they will perform this weekend.
“To come to a circuit like this [in Australia] and see we were reasonably strong in relation to them is good. I think the theory goes then that we should be strong when we get to the next track.
"It is a high speed track and, based on our performance, we should believe we are going to be quite quick there. We are looking forward to next weekend. I think we do fancy our chances there, but who knows. Let's see how we go."
Questions have been asked regarding Mercedes's apparent DRS influenced f-duct, with both Red Bull and Lotus bosses asking for an FIA investigation to how the mechanism works. Regardless of it's influence, Whitmarsh said that he expects Mercedes to be stronger in Malaysia, after their strong qualifying was undone during Sunday's race.
“Mercedes is definitely quick, and we thought they were going to be a much stronger threat to us in the race," he said.
"If you had said to me before the start, I would have said that Mercedes was the biggest threat to us. They were very, very quick - quick in a straight line, and I thought they were going to be quite a handful for us.
"As it turned out, I think they underperformed. They can do a better job than they did in Australia, that is for sure."