Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Marina Bay, 2012

McLaren admits it “squandered” chance for titles

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Marina Bay, 2012In the round-up: McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh admits the team’s operation mistakes and reliability problems cost them a chance at the championships.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

McLaren ‘squandered title chance’ (Autosport)

Martin Whitmarsh: “We have underperformed. We haven’t done a good enough job in a number of different ways, but we’ve had a quick car and that is an achievement.”

Button – Perez could struggle (Sky)

“We will see what happens. I have a feeling he will be competitive but of course he doesn’t have the experience. I don’t think he will be fighting at the front at the start of next season but we might be surprised at the first race.”

Still been a good season – Rosberg (ESPN)

“Unfortunately we got in to some difficulties and now at the end of the season we’re struggling a little bit. But still, all in all it’s been a good season because we’re moving forward and that’s nice to see, and that’s very encouraging also for the future.”

A Mexican standoff (Joe Saward)

“The initial suggestion was that the race could take place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in June, to replace the postponed New Jersey race, but the various consortia bidding for the work all apparently agree that it is impossible to do all that is needed in the six months available, even if there is endless money.”

Hamilton: I’m still one of the best (The Telegraph)

“I think I stamped my mark on the sport and showed I have the status that the others do. Even though I am not competing for first or second in the championship I still hold that drive. I just beat the supposed best.”

Alonso tweeting safely in New York (Ferrari)

“I chose to sign up to Twitter because I can manage my relationship with my supporters on my own. I really like loading up photos and usually, I manage to express myself better with a photo than with the 140 characters.”

Nov. 20: On Austin and Leigh Diffey (IndyStar)

Curt Cavin: “I?d say the future [of F1 in America] is the same as it was in Indianapolis, meaning that COTA will continue as a host site so long as it can sell the tickets and the sponsorship to make it pay the sanctioning fee. Indianapolis might still be going if Bernie Ecclestone hadn?t requested more money and fans not soured on the event following the tyre debacle.”

CFF1 18 Nov 12: The US Grand Prix (Chequered Flag Formula 1)

Anthony Hamilton: “It hasn?t been so much [me] not being part of the set-up, it?s been Lewis having his own space, us having our own space, and Lewis is now going to have his own space next year. It?s what kids do isn?t it?”

The Inside Line – on Lotus?s Kimi Raikkonen (F1)

“Q: What do you admire?
KR: Those boys from 1960s and early ??70s in F1. Drivers made from steel in cars made of wood.”

Holy cow, the Formula 1 races have a ton of tech inside (Giga Om)

“The video feeds from the track to the rest of the viewing world is handled by satellite, but [Tata Communications vice president of strategic alliances and sponsorships] Mehul Kapadia is hoping that soon that will change. Tata is one of the largest IP backbone companies in the world and is hoping that after this year it can help transition the F1 world from satellite to fibre.”


Comment of the day

Jono (@me262) has a thought on who should buy HRT:

Adrian Newey should show everyone how it’s done and purchase HRT and be elbowing it out with McLaren and Ferrari in two years!
Jono (@me262)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Polishboy808!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Italian F1 driver Felice Bonetto died on this day in 1953. He was competing in the Carrera Panamericana when he crashed in the Mexican village of Silao.

Bonetto raced for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, scoring two podium finishes with third place at Monza in 1951 (shared with Giuseppe Farina) and Zandvoort in 1953.

Image ?? Singapore GP/Sutton

76 comments on “McLaren admits it “squandered” chance for titles”

  1. They sure did. And with the season Button’s had, with Perez starting to look rather poor, I think they will struggle to make up for it next year.

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      21st November 2012, 0:50

      You’re right, McLaren should be worried. Lewis’s position in the championship isn’t a true reflection of his season, he should be up there with Vettel and Alonso fighting for the WDC this weekend (imaging how great a finale to the season that would’ve been!).

