There were red faces in Woking this week as McLaren admitted that their disappointing start to the season was as a result of both their drivers being fitted the wrong way up.
‘It’s all a bit embarrassing actually,’ confessed shame-faced talking skeleton Martin Whitmarsh. ‘We thought something might be wrong when Jenson complained of extremely poor visibility in testing and we were definitely suspicious when Checo said he didn’t remember Australia being a night race but we just couldn’t put our finger on what was wrong. It was only when we noticed the engineers attempting to get more air into the air box by asking the drivers to open their legs wider that we started to get to the heart of our lack of pace.’
Once it was noticed that Button and Perez were racing with their heads on the pedals and their legs poking in the air, team sources say McLaren immediately initiated a full programme of finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics and complex computer simulations before finally concluding that yes, the drivers were indeed the wrong way up in the car.
‘We’ve learned a lot from this mistake,’ admitted one senior race engineer. ‘And although our drivers’ legs were playing havoc with the airflow and they couldn’t actually see where they were going, we take heart from knowing we were still faster than Williams, Caterham and Marussia.’