McLaren supportive of new teams

New XTB logos on the McLaren MP4-25s

New XTB logos on the McLaren MP4-25s

McLaren has welcomed F1’s three new teams to the sport.

In contrast to rivals Ferrari, who criticised the 2010 newcomers, McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said he believes it’s important the new teams are able to compete:

I think we have to be supportive and try to get new teams of the ground. I respect greatly what some of the drivers are saying – I know one or two have raised concerns about that, but I think that’s a matter for the FIA to look at.

We’ve got to get as many of these teams off the ground, running and stable as quickly as possible because the loss of Honda, Toyota and BMW is disappointing. I’m excited by the new prospects but I’m saddened at the loss of some of the previous guys.

I wouldn’t like to be a managing director in their position, with my car running for the first time on the Friday – in terms of the reliability of the package as well as how on earth do you dial it in with such limited running and so few tyres? That’s going to be a real handful.

And I’m sure the FIA are going to look closely at them. If there are big gaps if closing speeds and if there are lots of red flags I’m sure they’ll take the necessary action.

But do we want to see them succeed? Yes I think it’s important.
Jonathan Neale

Speaking to reporters from Warsaw, where McLaren revealed a new sponsorship deal with X-Trade Brokers, Neale also said the team would have some minor updates on the car for the first race of the championship this weekend.

However they’re not planning to change the design of their rear wing, which will be inspected by the FIA to check it meets the rules after complaints from Red Bull and Ferrari. Neale said:

It’s down to the stewards on the day. We have a contingency but we’ve not put much effort in that and I’m not planning to deploy that.
Jonathan Neale

He complimented rival Ferrari’s race performance over long runs but thinks qualifying will be much closer:

I think most of us are looking at Ferrari’s enviable consistency on long run pace and thinking that looks pretty good, there’s a lot of effort gone into that. And if you look at the Barcelona times, at the Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, ourselves and Force India, on light fuel, I think qualifying’s going to be really tight.
Jonathan Neale

The team are not yet looking into different development routes for Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton’s cars despite the marked difference in their driving styles:

I think we’re still getting to know Jenson and his preferences on set-up and how we best dial the package in for him. I’ve asked the question myself about who will have the advantage, if any, given the characteristics of the car or even the nature of the tyres.

Lewis is a more aggressive braker and turner of the car. He tends to drive the corners in more of a V-shape, whereas Jenson’s super-smooth style means that he carries more momentum into the corners. He loads up the car with lateral G much higher.

Both have the propensity to damage the tyres if that’s done in an unguarded way. So I think at this stage there’s no separate development plan, I don’t see anything about the way that the vehicle dynamics package works that would cause us to deviate, as perhaps we have in the past, for these drivers. So far so good but it’s early days and I think we’ll know more in a couple of races’ time.

Jenson and Lewis both commented about the way the car ran through turns three and nine at Barcelona, saying it felt really planted, so that gives us good confidence in our high-speed performance.

At low speed, with these fuel loads and these tyres it’s really easy to lock-up and flat spot, and if trying to get the car turned at low speed is a challenge I think a lot of the teams are going to have to navigate.
Jonathan Neale

As for the new section of track on the Bahrain circuit. Neale expects it to be quite slow:

We’ve run it in simulation, it’s quite a tight little piece actually, so it is going to remain a high-downforce circuit. I’m not sure that anyone’s going to get to full throttle on this new piece so it’s going to be quite high-workload section before you get back onto the old circuit as was.

It’s still going to be punishing on the brakes and punishing as far as temperature goes if you’re following in traffic. None of us want to give away aero efficiency and cooling lightly so we’ll all be on the edge there.
Jonathan Neale

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57 comments on McLaren supportive of new teams

  1. matt90 said on 9th March 2010, 12:55

    A much more mature aproach regarding the new teams. I understood Ferrari wanting to speak out against the FIA, but the way that they did it by insulting/disregarding the new teams was unnecessary.