      On the other hand, 6th place on the leader board is pretty much where Jenson belongs, apart from the Australian and Belgian GP’s, he’s been average this year. It’s also telling that as soon as Perez was announced as Ham’s replacement, his form (much like a Pirelli tyres) has falling of the cliff.

      I still expect McLaren to do well next year, but the pairing of Jenson and Perez doesn’t exactly imbue the sense of dynamism or ruthlessness needed to win the WDC or WCC.

  2. Sigh, they didn’t half ‘squander it.’

    It’s so frustrating that Mclaren had operational errors in the first half of the season, and mechanical issues in the second half. It makes having the fastest pitstops almost every weekend now, and having a car that is fast enough to get into first, but not always finish – almost meaningless.

  3. Martin Whitmarsh: “We have underperformed”

    You don’t say, mate…

    You exchanged spoling your races via pit stop blunders to not finishing at all because of reliability issues. And you also lost the development race compared to Red Bull, and even Ferrari, who were very slow in the first part of the season and still managed to pull it out. McLaren on the other hand started ahead, and finished “in the mix”…

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      21st November 2012, 1:11

      McLaren on the other hand started ahead, and finished “in the mix”…

      The phrase “It’s not how you start, it’s where you finish” springs to mind.

    2. I don’t think you can say with fairness that Ferrari have faster than McLaren at any point this season.

      1. @mopatop I didn’t mean that and of course, it’d not be true. I mean that considering how they started, they made a much faster recovery (remember how they struggled in Australia and China, and then they got the car up in front row at Spain and followed McLaren and Red Bull closely at Montreal), while McLaren lost their early season advantage.

        1. And in the rain.

      2. Silverstone.

  4. Interesting choice of words by David Coulthard from the Rodriguez Bros track in Mexico City – maybe he knows something we don’t.

    At Autodromo Rodriguez, venue for past and future F1 races. Liking Mexico City

    Wonder what he’s up to there – maybe filming some padding/build-up for the BBC coverage of Interlagos.

    1. @tomsk well, he went to Santiago de Chile before Austin. And (I know this probably didn’t get to @keithcollantine mailbox), a Red Bull RB7 (yeah, the 2011 one, not the showcar) was present at Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo (probable home to next year’s Argie MotoGP race) too. Weirdly NO ONE reported it, not even here…

      it raced an old FAA plane (vid here).

      Not sure what Red Bull are up to. They are coming back to Buenos Aires later this year too…

      1. Also on the streets ! No one present tho…

    2. Joe’s article explains this one – They may race at Hermanos Rodriguez again for the Mexican GP starting in 2014, probably as a placeholder for a brand-new site ready by 2016/2017.

  5. im looking forward to the ‘what if’ championship posts that usually occur on this site after the season. I bet you that Hamilton would have a second world title.

    I love that Kimi quote. it’s epic.

    1. @sato113 I don’t remember writing anything like that last season. I did during 2010 but it was before the end of the season.

      I may have done a similar one before that but you’ll have to remind me what you’re referring to. Having gone past 10,000 articles a while ago and pushing 11,000 now it’s getting hard to remember how often I’ve repeated different subject areas off the top of my head.

      1. @keithcollantine I suspect he might be talking about specific comments rather than articles. Although it may be interesting to do another this year regarding Hamilton.

      2. I think he’s talking about the scenarios that have been posted on the forum. They make fascinating reading, even if it’s all wild speculation! And impossible to answer ‘what if’s?’

      3. @keithcollantine hi keith, sorry my fault for not being clear. I meant user posts and forum threads.

        Perhaps you could give it a shot though? Perhpas just do a Hamilton-centric article after brazil sometime? :D I think it wouuld be apt seeing how the mclaren really should have walked this champ with hamilton.
        it would need to be thorough though, with points deducted from rivals as hamilton gains points. etc. etc.

        either way I’ll probably do one myself!

        1. Hamilton would probably re-sign with McLaren if they managed to win.

        2. My adjusted rankings for mechanical failures, poor pit strategies, two car collisions, safety cars etc. Adjusted for points gained and points lost.

