New twist in McLaren pitlane row

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

The Bahrain International Circuit has revealed that McLaren has been moved to the far end of the pit lane for next weekend’s race. A statement on the circuit’s website says:

Late notice arrived to announce that instead of garages 15-18, the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes team would take up residence in garages 33-35.

McLaren were originally expected to have the least favourable garages in the pit lane following their exclusion from last year’s constructors’ championship, but were moved up to fifth at Bernie Ecclestone’s behest to give them room to fit all their transporters and equipment. Why has this now been changed?

It may simply be that Bahrain, one of the newest tracks on the calendar, has enough room to accommodate the McLaren trucks even if they are parked at the far end of the pit lane.

Or perhaps the other teams are unhappy that McLaren’s promotion up the pit lane does not reflect the punishment they received last year.

Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, chief operating officer said: “We understand that it is in line with the rules and regulations of the sport for McLaren, which scored no points in the 2007 constructors? championship, to take the final set of garages.” The circuit apologised to McLaren fans attending the race who would now not be able to see their team’s pit, but said the change was “force majeure”.

Either way, the move could have a bearing to play on the race weekend as McLaren’s drivers will have a straighter exit from their pit box, and therefore a potentially slightly quicker one. It could also be useful for them in qualifying.