    • damonsmedley said on 9th March 2010, 13:07

      I just wonder if they would have said that exactly had Ferrari not been so rude…. It seems suspiciously as though McLaren are trying to make Ferrari look even worse through playing nice…

      • Robert McKay said on 9th March 2010, 13:18

        Nah I think that’s always been Mclaren’s attitude on the new teams. They’ve been one of the voices of mediation and sanity since the breakaway threat ended last year.

      • Macca said on 9th March 2010, 13:23

        *-*I just wonder if they would have said that exactly had Ferrari not been so rude*-*

        I agree, they just want to like like little miss goodie to shoes.

        • matt90 said on 9th March 2010, 14:21

          Lol, if that was the case then you could hardly blame them after the last couple of years press.

      • PJA said on 9th March 2010, 14:36

        I don’t think McLaren said this to win favour with anyone or make Ferrari look bad.

        Neale was probably asked a question about the new teams by a reporter, this may well have been prompted by what Ferrari have had to say lately, and he answered how I would expect any of the established teams to respond, Ferrari included.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th March 2010, 14:44

          Exactly. In fact he was asked it by James Allen.

        • Hallard said on 9th March 2010, 15:25

          They may not have intended to win favor or make Ferrari look bad, but they certainly did just that it seems…

        • McLaren has a battered reputation over all the cheating and spying they have been caught doing the past couple of years, but I can’t see these comments as being PR. I think Neale is being sincere.

          He didn’t need to make Ferrari look bad. They made themselves look bad by such silly statements. Ferrari should be above such behaviour. Ferrari making fun of new F1 teams is like Jesus making fun of the disciples.

          • Hairs said on 9th March 2010, 19:29

            Or like a crotchety old uncle complaining the local kids are leaving their scooters outside his house.

          • David A said on 9th March 2010, 22:04

            I think DC captured it far better.

          • when a journalist asks his opinion, what can he do? he probably does not care but he has to give the most appriate and non-controversial statement considering how the media reacted to Ferrari’s comments :)

      • Good call Damon… I think the comments were a bit edged, but Massa is also getting some harsh comments on here. I don’t think he doesn’t want them to compete- thats just not like him at all.
        Keep in mind that Mclaren are more likely to read these posts and hear fans comments and I think they are just playing this quite coyly by making this statement. I think they want safe competition and thats all anyone wants.

  2. It is good to see this kind of talk from McLaren, in stark contrast to what Ferrari have been saying recently, but it would be nice to see some action to go with it. As the new ringleaders of FOTA, McLaren can lead the way in terms of providing help and support to the new teams – which was something FOTA promised many months ago but hasn’t really delivered on up to now.

    • dsob said on 9th March 2010, 13:47

      but it would be nice to see some action to go with it. As the new ringleaders of FOTA, McLaren can lead the way in terms of providing help and support to the new teams – which was something FOTA promised many months ago but hasn’t really delivered on up to now.

      Good point. For all that Neale stated how important it was to everyone that the new teams be up and running well for Bahrain, did anyone see McLaren offer any sort of hand to them at testing? I thought not.

      I see Neale’s statement as a wonderfully written public relations piece, and that’s all.

      And as to the comments on developing–or more correctly not developing the car setup as yet to match driving styles—well, reading between the lines, that tells me McLaren bosses have already decided on Hamilton as #1 driver and Button as #2. Not that that will come as a surprise to most folks.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th March 2010, 14:45

        wonderfully written public relations piece

        Spoken, if it makes a difference.

      • Hairs said on 9th March 2010, 19:51

        A commentary riddled with supposition instead of fact, I’m afraid.

        McLaren don’t have to send a bunch of engineers and spare parts down to the new teams to get their cars running to “be helpful” to them. FOTA can help the new teams by ensuring their are no roadblocks in the way of their natural progress, giving them positive press, and ensuring fair play. Ferrari’s commentary was exactly the opposite of that. Neale was careful to make honest commentary on the problems the new teams face, without childishly torpedoing their efforts.

