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McLaren: Victories in 2013 will be “a real challenge”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Aug 2013   |  10:58 pm GMT  |  108 comments

McLaren’s managing director Jonathan Neale believes it will be “a real challenge” for the team to contend for race victories in the second half of the season.

Britain’s Jenson Button and Mexican Sergio Perez have not managed to finish on the podium this season with Button’s fifth place in China McLaren’s best result.

That’s quite a drop in performance for a team which has won at least one race in each of the last 10 years, apart from 2006.

Before the summer break, Button said he hoped the team would be able to challenge for wins in the second half the year following improved car performance in the last few races.

But Neale said: “I think that will be a real challenge, if I’m honest. Both drivers are capable of scoring points and we have seen some double figure points scores, which is always pleasing.

“But we have certainly not achieved what we wanted to with this car and there still remains an awful lot of work to do to make sure we properly understand that and get ourselves in good shape for next season.”

Button took his second of three wins in 2012 at Spa Francorchamps, which hosts this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, but Neale believes it will be difficult to repeat the feat this year.

“I think we’ll struggle to be right at the front but nevertheless we are hoping to make some further gains,” he said. “The weather forecast that I’ve seen says that qualifying and the race could well be wet this weekend. Spa is tricky and I don’t think anybody would go there feeling confident.”

McLaren are currently sixth in the constructors’ championship, 220 points behind leaders Red Bull. While the Woking-based team remain keen to improve their position, they are also focusing hard on 2014 to ensure the same problems don’t reoccur.

“The areas that we’re working on this car are areas that, either directly or indirectly, are relevant to our 2014 campaign,” added Neale. “We’re almost through August so it’s four months until the end of the year. There’s a lot of work to be done to get ready for next year.”

On the subject of tyres for next season, Neale added that the team were “assuming” Pirelli would continue to be the supplier, but if they are not, they could work around the new tyre manufacturer which stepped in.

“I think at this stage we are assuming, and I don’t know whether there’s any foundation for that, that somehow the process will continue with Pirelli,” added Neale.

“If we were to get a late change from somebody else coming in to the sport at late notice then of course we would work around that and work with whoever the FIA chose that to be.”

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  1. Random 79 says:

    The important thing for McLaren to remember going into 2014 is learn from the mistake they made going into 2013 and that is stick with what works and don’t design an all new car.

    What can go wrong? :)

    1. Random 79 says:

      Of course the MP4-28 doesn’t really work in the first place, and then there’s the new regulations…

      Maybe two negatives make a positive?

      1. Sebee says:

        You now just talking it out to yourself. I too am guilty of this on occasion. :-)

        I would really like to see McLaren break into top 3 in 2014. Just to show fighting spirit after this Mercedes assault they have undergone.

      2. Tim says:

        after this Mercedes assault they have undergone….
        I have noticed similar comments from you on this matter, in the past, and I believe that you are being a little unfair. Ferrari could just as easily be accused of assaulting Lotus – they have ‘stolen’ JA and it appears they are about to do the same with KR.
        To be fair to Mercedes they had not intended to secure PL as her was heading to Williams ands it was only TW change of direction that secured his services.

      3. Jake says:

        McLarens trouble are largely self inflicted. They decided to make the new car and to let Lewis leave. If their engineers were happy they would not have been looking elsewhere.

      4. W Johnson says:

        Spot ON. Mercedes have used their financial strehgth to poach the hell out of McLaren. So it would be a great repost if McLaren can show Mercedes that they should stick to making production cars.

      5. Sebee says:

        You’re probably right Tim.
        I’m not a huge McLaren fan, but it just felt a little different this time to me as an observer. Perhaps because it was so widely reported. For a while it just felt like blow after blow after blow. And I don’t believe KR is going to Ferrari. I hoped, but it ain’t gonna happen.