          I exclude beligium as the Grosjean incident makes it impossible to determine any reasonably accurate results.

          Actual vs Corrected, difference.

          Hamilton 190/291, -101.
          Vettel 273/286, -13.
          Webber 167/229, -47.
          Alonso 260/246, +11.

          I didn’t do Kimi as he hasn’t had much bad luck outside of some Kers failures in qualifying and his last pit stop being called earlly by Lotus in China.

          1. Correction for Webber and Alonso differences.

            Webber 167/229, -62.
            Alonso 260/246, +14.

          2. I assume from this you are reversing all of Hamilton’s misfortunes, to project his and others’ points tallies if none of those incidents had occurred? Why don’t you also adjust for other drivers’ bad luck (eg. RBR’s alternator failures)? I’m not trying to be critical, I just don’t understand the point of the exercise – bad luck is part of any racing season.

          3. @Tyler, the list was made for all good/bad luck for those four drivers as well as most of the other incidents where another drivers bad luck increased a drivers points, e.g. in Australia Vettel does not get +3 for gaining second under the safety car and Schumacher finishes fifth, so Alonso scores 8 instead of ten points.

            Because bad/good luck differs between drivers adjusting points can give a more accurate representation of performance over the season, e.g. Schumacher/Rosberg.

    2. @sato113

      I’m looking forward to the ‘what if’ championship posts that usually occur on this site after the season. I bet you that Hamilton would have a second world title.

      Well, let’s take a look at his results race by race.

      Australia: 3rd
      – clutch problems,
      – could have finished 2nd easily (+3 points),
      – had potential to finish 1st (+10 points).

      Malaysia: 3rd
      – there was a pit-stop error, but he didn’t have the pace of Alonso and Perez,
      – I think he would have finished 3rd anyway (+0),
      – maybe 2nd was possible (+3).

      China: 3rd
      – gearbox penalty,
      – 2nd was certainly possible (+3),
      – had potential to fight for the victory (+10).

      Bahrain: 8th
      – pit stop errors and bad tyre degradation,
      – could finish 4th easily (+8), but podium was out of reach in my opinion.

      Spain: 8th
      – not enough fuel in Q3,
      – team lost him a certain podium finish (+11),
      – victory was a real possibility (+21).

      Monaco: 5th
      – lack of communication from the team,
      – could have finished ahead of Vettel (+2).

      Canada: 1st

      Valencia: 19th
      – bad pit-stop lost him position to Alonso,
      – Maldonado,
      – he could have easily finished 4th (+12),
      – had potential to fight for the victory (+25).

      Silverstone: 8th
      – both cars showed general lack of pace (+0).

      Germany: DNF
      – puncture damage,
      – had the pace to finish 4th (+12).

      Hungary: 1st

      Spa: DNF
      – made some mistakes in Q3 and didn’t have a good start,
      – then Grosjean happened,
      – Lewis he wouldn’t have had the pace to match Button, Vettel or Alonso,
      – I doubt he would have finished lower than 7th (+6),
      – in my opinion 4th was the best case scenario (+12).

      Monza: 1st

      Singapore: DNF
      – gearbox failure,
      – could have win this one comfortably (+25 points).

      Japan: 5th
      – bad setup, good recovery, superb pit-stop,
      – couldn’t have salvaged more (+0).

      Korea: 10th
      – it’s really hard to judge, strong Q3 despite some setup problems,
      – broken rear anti-roll bar and extra pit stop caused him to slip back,
      – without the car damage I think he could have finished 6th (+7).
      – 4th was probably the best case scenario (+11).

      India: 4th
      – gearshift problem,
      – I think he would have finished 4th anyway (+0),
      – maybe 3rd was possible (+3).

      Abu Dhabi: DNF
      – fuel pressure problem,
      – could have win this one comfortably (+25 points).