        You don’t need to read between the lines – Neale stated very clearly that the team is still working on how to adapt to the feedback that Jenson gives them, and how his driving style is affected by the changes that they make in setups. Given that the relationship between engineer and driver is complex, and usually built up over years, it is not suprising that this will be a little more difficult to get right than Lewis’s. None of that means that the team are favouring one driver over the other.

        When people talk about McLaren being “Lewis’s Team”, it doesn’t mean that the staff will actively sabotage, or ignore their other driver. All it needs to mean is that the established driver has a “cultural” advantage in how the team works and is set up, how its engineering teams work, and how to get the best out of it. Unless it’s Alonso and Hamilton, or Schumacher + anyone in which case, yeah, the teams is biased. :)

  3. zplol said on 9th March 2010, 13:09

    I honestly did not understand why ferrari complained about the new teams. They are officially in, its not like they could do better than they currently are doing.
    They should have waited for an incident instead of making statements based on speculation.
    Yes, you’re going to lap them once in the race, is that any different from F1 of yesteryear?

    • Eje Gustafsson said on 9th March 2010, 16:54

      lapped only once per race in the first half of the year I believe is being nice. Lotus said they are 4 second of pace that means on many circuits they will be lapped around lap 20-25. In Barca if you look at the best times the two new teams are between 105 to 108% time of best time. If there was a 107% qualification rule as like in GP2 at least one car from Vigin wouldn’t had gotten to race if the best Barca times was qualification runs. Maybe time to introduce the 107% qualification rule into F1. If we look at last year on most tracks the teams where within a second of each other or around 101-101.5%

      • Ilanin said on 9th March 2010, 20:25

        If you pick the closest year in the 59-year history of the World Drivers Championship (last year, and it isn’t close) and compare it to a year with three new teams, of course it’ll be different. If you look at the Williams-dominated 1992 or 1993, you could frequently fit the entire 2009 grid in between first and third.

        Four seconds is about an average spread from first to last – it has often been more.

        • A qualification rule would need to wait a few races as these teams should be able to pick up a second over two race weekends… then lets talk rules.
          Ilanin and others… History is important to know, but its getting ridiculous to compare it as many of you have done. Its just not relevant to the speeds of the new cars and our increasing focus on safety. Less and less people die from racing incidents which is better for our sport than having a primer colored car circulate the track with untested drivers who are all testosterone and no thought/experience.
          Lets see what we have in Bahrain and how it plays out. Its a good evaluation track. Sunday night we’ll watch these boards light up!

          • mani said on 10th March 2010, 7:28

            FIA should have chosen different routes to bring the new teams in. Either by giving more testing time for the new-entrants (which would have raised concerns from many others for sure) Or by increasing over-all test window for the year.

            No doubt, the preparations for the new entrants are inadequate. More over, the financial stability and technical expertise of the teams should have been given more importance. That might have avoided the case like USF1, and even HRT coming in and just starting a race weekend without even a single test on pre-season is unacceptable.

            It is like allowing a driver to race in F1 without a Super License. I don’t think FIA will do that, then why do this?

            I may not like the way Ferrari had spoken out, but I certainly agree with them that having a upto standard team is much more important in many ways than to introduce new teams into Formula 1.

  4. Arun Srini said on 9th March 2010, 13:11

    yes, McLarans are the most sportive, and ‘good’ guys on the planet!! oops, i forgot the spying scandal, the spygate.
    anyway, everyone knows they are playing nice to contrast with the reds’ blogpost.
    I am waiting to see how many cars are going to stop on the formation/1st lap in bahrain? 6? 8? Keith, would be agood poll going into the season

    • Eje Gustafsson said on 9th March 2010, 16:55

      As well how many of the new cars will make full race distance. One?

