McLaren: 3rd best chassis on grid…better than Ferrari

Honda have been mumbling about a new upgrade and possibly for Canada and some have suggested Monaco but regardless of when the manufacturer might spend a token or two, McLaren believe they have a good chance of doing well in Monte Carlo.

We were just discussing Honda’s power unit over here and I had wondered about the one thing we haven’t been discussing and that’s the chassis. If Honda do deliver more power and reliability, does McLaren have the chassis to make the most of it? Almost like clockwork, they answered my question via AUTOSPORT as racing director Eric Boullier said:

“Last year we were third, but close with Williams and Ferrari,” he said.

“Now it is Mercedes, Red Bull, ourselves, then Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Williams.

“They are clearly behind now.”

Point here is that McLaren think they will be in top 6 or 8 in Monaco due to their superior chassis which they feel is slightly better than Ferrari’s. Many believe the Toro Rosso chassis to be a thing of magic and yet McLaren’s Eric Boullier feels it’s behind their effort.

Does that seem logically to you? Last year there was much hand-wringing over Honda’s woeful lack of power and but some in the paddock suggested that even if they had a strong engine, the McLaren chassis wasn’t up to the task. Is it this year?

One thing I look for from a superior chassis design is how planted and balanced the car looks in medium speed corners and even slower corners on exit and entry. I look for performances such as Red Bull Racing’s in Spain where a deficit in power from an anemic Renault engine still couldn’t hobble the chassis enough to thwart a win. There are a lot of reasons for that win but suffice it to say, the chassis was a big one.

It’s a bit like a driver getting a car to finish in a place it doesn’t have a right to be in and I think the chassis can add to that equation when done properly. Have I seen any McLaren performances that have me thinking their chassis is the 3rd best on the grid? I haven’t looked at the numbers exhaustively but if I’m honest, I am not recalling anything in the first five races that have me convinced. I would say that I am more convinced of how good Toro Rosso’s chassis is at the moment given the performances so far this season.

Regardless, McLaren feel they have a better chassis than Ferrari and I guess we will see what happens in a week’s time.