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    That was quite a synopsis of the last 9 seasons for Mclaren!

    The way I look at it os a little bit different. The era between 2007 to 2013 was dominated by aero and chassis configuration. The difference between engines was negligible and it was the primary focus of teams to just make a car that was aero efficient, had great mechanical grip and was reliable. Mclaren, Red Bull and Ferrari were the three top teams because they were all has full support from the 3 best engine suppliers for them, while they focused on making great chassis.

    In 2014 that all changed because with the new regulations. Now, engine performance had become a major differentiator as the typically small gaps from aero differences, were replaced with the larger gaps found from maximised engine performance. Since Mercedes was now going to give 1st preference to it’s works team in keeping that advantage, Mclaren would never really get that edge that Ferrari and Red Bull were going to have by being the 1st preference of the engine supplier. Hence, the justifiable decision to find a new engine supplier that would give Mclaren 1st preference.

    Now, this is where things start going wrong for Mclaren –

    Why choose Honda? Honda was nothing short of a massive failure when they were in F1 the last time around. Under the lexx complex V8 era, they built the worst engine on the grid along with the worst chassis and pretty much failed on every front of racing before they decided to bow out in 2008. Why would you want to partner up with a engine manufacturer that had a poor track record in F1 over the past decade? More importantly, why would you only approach Honda in 2012, and start work in 2013? Mercedes, Ferrari and REbault had all started their work on the new PU as early as 2011.

    Another case of lack of foresight was choosing the approach of size zero packaging. When the 2014 rules were formed, it should have been analysed that packaging wasn’t going to be as big a differentiator as power output. Especially, when Ferrari dropped the ball in 2014, it was obvious that no compromise for power output for packaging purposes should be the norm. Yet, Mclaren didn’t rework on their stance, and they ended up with a disastrous 2015 because of it. Not only did they not realise their mistake for 2015, they ended up wasting an entire year in 2016 by sticking to the same engine philosophy and ruining any fundamental corrections that should have been made at the end of 2015.

    In 2017, they decided the last 2 years were a waste of time, effort and resources, and went back to the drawing board. The most optimal route was to copy Mercedes’ layout and hence they should have started what was a foolproof plan. This is when the decision of partnering up with Honda comes back to bite Mclaren. Not only are Honda unable to work on a layout that has been understood by the entire paddock, but they have been unable to identify problems early on to correct them in time. Thus, making 2017 another ‘testing’ season.

    If Honda started work on their PU design 2 years late, and then scrapped an entire design after 2 years. They are already 4 years behind the competition. Even with the token system being scrapped, this could take ages to make up. At least another 2 to 3 seasons. But the worst part of the entire situation is that Honda are not really capable of catching up either. Their level of talent inspite of financial resources being poured in are not up to the mark, and additionally, they refuse to count on outside help or consultants to make their job easier.

    I hate to say it, but Honda are no longer worthy of being in F1 just due to the lack of good engineering talent and skill set, and in this era of Formula 1, that is the biggest reason for you to bow out of the sport. They realised that in 2008, and they have realised it again in 2017.

    It’s impossible to put a 100% of the blame on Honda though. Mclaren had their own mishaps in approaching Honda a year or two later than they should have, and also not having the foresight to abandon the size zero approach. The combination of a couple of bad decisions from Mclaren and the disaster that is Honda have now put Mclaren in a position of being unable to fight for WDCs.

    Mclaren now find themselves in a position where they can never taste any success with Honda. Their only approach is to cut their losses of the last 4 seasons, and either find a new engine partner and prepare for a few more seasons of torture until they finally come good OR take a long term punt and start manufacturing their own engines. Either ways, they will have a painful journey for the next 3 to 4 seasons, but at the end, there is a chance of success, which is something they will never get with Honda.

    One thing is for sure, that Zak Brown must make a decision regarding Mclaren’s future this season.. and no matter what the approach, Mclaren are in for another 3 to 4 seasons of excruciating pain. But the difference between Mclaren going through a long slump or Mclaren becoming an eternal back marker lies with the direction and decisions taken during this year.



    Hi Keith,

    I think if we got access to all the lap times from the stints… similar to how you provide information for FP sessions. So, if we got tyres compound and lap times within stint, it would be great to analyse and make assumptions about the pecking order.

    Also, would be great to know who was quickest in which sector at the end of the day.

    I feel a lot of journalists get interviews of team owners, drivers, etc. but none of them can give the analysis that you give on lap times etc.