        And yes Jake, it’s self inflicted. But since little has changed from 2012 to 2013 regs I believe that this self-inflicted trouble is actualy McLaren survival mechanism kicking in. Because let’s not forget the party doing the assault in this case also supplies McLaren with engines. McLaren had to bridge the time before Honda engines are ready, because after all without engine an F1 car is just an ornament at Schumi’s Karting Ring. And so, by submitting and ending 3 years of making Mercedes factory team look incompetent McLaren has preserved engine supply for the all important 2014 year. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

      6. Quade says:

        Mercedes did deal McLaren several blows, but to a great degree, the fault is Mclarens. They messed up publicly when it came to Lewis and Paddy Lowe; basically telling both long term employees to sod off if they “didn’t bleed McLaren.” No team can have such an attitude to top talent and remain on top.

        Paddy Lowes exit especially might have affected McLarens 2013 season quite negatively, I recall Jenson saying they took a wrong turn with the car at the end of the season – this would coincide with the time Paddy Lowe was leaving and being told to close the door behind himself.

      7. Sebee says:


        What was McLaren to do? Get into a bidding war for Lewis and Lowe? At some point you have to know your limitations. Also, we see plans till next season. McLaren is looking 3-5 seasons out in their planning and resource management.

        There will always be a fight for talent. And at some point just like Kimi, staff have to decide – is it about money, or is it about something else. Also, at some point new blood needs to take over for the seniors. If we idolize all these guys and don’t let the people who have worked with them learn and move up and take responsibility than the base pool will dry up. I like that McLaren have promoted from within, giving guys a chance here.

        Finally, we are yet to see if all the spending will buy Mercedes the success. Sorry to say, but we’ve seen that Accounting guys OKing every invoice fed to them is not always the way. At some point there is another ingredient(which can’t be bought) beside “cash” that is needed to really be a great TEAM. Let’s wait a few years see if Mercedes has that ingredient.

      8. Sebee says:

        If Slim money doesn’t materialize, Perez out and Kimi to McLaren? :-)

      9. AuraF1 says:

        Sadly given kimi’s paycheque demands and that button and Kimi would make the oldest line up on the grid its not going to happen – but I’d love to have seen it!

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      You know, people keep saying that whilst conveniently forgetting that in the middle of last year when the decision was made they were struggling for performance. Look at how poorly they did at Silverstone last year.

      1. Frique says:

        Who’s the “they” you speak of? I remember Lewis having the most consistent season and qualifying the Macca quite highly whilst his teammate was struggling, even though it took 9 races for him to get a race win. Aaaahhhhh that’s the “they” you speak of:-)

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        They being McLaren. I take it you didn’t watch Silverstone last year where Lewis and Jenson finished 8 seconds apart (after Jenson starting 17th) in 8th and 10th fighting with Hulks Force India for the alst couple points.

        The sight of Schumacher overtaking Lewis and driving away to secure 7th, with no mechanical or tyre problems for the Macs, was not good.

      3. ngwe_f1 says:

        If by “they” you mean Button, then yes I am in total agreement with you,

      4. Random 79 says:

        Interesting, but they’ve also said a number of times in their own defence that they went with the radical change to the MP4-28 because they felt that they’d reached the limits of what they could do with the MP4-27.

      5. Andrew Carter says:

        And they’ve recently said that they were getting more performance from parts late in the year than they were expecting to, which suggests they had/have a correlation problem.

      6. Sebee says:

        I wish some other team would have been allowed to buy and race those MP4-27 designs this year. It would have been interesting I think.

    3. Richard says:

      Unfortunately with the massive regulation changes next year it’s hard to see how they will progress. I don’t think they fully understand the current car and it’s issues so I expect they have started from elsewhere maybe the 2012 spec. car. It’s a massive tear up for everybody with the new powertrain and reduced height of the nose instigated for safety reasons. It will be interesting to see which car is quickest, but I have a feeling it will be Mercedes, I certainly hope so.

      1. Quade says:

        There are rumours that McLaren is dumping their pull rod suspension for 2014. If that happens, then this year would be a total write-off, I don’t see any useful experience that might have been gained elsewhere this season.

