Jenson Button says McLaren are making slow progress at best at the Spanish Grand Prix

"There are positives to the parts - there are negatives as well"

By Mike Wise.   Last Updated: 10/05/13 6:46pm

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McLaren were right to downplay expectations ahead of the Spanish GP if the reactions of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were anything to go by after opening practice on Friday.

Button and Perez ended the afternoon's second session 12th and 13th fastest respectively, their attempts to test much-needed upgrades to the team's MP4-28 having earlier been thwarted by rain at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Among the changes were revised brake ducts, tweaks to the bargeboard winglets as well as less visible components the team are naturally reticent to discuss.

They can't conceal a new front wing, of course, although only Perez tried it - and that was only during the closing minutes of Practice Two.

Speaking afterwards, a subdued Button said that McLaren were making slow progress and also pointed out that they're not the only team to upgrade their car this weekend.

"I haven't run the new front wing, we haven't had that on the car yet. There are some positives to the parts - there are some negatives as well, to the balance of the car," he said.

"We have moved forward I think, but the problem is that everyone has. Even if we can make an improvement, it's very difficult to make a big jump."

When asked by Sky Sports News's Rachel Brookes about the size of the step, Button replied: "I don't know. We've had very limited testing today, it was the same for everyone. We don't have the front wing on the car - we're not sure if we will this weekend - but there's a lot of data to go through and things to change for tomorrow, looking at what is working and what isn't helping our balance."

The problems McLaren have had stems from poor correlation between their car's performance in simulation and subsequently on track.

It was therefore too late before the team realised the car lacks downforce and whilst rivals with a good baseline have been able to build upon it, McLaren have lost valuable time trying to fix their problems.

The car remains a work in progress, with Button re-iterating that the fix will not be a quick one.

"I think there's a much better correlation with the car and the wind tunnel. I think it's a good correlation between the car and the wind tunnel now, which is a positive and something for the future," he added.

"But we still need more. Everyone always wants more performance and that's what we're working very hard to do."

Perez did at least run the new front wing but could not say whether it was a definite step in the right direction.

"It's pretty difficult to draw any conclusions but the positive things today is that we have a lot of information that can help us with the correlation," he added.

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