    • ha ha ha! Lets have a poll! I’ll be nice/mclaren and say just 1 will blow up or fail to start.
      How about a 2nd poll; how many cars will still be on the grid after 1 lap? I’m going to be kind again and say 19.

  5. GeeMac said on 9th March 2010, 13:15

    McLaren PR 1 Ferrari PR 0.

    Sanity has prevailed.

  6. Eraysor said on 9th March 2010, 13:24

    I don’t even know how Ferrari managed to get away with that comment relating to the slower new cars being obstacles, considering Badoer’s races last year.

    • Ferrari fans dial out poor performances of their team. My Italian neighbour simply switched to MotoGP for the whole of 2009 just so he wouldn’t see his team lose.

      • GeeMac said on 9th March 2010, 13:36

        South African “Formula 1 fans” did the same thing. They blamed it on “F1 not being the same since Schumacher retired”…

      • Rachel said on 9th March 2010, 13:44

        I didn’t.

        • GeeMac said on 9th March 2010, 15:28

          Many did. If you saw Absolute F1 this week you would have noticed that MS’s return made up about 1/3 of the content of the show, and they barely touched on all of the real off season issues (i.e. Will USF1 and Campos make it to the grid, will Stefan make it to the grid, the rule changes, the new teams etc.) This is clearly an attempt to get the fair weather fans back.

          To many in SA, MS is the only reason they watch F1.

      • steph said on 9th March 2010, 17:46

        “Ferrari fans dial out poor performances of their team”
        I think that’s a bit of a generalisation personally.
        Seeing the poor performances of the F60 hurt and I certainly won’t forget the 2009 season but this is about 2010 now.

      • matt88 said on 9th March 2010, 18:17

        It isn’t completely true, in Italy a lot of F1 fans have switched to MotoGP since the Ferrari domination/boredom of the early 2000s.

      • David A said on 9th March 2010, 22:10

        The Ferrari fans dialing out thing is a generalisation- many Ferrari fans on this site for example, including myself continued to watch every race last year.

  7. Rachel said on 9th March 2010, 13:37

    Oh, yes Team McLaren are the angels on F1.

    • Rob Gallagher said on 9th March 2010, 13:45

      All I know is that McLaren are being sensible about the situation by wanting what is good for F1 and not just what is good for themselves like Ferrari are. Ferrari seem to forget their routes which is a shame as all teams must start somewhere.

  8. In return for FIA changing the immediate budget cap to a resource restriction agreement (with a less agressive glide path), FOTA promised to help the new teams. IIRC the promised technical assistance and such.

    Did that ever come about? I have never read anything about the big teams helping out the new ones.

    Maybe McLaren planned to work together with Prodrive and Williams with someone who also didn’t make it through?

    Still all a bit of a lame duck if they promise something and then nothing comes of it. Or did I miss it?

    At least Ferrari tried to help kick the new teams in the dirt and make sure they don’t get sponsors … ehm wait … well. Well it gave the new teams publicity …

  9. MacLeod said on 9th March 2010, 13:55

    I think most of us are looking at Ferrari’s enviable consistency on long run pace and thinking that looks pretty good, there’s a lot of effort gone into that. And if you look at the Barcelona times, at the Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, ourselves and Force India, on light fuel, I think qualifying’s going to be really tight.
    Jonathan Neale

    I should have Sutil on Pool instead of Massa but McLaren is very nice or at least PR like.

  10. rampante said on 9th March 2010, 14:04

    Some of you obviously don’t remember Ron Dennis in the 70’s and early 80’s when he had the b**ls and courage to speak out. As a Ferrari fan I have always admired Mclaren for the “outside the box” attitude they have had in the past. Another long since gone part of F1.

    • Yes, Dennis had the balls to say things, but he never was so overly disrespectful as that Ferrari website.