      Austin: 1st

      McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh believes that Lewis Hamilton would be fighting for the Formula 1 world championship in Brazil this weekend if the team had got the most out of its car this year.

      The conservative assessment gives Lewis 114 points more than he has currently. That’s 304. My “best case scenario” figures give him 167 more points for a total of 357.

      If we ignore the puncture damage, if we ignore Maldonado and Grosjean, and if we only count reliability issues and team errors we still arrive at 84 points (with the conservative calculations) or 118 (if we assume the best possible results). That’s 274 and 308 points, respectively, not accounting for the fact that in some of these races Seb would have finished behind Lewis.

      I think it would have been done deal way before Brazil.

      1. As a few have pointed out, it is a pointless exercise because these things have happened, nut I think Hamilton has suffered from more than his “fair share” of bad luck this season when you look at the pit stop errors and the 2 pretty certain victories lost (3 if you count Spain, he was 1/2 a second quicker than Maldonado for pole) it’s clear he should have been right up there.

        I think this has been Hamilton’s best season, he seems to have tempered his aggressiveness just enough to not lose his blinding speed. He’s been very consistent and in all but points scored he’s thrashed Button this season.

        As a Lewis fan I just pray that Mercedes can get ti together next year seems out of the question but for 2014!

        1. Hehe. The guy sits down and writes one of the longest posts on F1F and the first reply he gets is that it’s a “pointless exercise”!

          For me it was the early operational problems (probably because of Sam Michael coming in) that lost them the season. When compared to Red Bull, the mechanical side of things has been relatively good.

      2. It’s an interesting hypothetical but it also points out that there’s way too many variables.

        Maybe McLaren had their reliability issues because they spent too much time and money on performance. If they’d focused more on reliability to prevent all of the failures that you mentioned above they would probably have to spend less time/money on making the car fast. While Hamilton may have finished more often he would most likely have been generally slower over the course of the whole season. Since McLaren have had more reliability issues than a lot of the top teams they’d have to trade the most development time for reliability.

        Also if you’re going to assume the McLaren’s are perfectly reliable then why not make all the cars go through the season without any failures? Hamilton has probably been hit hardest but others would pick up a lot of points too.

        He got an extra 12-25 points in Valencia but Vettel would surely have won without his failure and Grosjean would most likely have finished ahead of Hamilton. Plus if he and Maldonado hadn’t come together there’s a very good chance Maldonado would have got past in what was a much a much faster car at the time. In Monza Hamilton won but Alonso was the fastest for pretty much the whole weekend and would most likely have started from pole and gone on to win had he not had a roll bar fail in qualifying, plus Vettel would have taken some points from Italy.

        1. @aledinho

          It’s a pointless exercise because these things have happened


          It’s an interesting hypothetical but it also points out that there’s way too many variables

          I know it may be a pointless exercise, but it’s fun. For me at least. It brought back some memories from this great season ;)

          1. couldn’t agree with you better :)

          2. @maroonjack I wasn’t having a go. I had a very similar discussion in another thread recently and it is pretty interesting. Plus it still doesn’t change the main point you were making, that Hamilton would probably be fighting for the championship were it not for a fragile McLaren.

      3. It’s absolutely not a pointless exercise. And it’s the exercise that Whitmarsh will be going through with the team’s stakeholders and investors. ( He is getting his mea culpa’s out in open in advance of these uncomfortable discussions, it would seem.) That is, what have our errors in operation and car preparation cost us this year and how do we fix it? Everyone has problems but the team’s job is to get rid of them. That’s why Whitmarsh get’s the big bucks. This is not a game of gin rummy. It is about execution. McLaren fell way behind the competition in that catgory. I don’t know what the correct senstivity analysis model for Hamilton’s points losses are, but the most generous estimates show tha McLaren left a towering heap of points on the floor purely from errors. Other people had bad “luck” too or reliability issues, but McLaren is not in control of those things.