      2. Joe says:

        It is a fact , ML leaves front pull rod next year.

    4. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      PEREZ can win in 2013, it’s a real possibility, not a prediction. I hope he does.

      1. Jonathan says:

        no – it’s a pipe dream

        like the one in which we all see the results of pigs drinking Red Bull … ;-)

  2. goferet says:

    Shoot, it’s never pleasant to take medicine because medicine is always sour but Mclaren have been here before and they know all too well that no pain, no gain.

    Yes, it’s looking like Mclaren may not register a win this season and this is all because of the 2014 season that’s got everybody so worried and so most teams will have to abandon development on the 2013 cars pretty soon.

    And unlike other seasons in the past were Mclaren’s sole competitor was Ferrari, now they have to contend against 4 other top teams each having world champions making the prospect twice as hard.

    But in sport you can never be 100% sure for if you’re at the right place at the right time, a win isn’t out of the question e.g. Damon Hill’s win for Jordan Spa 1998.

    Regards the 2014 season, seeing as Mclaren will have the Mercedes engine too, the team could see a turn of fortunes if the Mercedes engine turns out to be the strongest.

    As the old saying goes >>> Every cloud has a ”silver” lining.


    If we have a wet race at Spa, wouldn’t this favour Lewis as shown in 2008 and 2010.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Two points:

      First, McLaren have the Mercedes engine right now and it is arguably the strongest…but it’s not helping them.

      Second, every cloud does have a silver lining, but right now that lining looks like more of a Mercedes silver than a McLaren silver.

      I wouldn’t count Lewis out of any race, wet or dry.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Random 79

        Yes Mclaren have a Mercedes engine but from 2014, engine will play more of a role in determining who has good performance.

        In this current era, aerodynamics is king and that’s why the Red Bulls have been so good because this is were Newey excels.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Fair point

      3. Quade says:

        Since McLaren is going to Honda in 2015, I fear that a few telling details will be missing from the engine manual that Merc will hand them.

        Its going to be a tricky couple of years for McLaren, so fingers crossed for them.

      4. Sebee says:

        I think those dismissing the importance of aerodynamics in 2014 are going to get a surprise goferet.

        Downforce is downforce. Like displacement, more is always better, as long as it’s not at cost of drag. Also don’t think for a second that aero effciency will suddenly be absolete in F1.

      5. Sebee says:


        You don’t think McLaren will crack the seals on their Brazil 2014 engine unit and let some Japanese Tourists snap away with their macro lens equipped SLRs? :-)

    2. Nick says:

      “If we have a wet race at Spa, wouldn’t this favour Lewis as shown in 2008 and 2010.”

      Really? Anyone who still thinks Hamilton is any good in the wet are deluded!

      He has shown time and time again, as soon as water starts falling out of the sky he forgets how to drive and is TOTALLY incapable of making the right decision on what tires to be on.

      He might have been handy in the wet in his early days, but no longer.

  3. Dai Dactic says:

    ‘. . . victories will be a real challenge . . .’

    Is that not the premise of any highly competitive sport?

    1. RogerD says:

      What he said:

      ‘…victories will be a real challenge…’

      What he meant:

      ‘…we’ve got something close to zero chance…’

    2. Random 79 says:

      Yes, but in this case ‘…victories will be a real challenge…’ is a euphemism for ‘we don’t have a hope…’

  4. jk Meyers says:

    This year has been farcical for Woking.

    Sort problems, yes, but also must come to terms with a 2nd rate driver lineup. Don’t think they can contend without addressing both car and driver. Either pilot is an adequate #2, but would hope they realize there is no #1.

    1. Tim says:

      Fighting talk, you will have all the JB fans ranting at you now!