      Talking about having balls. It’s not like Di Montezemolo or Dominicali say it. They use some faceless website to purposefully antagonize the sport and the fans.

  11. rampante said on 9th March 2010, 15:01

    all press releases come through Luca Colajanni. He is the official voice of the sporting division. It has the full approval of both Domenical and Montezemolo.

  12. John H said on 9th March 2010, 15:52

    McLaren were fundamental in getting Brawn to the grid. I think they are genuine here and Felipe Massa should think before he speaks basically.

  13. Aleksandar Serbia said on 9th March 2010, 16:09

    I think no team wants more teams coming in, it cuts them away from sponsor money!
    They are not trying to make Ferrari look bad, but to look like they care about new entries, which is of course false and silly.
    This is a sport of competition, espionage and hi tech domination, not a boy scout league.
    Especially when they utter words of compassion after the FIA selection.
    Neither Mclaren or Ferrari want teams to challenge or take their money away, i can’t believe people buy the crap:

    ”We’ve got to get as many of these teams off the ground, running and stable as quickly as possible because the loss of Honda, Toyota and BMW is disappointing. I’m excited by the new prospects but I’m saddened at the loss of some of the previous guys.”

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 9th March 2010, 16:39

      “i can’t believe people buy the crap:”
      I don’t agree, Aleksandar. Neale knows that a strong F1 series offers more chance of a strong McLaren. If the series diminishes in importance, it would be very serious for McLaren.
      He also realises that the new teams won’t steal the success from McLren for a few years yet, possibly never.
      And so when he says ‘the more, the merrier’ I accept that.
      He’s also too polite to disparage new teams in public.

      • Aleksandar Serbia said on 9th March 2010, 17:44

        Mclaren was once a new team, and probably the major teams also thought so of them!

        I don’t dispute any teams soon giving them hell, but in the future, not you or me can predict their success!

        • HounslowBusGarage said on 9th March 2010, 20:40

          Yes and that’s the exact point. Established teams might have thought of McLaren so, but they kept their opinions to themselves.
          They were polite.

  14. Marc Connell said on 9th March 2010, 20:38

    i always thought teams like ferrari would benefit of new teams. They could buy there engines and stuff giving them money. But because they where aggressive i bet in 2011, if the new teams stay i bet they will goto mclaren for engines because there being supportive !

    • Dr. Gonzo said on 9th March 2010, 21:33

      And McLaren will give away their Mercedes engines???

      • Patrickl said on 10th March 2010, 16:08

        McLaren sell their gearbox to Force India don’t they?

        Frank Williams was looking into a cooperation with a new team. The old team will have to scale down and they have excess factory capacity. They could use that to manufacture parts for the new teams.

        I think McLaren had a similar deal in mind too.

        Guess their pick of new team didn’t make it through though.

    • i’ll have some of that. i bet you £1000000 they don’t get next years engines from Mclaren! :-)

      Pretty sure they all have more than one year deals with Cosworth…..anyway, Mclaren don’t make their own F1 engines, yet.

      • They could just mark them up a bit, (Martin Whitmarsh) ‘ Hi, Norbert, you know you said you owed me one for not turning up at our car launch?’ ‘ yesh, okay Marty, vot do yu vont?’ ‘ fancy making a bit on the side?’

  15. maestrointhesky said on 9th March 2010, 22:59

    I’m not sure but I believe Mclaren will be self sufficient when it comes to F1 engines within the next 5 years. That’s part of the reason for the divergence away from Mercedes, the fact that they are making their own M838T engine for their MP4-12C road car. What better way for Mclaren to sell their credentials to prospective newcomers by offering a support network which doesn’t just stop when the engine is dispatched from the factory. This will be a catalyst for persuading new teams to take on untried, untested Mclaren engines with Mclaren able to ultimately benefit by incorporating all the miles racked up by the new teams into a stronger Mclaren package. With that scenario in mind, which new team would seriously choose to be powered by Ferrari?

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