    What kind of breakthrough were we expecting from him? Even if he was to clean up his act and make less mistakes, he still lacks a lot of pace compared to a driver like Grosjean. Pastor’s breakthrough would result in him moving up from #20 in the driver’s rankings to around #15 at best. He’s be a forgettable competitor even at his peak



    I would be shocked if they can turn around their 2014 form. I expect Nasr to impress in his rookie season though.. a few points finishes should be in reach for him. Doubt Ericcson will score a point all season long



    I think people are critical of him as he has been the least exciting or talented driver to win a WDC in a really really long time. He had a strong start to a season in a dominant car, and then was outscored by his teammate in the 2nd half of the season.

    In my books, he has good race craft, consistency (if the car suits him), and a good head on his shoulders. However, he lacks outright pace.. lacks the versatility that Hamilton and Alonso possess.

    Overall, I think he’s lucky to have one WDC and I guess no one can take that away from him. He can get criticised though for not being as good as other WDCs… which I think is entirely fair.



    Fernando on Kimi was pretty good.. brilliantly set up from T1 and T2



    I wrote Ferrari off in 2014 even before pre season testing began. I predicted them to make the 3rd or 4th fastest car… but I think they can do considerably worse this year.

    What a waste of Kimi’s and Nando’s years



    Alonso on the Hulk



    Vettel – 2nd
    Ricciardo – 3rd

    Lewis – 1st
    Rosberg – 1st

    Alonso – 1st
    Raikkonnen – 1st

    Button – 2nd
    Magnussen – 1st

    Grosjean – 3rd
    Maldonado – 4th

    Bottas – 2nd
    Massa – 4th

    Hulkenberg – 3rd
    Perez – 6th

    Vergne – 8th
    Kyvat – 9th

    Sutil – 9th
    Guttierez – 9th

    Bianchi – 13th
    Chilton – 17th

    Kobayashi – 16th
    Ericcson – 19th



    I hope for Fernando to take it… but I’m guessing Ferrari will maintain their consistent form and make the 3rd fastest car of the season again. I’m predicting a Merc vs Mclaren battle at the front, with Merc benefiting the most from the double points race

    1) Hamilton – 243
    2) Rosberg – 211
    3) Magnussen – 184
    4) Alonso – 177
    5) Button – 165
    6) Vettel – 146
    7) Raikkonen – 145
    8) Grosjean – 101
    9) Ricciardo – 96
    10) Bottas – 77
    11) Hulkenberg – 76
    12) Maldonado – 59
    13) Perez – 45
    14) Massa – 42
    15) Kyvat – 16
    16) Vergne – 10
    17) Sutil – 10
    18) Guttierez – 8
    19) Kobayashi – 2
    20) Bianchi – 1
    21) Chilton – 0
    22) Ericcson – 0

    Points are a shot in the dark, obviously :)



    Well… so it is true.

    Mercedes engines produce a 690bhp + an additional 150 bhp from ERS
    Renault (according to the Taffin interview) produce 600bhp + 160bhp from ERS

    Ferrari are the big question mark. But if I had to guess, they would be marginally better than Renault in terms of performance. The only positive of the Ferrari engine is their cooling I guess.. which could lead to smaller sidepods and less aero drag.

    I have a bad feeling that this season is going to be a Mclaren vs Mercedes battle. Let’s hope I’m wrong



    I dont remember Mercedes claiming their engine generated 700bhp… at least I hope not. A 100 bhp is a massive difference in performance. Big enough for the Mercedes powered cars to be at the front followed by either the Renault or Ferrari engined cars



    1. Hamilton
    2. Rosberg
    3. Button
    4. Alonso
    5. Magnussen
    6. Vettel
    7. Bottas
    8. Massa
    9. Raikkonnen
    10. Hulkenberg



    Here goes –

    1) Ferrari
    2) Mercedes
    3) Force India
    4) Red Bull
    5) Williams
    6) Lotus
    7) Mclaren
    8) Sauber
    9) Toro Rosso
    10) Marrussia
    11) Caterham

    It was really close between Ferrari and Mercedes, and although Mercedes have the better qualifiers, Ferrari have the more consistent race day performers. Also thought it was close between Force India and Red Bull, but had to give it to Force India as both their drivers are far better than Ricciardo



    @sbl on tour

    Would have to agree.

    I dislike both Vettel and Schumacher, but Vettel has my respect for 3 reasons –

    1) Vettel has had much tougher competition in the form of Hamilton & Alonso .Schumacher wasn’t racing against anyone of that calibre after 1994. (Sorry over rated Hakkinen & Montoya and Kimi in fragile cars)
    2) Vettel didn’t intentionally bump other drivers off the circuit and park his car on the circuit to slow other drivers down
    3) Vettel didn’t have a teammate who would move over for him at will

    Honestly, I already consider Vettel to be a far superior champion to Schumacher, and Vettel is without a doubt, a better ambassador of the sport

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 646 total)