    2. Jonathan Dye says:

      How many #2 drivers have ever won a World Championship? Jenson has beaten pretty much every team mate he has had, even the ex WCs.
      I still think Perez was the wrong choice. Mclaren should have taken more time to decide who to replace Lewis with. It all seemed a bit of a knee jerk reaction. They quickly signed up the young guy everyone was talking about at that moment. Short of being forced to bring back Takuma Sato when Honda rejoin F1, I can’t think of a worse choice.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Knee jerk reaction for sure but I’m still reserving judgement.

        He’s shown some spirit – I’d like to see what he can do with a decent car.

  5. Elie says:

    I find it interesting that he kept saying “if” Pirelli are the new tyre manufacturer and if a new manufacturer were to come in..! I know they haven’t been formally confirmed- but that’s some huge ifs !

  6. Cliff says:

    James I find it astonishing that a team of mclarens resources, and strength in depth(engineers) that they still don’t have a grasp on this current car 10 races in.. Every raft of updates since Australia has in the words of Martin W “not brought performance to the car that they expected” in other words not worked n now that they have more or less moved focus to the 2014 car. with the correlation between the windtunnel n car still not were they want it to be surely they risk 2014 being another below par season!!

    1. AuraF1 says:

      To be fair Ferrari have the biggest (official) budget and they’re having the same trouble in the wind tunnel facility they’re sharing with McLaren (they’re both using the Toyota facility currently aren’t they?)

  7. Becken says:

    Whitmarsh some days ago:

    “…Sometimes you’re lucky in life and you stick all the elements together and they do add up. Sometimes they just don’t. THERE WERE TIMES WHEN IT’S COME GOOD AND WE DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHY. At the end of last year, some of the developments overperformed…”

    Maybe the right question shouldn´t be: What can go RIGHT?

    As a McLaren fan, that´s what really scares me: they don´t have a clue about what went wrong this year nor about what went right last year.

    1. Erik says:

      You don’t start building a new car if you don’t fully understand the last one. They should have re-hashed last years car for this season and have the chance of fully understading why it performed so well and what made certain parts of the car so efficient. Instead they blew it all on an unknown.

      Strange from a top team.

      Bring back Dennis.

      1. Nick says:

        Bring back Dennis???

        Really? Dennis?

        Are you talking about Ron Dennis? The last McLaren team principal that everyone raves about and who everyone wants back?

        You know, the almighty team principal who last delivered a WCC for McLaren 15 YEARS AGO!!!

        Whitmarsh has been in the job only 4 full years with no WCC and everyone is calling for his head. Yet the same people want the same guy back who failed to deliver for 15 years!

        Am I missing something?

      2. Nick says:

        OK, so obviously Dennis wasn’t responsible for the last 4 years, although he did hand the team to Whitmarsh right at the beginning of 2009 with a dog of a car designed under him – so I’ll put a large portion of blame for 2009 on him too!

        However he still went from 1998 until 2009 with no WCC. Hardly the worlds greatest team principal!

    2. Quade says:

      I mentioned (on another site) that this years dud car coincided with a dud ECU (which led McLaren to apologise to Red Bull for wrecking Webbers race when his KERS didn’t work in Aus).
      It seems a bit too much of a coincidence that the car should play up in the exact same year that the ECU was a huge embarrassment to the team.

      I do not doubt for a minute that McLaren have some of the best brains in F1, so, in my opinion something has gone wrong with the teams internal communications.

  8. Andrew Carter says:

    That, I think, is an understatement.

  9. All revved-up says:

    I’m just an arm chair F1 fan. But it seems to me that McLaren have had an extra 6 months since the start of the season and the benefit of 10 races as “on track testing” to build a car that’s close to the top of its class.

    Given McLaren’s world class technical team and no shortage of money for development, perhaps it’s not the engineering team that doesn’t understand the car. Perhaps it’s the drivers?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      No the engineers have said the car has a fundamental misalignment between ride height, and front and rear aero envelope. It’s fundamentally a flawed design in that it has no ideal set up window, it isn’t the drivers fault the car is just wrong. Regardless if people consider Button and Perez second rate drivers or not, even their detractors can admit they can win races and can, if nothing else, look after their tyres (I mean c’mon even those who dislike this pair can grudgingly admit they have tyre nursing down like no other pair on the grid!) but the mclaren as is – not only fails to warm tyres properly but then proceeds to destroy them even at slow speeds due to its terrible ride settings.

