New Vs Improved — @javisantana

And that was FW14 in a nutshell. As I say, very much an evolution of the Leyton House car in many respects but using the experience and resources of a team that, under Patrick’s guidance, was much more developed and structured than we had achieved at Leyton House. It was also the first example of a philosophy I’ve since tried to continue with throughout my career: if you can come up with a decent concept then develop it year after year until either the regulations change or you realise that it was the wrong route. That, for me, is the most fruitful way to work.

Conversely, you do see cars where there seems to be no continuity. The shape is different from the year before, and different again the year after. The team is confused and doesn’t properly understand the car. A good example of that was the 2011 McLaren, which was a decent car. Then they changed it completely for 2012. It went okay but nothing spectacular. But instead of trying to work out how to develop it, they changed it again the following year, and got completely lost.

To me it looked as though, with the 2012 car, they had simply tried to be different but not necessarily for good engineering reasons. Then, for 2013, they just tried to copy various features from along the pit lane: the front end of a Red Bull mated to the middle of a Renault to the back of a Ferrari- a camel. Needless to say, it ran badly. The problem was that they kept changing it without every fully understanding what they actually had. Darwin was not wrong. Evolution is often the key once the spark of a good direction has been set.

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