  6. Let’s not forget the video of Alonso closing the New York Stock Exchange!


    (The main thing it made me think is that there’s something a little odd/uncomfortable about having to appear in your race suit at an event like this. Where is his dark suit and red tie?)

    1. (On closer inspection, I guess it’s just a jacket. Still, he stands out!)

      1. That whole video is completely surreal. He looks sort of confused as to why he’s there.

        1. I am too.

          What a waste of time.

          1. Great preparation for the title decider!

            Seriously, I know he’s in the US and it was probably organised a long time ago, but this is ridiculous timing by Santander. Should have got Karthikeyan to do it or something, would have got more publicity for sure!

        2. artificial racer
          21st November 2012, 7:30

          The clapping goes on uncomfortably long. And the unnatural smiles from the suits are disconcerting.

  7. Also Jacques Laffitte born today. Happy 68th birthday Jacques!

  8. Well there you have it folks, those who decided to argue that it was also the fault of Lewis and Jenson (poorly put blame) are wrong. McLaren actually did the right thing and said, yes we failed our drivers this year.

    Cause they really did fail them.

  9. Kimi’s comment was awesome, as usual.

    1. Has anyone noticed that kimi’s answer are alot more straight forward and has less words.

    2. Ah, so we should now replace “Classic Kimi” with Awesome Kimi”?

  10. Such a shame how Hamilton’s season turned out. Had a couple potential wins turned into third place due to pit stop blunders, got taken out of a couple races that he would’ve at least been on the podium, a couple pole positions that he had to give away and then four straight weekends of reliability issues… twice retiring from the lead! There should be no doubt that Lewis would’ve been in the title hunt were it not for awful luck this year.
    That said, this season is probably the best we’ve seen from him… for me, at least. He has been very quick & absolutely faultless all year long. If Brawn & Mercedes can give him a half decent car that’s reliable, he’ll do good things with it. Quite an understatement from Whitmarsh to say McLaren underperformed this year. Lewis might miss McLaren next season if the Merc’s not quick enough to challenge for wins, but McLaren will definitely miss him either way.

  11. Is there any alternative for Mexico? If they don’t make it we will have a 19 races championship?

    1. The return of the French GP is the most likely alternative. Magny-Cours is in pole position with Paul Ricard also considered, as far as I know. A French autosport delegation met with Bernie in India (?), but no announcement was made, so I think some things still need to bee ironed out.

      1. @atticus-2 – Bernie reportedly agreed to everything the organisers of the race wanted, but gave them a date that clashed with Le Mans. He clearly wants something important out of them.

        1. @jcost @prisoner-monkeys Yep, I forgot to mention that.

          I don’t think it would be a disaster for TV viewer figures, I mean, two or three hours missed from 24 is not a big deal, I think.

          But it could surely hurt ticket sales at both events. I personally would weigh Le Mans a bit more, if I have to choose, but that would be the first French GP, the most traditional GP in history, since 2008, so I think a lot of Frenchmen must be eager to see F1 action live in their own country again.

          I would really like to see a GP at the Ricard. I heard they would construct grandstands soon anyway, as the track hosts various race events again since 2009 after hosting test sessions only since the 2002 renovation.

  12. Holy God, Alonso is still in the USA on sponsorship duties!?

    That’s probably not the most relaxing way to prepare for the title decider after a long and exhausting season…

    Ferrari should have known better than to use him this much.

    1. @atticus-2 – Firstly, the video from the Stock Exchange shows Alonso standing there, appluading. It’s hardly the most strenuous PR work.

      Secondly, there is only a three hour time difference between New York and Sao Paulo. That won’t be too diffciult for Alonso to overcome by Friday. Especially considering that twenty-four hours have passed since Alonso was in New York. He’s probably well on his way to Sao Paulo, if he isn’t there already.

