THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

McLaren hoping for Spanish succour

FORMULA ONE: McLaren has not had the start of the season it expected. Its messy divorce with Honda last year after three seasons of underperformance by the Japanese company was supposed to herald a new optimistic chapter in the team’s history.

Formula-One
By Michael Lamonato

Friday 11 May 2018, 03:02PM


McLaren’s Spanish driver Fernando Alonso is pushed back into his pit garage during a practice session for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 14. Photo: Greg Baker / AFP

McLaren’s Spanish driver Fernando Alonso is pushed back into his pit garage during a practice session for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 14. Photo: Greg Baker / AFP

McLaren forwent Honda’s sizeable financial contribution to put in its lot with Renault. The French manufacturer was and continues to make the third-best engine on the grid, but as Red Bull Racing had proven three times in 2017, it was capable of winning races.

Indeed McLaren racing director Eric Boullier had made exactly this point last season when he proclaimed that his chassis was amongst the best on the field and would by rights be competing with Red Bull Racing for podiums and wins if it were mated to a more competitive power unit.

Boullier’s prophecy turned 2018 into a test. With equal engine power McLaren would be compared directly with Red Bull Racing.

The results have been underwhelming.

Though McLaren is just 19 points behind Red Bull Racing in the constructors standings, its haul has been flattered by a messy start to the year by its rival. In Bahrain and Azerbaijan RBR failed to get either car to the chequered flag, whereas McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne have a 100% finishing record.

Qualifying, a clearer illustration of pure pace, paints a more painful picture: McLaren has been slower than both Red Bull Racing and Renault’s own works team at every race this year and is yet to make it into the top 10.

The cracks are starting to show. In Azerbaijan news broke that the team’s chassis director, Tim Goss, had been stood down from his role after almost 30 years at Woking, though McLaren refused to confirm anything more than “ongoing restructuring”.

It’s not difficult to deduce the reasoning behind the axing, with Boullier himself declaring in China that the team’s performance targets had been set far too low in 2018, leading to the development of a car far off the pace of what should be its natural rivals.

New Paths Retreat

But Boullier has put his team’s chips on an upgrade package due at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix (Sunday, May 13), where the start of the European leg tends to coincide with significant car updates derived from learnings at the first four rounds.

“From that point we will see, performance-wise, where we are,” the Frenchman said last month, but even this comes with some serious caveats.

“In Barcelona there is a new aero package coming, but I think 95% of the paddock is bringing a new aero package to Barcelona,” Alonso tempered. “So maybe the gap will remain as it is or we will recover it a little bit or just lose a little bit of ground.

“I think it is up to us to make the package work and deliver to expectations, and hopefully some others do not deliver. That is our hope.”

In the space of just a few months McLaren’s competitive outlook has plummeted from title contender to hoping other teams err in their own development programmes to steal positions on the grid.

This is the new reality at Woking, so it’s unsurprising that both Boullier and CEO Zak Brown – the latter having had his role redefined to make him more responsible for the race team’s performance – have found themselves under immense pressure at the helm.

The Spanish Grand Prix has the potential to revive the team’s fortunes along with those of its leaders. But getting it wrong in Barcelona will only confirm McLaren is stuck on a path that must inevitably end in internal revolution as the once great McLaren seeks a return to championship contention.


Don’t forget to listen to Live89.5 each and every Saturday at 9am and 5pm for the Box of Neutrals radio show.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

I hope these people sue the family of the idiot wannabe gangster. After seeing this video, are they ...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

"He declined to mention what company was hired". That's because it is more than likely...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

Not much drawing board, haha. Wrote yesterday about expecting failure, deliberately or due to foolis...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

"Don't you understand the article," yes we do, it's a free add for a resort, I was...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

"I am sorry hinny,but where did i defend Thailand and his environmental problems in my comments...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

"“I will not reveal or explain more details,” he said," definately hiding something, i...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

Classic!...So the best idea that they all agreed on was to tow it umpteen miles under water...Like a...(Read More)


Phuket police transferred amid extrajudicial killing probe

Excessive force or not is for the law to decide. But why these people are proudly claiming to be inv...(Read More)


Final preparations being made to raise ’Phoenix’

As expected not gonna happen anytime soon as the cowboys are running the show but what's the exc...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

Blah Blah, we all know what you meant, another farang lost touch with reality eh! ...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018