  13. The question now has to be asked: how long can Martin Whitmarsh stay in his job?

    Since taking over as Team Principal 2009, McLaren have had a series of controversies from the drivers side as well as poor team management. Pit stops blunders which squandered the chance to use the fastest car at the start of this season and now new-found unreliability issues. This, with the fact that McLaren have won no major honours and had one title challenge in 4 years. You have to ask whether it would happen under different management. Since MW took the reigns, McLaren have become noticeably friendlier, shaking off the cold tag but have won less, Red Bull on the other hand have tightened up their operation and won more.

    It is easy to blame the rival team principals when there is a dominant team, but Whitmarsh and to an extent, Domenicalli have undelivered in my view, with SD surviving because Ferrari have maximised their opportunities better. However, this does little explain why the car is so poor though.

    If the 2013 McLaren has been designed with Lewis Hamilton in mind and the smooth style of next years drivers can’t make the car work., serious questions about his ability to lead the team in the future must arise.

    1. The question now has to be asked: When will people stop finding the bad parts in Martin Whitmarsh and writing them as if they’re the only thing he’s done?

      Since he took over as team principal in 2009, the team have managed to sign 2 world-class drivers in Hamilton and Button, turned around their 2009 campaign midway through the season and finished as one of the stronger teams rather than languishing in the midfield as they were in Australia ’09. In 2010, having signed the 2 most recent world champions, they lost their way towards the end of the season by (as far as I could see) having one more retirement than the other contenders. Not too shabby considering the domination Red Bull squandered early in the year.
      2011 they easily had the 2nd best car out of the field behind the Red Bull, they maximised this and took 2nd in the championship, also winning China, Canada, back to back wins in Germany and Hungary, a superb win from Button in Japan, and being there to take the win when Vettel retired in Abu Dhabi. Button was hailed as having his greatest year and Hamilton still put in some impressive performances despite what people often say was a bad year for him.

      2012, they started the season almost perfectly with a front row lockout, then 1st and 3rd (only from a spot of bad luck on the safety car), rain strategy and backmarkers ruined their Malaysia, another front row lockout though, and Hamilton got another 3rd.

      It’s not as if McLaren are the only team who have suffered mechanical failures, and not as if they’re the only ones to suffer when they’re leading or doing well. Vettel and Grosjean both retired from Valencia. Mercedes had a pitstop error for Schumacher in China, costing him a podium (possibly a 2nd place)

      Under Whitmarsh, the largest scandal McLaren had was their handling of the Trulli overtake in Australia 2009. Ron Dennis was there when the team was embroiled in spygate.

      No team manager is perfect, but Whitmarsh surely can’t be blamed for McLaren’s pit stop errors and technical failures. That’d be like a newly signed Director-General of a big broadcasting company resigning after only a few months in the job because something quite small (which he had no reason to have control over) resigning.
      ..Oh, wait.. Bugger :P

      1. Fact of the matter is, they have zero titles to show for since ’09. At the end of the day, it’s the results that matter. And as Ron would tell you, second is first of the losers.

        1. @journeyer

          they have zero titles to show for since ’09

          That’s really just twisting the facts. Ferrari, Renault (now Lotus), Sauber and Williams have all had upturns in form, yet have ‘no titles to show for since 2009’, Mercedes could be considered a world championship team by that standard. Mclaren have been 2nd in 2 of the 4 years from 09-12, and 3rd in the other 2 (assuming they don’t outscore Ferrari in Brazil). Considering very few people will deny that Red Bull have had the fastest car (driven by at least 1 of the fastest drivers, if not 2) over the last 3 and a half seasons, that’s hardly a bad thing. McLaren have managed to take a fight to Red Bull on more races than most of the other teams.

          To put it another way, Red Bull have had the dominant car since partway through ’09, so they should have 4 WCC’s. They only have 3, so what’s gone wrong?

          My point is it’s very easy to see the bad in people, but in reality there’s very little to see. People can twist facts incredibly easily to make them fit their cause.

          1. @Mo. Dennis’ final years at McLaren certainly weren’t vintage but I feel he would have had a tighter grip on things. I’m purely speculating, as I don’t know MW personally but he seems a rather dry character to me. I think Ron would have handled Hamilton in a different manner and probably have convinced him to stay. I think that we must always assume that McLaren plan to dominate the championship and this year with a top car and 2 world champions they got no-where near either. If I were a McLaren fan I would be seriously worried that Ferrari, with a far slower car managed to be ahead in the championship. After Belgium it looked as though Hamilton was unstoppable for this year and probably next, and the wheels fell off a little bit. There needs to be a change there. Ferrari noted it and sacked Dyer then Costa and McLaren brought in Sam Michael but the change hasn’t been for the better. I just can’t see them having a better chance to be champions than this year, where they failed because of issues Whitmarsh should be responsible for.

        2. Fact of the matter is, that under Ron Dennis McLaren has won 7 contructor titles in about 30 years. Their last title dates from 1998, so until Whitmarsh took over, they didn’t win the title for 11 years in a row. It’s so easy and lame to criticize Whitmarsh while many years under Dennis weren’t golden either.

          1. To be honest, I don’t understand this thinking where not winning the title is OK because the others are failing too. McLaren is not a small team. Ferrari, Merc and McLaren are under performing. Those companies build cars and they Can’t manage with all their engineers to a build a car capable of beating Redbull. Only a loser will think that is OK.

            How on earth can you justify something like that. That is money wasted. If you are not in it to win it then don’t bother coming except if you are looking to be like Arsenal .

            I can understand small teams who growing and looking to be like Redbull but for big teams at the top constantly failing that pure nonsense.

          2. People have been criticizing Whitmarsh to no end, and I feel that’s unfair. I think some people have a bit of a too rosy view about the years under Dennis. The same people who criticize Whitmarsh now, did they also criticize Dennis in, let’s say, 2004 and call for his resignation? Has Whitmarsh really done such a terrible job? In 4 seasons under his guidence, McLaren has finished second twice, third once, and they’re still in the running for a second place right now (although I admit, I’ll give Ferrari the better chance). The only really disastrous year under Whitmarsh was maybe 2009. But then again, that was disastrous for anyone not in a Brawn or Red Bull car.

            As for underperforming, I think people really underestimate Red Bull. Budget wise they’re right on par with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren. Perhaps they’re a smaller team, but they’ve got the right people, that’s what counts. More isn’t always better. You can criticize him for not getting the right people, but then again, there aren’t (m)any designers out there who can compete with Newey and his team.

          3. @keeleyobsessed But, second for McLaren shouldn’t be good enough. If you praise him for signing Button then you must be critical of losing Hamilton. Button has been outscored and although I feel his 2011 was superb, he has proven that he can only win in a car that is completely dominant or have changeable weather. The best driver (with Vettel) since mid-season has been let go to a rival team and they now hold none of the top 3 drivers and very unlikely to sign them in the future.

            It is easy to be critical but having the best car and not winning the championship means that the team has failed in terms of operations at the circuit. Combine that with losing Hamilton and the future does not look too bright for them. McLaren claim to be built only to win, this can no longer be the case as they have watched 4 teams win the championship since their last victory.

            @Mo, I think it is highly insulting to Dennis’ legacy to undermine what he achieved considering he developed the McLaren operation to domination and almost signal-handedly increased the professionalism of f1 teams with his work ethic and desire for success. I am about as far from a Ron-worshipper as they come but it is his legacy that made McLaren a top team to begin with.

          4. @rbalonso I’m not trying to insult anyone. Maybe Ron developed McLaren into a top team, but fact is, under his guidance McLaren has also not won a constructors title since 1998. So the last 10 years with Dennis as team principal, McLaren hasn’t won the championship either. Sure, maybe he had more credit, but I feel it’s unfair to criticize Whitmarsh for not winning anything, as if Dennis would’ve done better (I doubt it, as Red Bull has just been absolutely superb).

          5. Wow, gone for a day and this whole discussion has gone nuts.

            @keeleyobsessed and Mo, all good and well. But isn’t that part of the reason why Ron Dennis is gone? Because things had gone off the rails (esp. in 2007)? Martin was supposed to right the ship, but… well, he hasn’t. Stability in an F1 team is highly valued, but only if it delivers on expectations. If anything, I’d argue Ron stayed at the helm too long, and Martin is in danger of doing the same if he’s not winning titles. If results are not meeting expectations, surely that means something must change?

      2. ” the team have managed to sign 2 world-class drivers in Hamilton and Button, turned around their 2009 campaign midway through the season and finished as one of the stronger teams rather than languishing in the midfield as they were in Australia ’09. ”

        Hamilton was signed before …you mean resign surely .

        ” 2012, they started the season almost perfectly with a front row lockout, then 1st and 3rd (only from a spot of bad luck on the safety car), rain strategy and backmarkers ruined their Malaysia, another front row lockout though, and Hamilton got another 3rd. ”

        From this position how did they manage to lose WDCs for both drivers ? and while ferrari soared ahead .. Mclaren want to win races not championships and that’s what they will do next year under MW unless paddy lowe makes a “brawn gp ” of a car . FIND SOMEONE BETTER

        1. @ak

          Hamilton was signed before …you mean resign surely .

          2 World class drivers, Hamilton AND Button.. You seem to have misread..

          Mclaren want to win races not championships

          Last time I checked, they are winning races, they won the most recent one. In fact, they’re the only other team apart from Red Bull to have won races in the second half of the season, in a season which is supposed to be very competitive.. I’d call that a success, and that success has been achieved under Whitmarsh (Not saying it wasn’t achieved under Dennis, but people are saying that McLaren aren’t flourishing under Whitmarsh)

          1. I Agree with you that they are next only to Redbull . But how is it that they always end up losing the WDC especially this year as they started off the season having ” the best ” car on the grid . I was one of McLaren’s fans until recently . Just disappointed that they could not stay in contention till the last few races let alone win . Maybe next year they will stay in contention .

      3. Great post @keeleyobsessed. McLaren haven’t picked up any titles during this time, but on the other hand who has? Brawn in 2009 – definitely an outlier if ever I saw one – and Red Bull every year since, with a car designed by the talismanic Adrian Newey.

  14. Happy birtday to you @Polishboy808!

  15. With 4 days between the last two gp’s is it a good idea for Ferrari to bring Alonso in NY (wall street, kaspersky etc..)? He had to travel from Austin to NY and then to Sao Paolo….and all that before the last race which decides the championship?
    Shouldn’t he be resting or preparing for interlagos? He look a bit tired in that wall street video.
    Not very smart from Ferrari IMHO.

    1. You seem to be under the misapprehension that focusing on achieving the goal that he and his team have worked all year towards is more important than sucking up to those who hold the cheque books.

  16. Looks like the weather forecast have changed a bit:
    Fri, Sat 10% chance of rain
    Sun 60% chance of rain

  17. McLaren has proved for most of the season that to win races the car must not be just quick but also reliable. Too many reliability issues for the team that should be fighting for the championship. However, I think they’d have learnt a good lesson from the last couple of DNFs and this season should be nothing but a step forward to fight for both the drivers’ and constructors’ title next year.

    At least the MP4-27 wasn’t as bad as MP-19/19B which managed to win only race but had 12 retirements during the ’04 season!

  18. That Kimi Raikkonen interview on F1.com is legendary: mostly the answer other drivers give are about 5 sentences long, but Kimi’s are just one sentence, and that’s it. And that’s why we all like him!

    1. +1 . Classic interview answers .

  19. Really interesting article of the tech behind the F1 broadcast. It’s exciting times for the internet and freeing up the airwaves is always a plus for improvement in mobile communication or over-the-air IP. It should also help keep costs down and improve reliability (not that we have many problems with that).

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