      The real question is why they didn’t ditch the car when it was obvious it was utterly fundamentally flawed and try reworking the 2012 design. Yes they had a big spiel about needing to rectify the clever design portions of the new car for next year as well but there’s fixing your mistakes and then flogging a dead horse…

      I’m sure Lewis might have dragged this mclaren by the scruff of the neck a few places further up in qualifying but even the engineers and pundits who adore Lewis have pointed out there’s no way he would be winning in the mclaren – Lewis has immense skill but he cant overcome a bad car – we only need to look at 2009 to see his back of the grid adventures in a dog of a mclaren…

      1. All revved-up says:

        Thank you for the insights on the fundamental flaws. I wasn’t aware of the details.

        Just to be clear there is no hidden agenda in my comment, I’m a neutral F1 fan with regards to Hamilton. I think he’s fast, but I don’t think he can make a flawed car perform at a top level. He even struggled with the Mercedes and had a Williams drive past him this season.

        Hope McLaren get back their form in 2014.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        No hidden agenda here either. I’m very openly a fan of McLaren the team (through familial connections since birth) but I’m also willing to point out their odd behaviour and as I’ve said before ‘McLaren’s worst enemy seems to be McLaren…’

        With Hamilton it’s strange, as he was always a McLaren man, I was a natural Hamilton supporter, but I guess I try to view him in a neutral light like you, as I feel my loyalty to Perez and Button as ‘my’ team drivers now. (Though again, I’ll happily point out the weaknesses of these two as well).

        I’ll just say it was nice to have a non-aggressive comment for once! I appreciate that. Sometimes the ‘passions of fandom’ to put it politely can make these forums a little unpleasant.

    2. aveli says:

      you may have something there all revved up because peres set the fastest lap in a race this season. the car is surely good enough to win. they just need to sort out a few minor issues.
      i suspect their idea of centralising their racing team in 2010 cost them dearly. they should have kept their traditional two halves and keep learning from the successful half. at least that way they’ll keep out in from but sinking together makes it so difficult to recover.

      1. All revved-up says:

        Let’s hope they find their way soon. Will be great to have 5 top teams in 2014. It’s been a long time since F1 had 5 top teams in the same season.

      2. aveli says:

        i’d love to see button and perez up into the top 3. for the rest of the season. that would add spice to the championship.

  10. Keith says:

    In this sport it just shows you how you can go from “Hero to Zero” pretty quickly. In 2012 they won the last race and by general consent had the fastest car in the end. During the off season, and when they displayed the new 2013 car a lot of smart people were saying that the McLaren looked great, and could be the car to beat in 2013.
    First test and we know it is a dog. They try to say it was about the 2012 car beating all there so called data they had. That the car out performed what they thought it could do.
    Paddy Lowe has been at McLaren since 1993 and from 2011 he was there TD, he has been talked up as a great designer, yet looking back at his track, I am not so sure. He leaves, first for Williams and then on Mercedes where he is now. Of course he has left behind a mess of a car. I hope it wasn’t planned.

    It appears to me that there are some fundament problems within McLaren and they just make too many mistakes, or have the wrong strategy at the wrong time. They have a massive pool of very talented people working there, and a good healthy budget, so they should not be making these sorts mistakes, or taking wrong turns in design.
    They have one of the best wind tunnels in the business, one of the best simulators and test drivers around (Paffett) , massive amounts of computer power, and it seems with all of this, they still mess up.

    I guess it really is down to the people that put the numbers in the machines. The Newey’s, the Byrnes, the Allison’s and a Brawn or two that make the difference. These are the new “rock stars” of F1, with drivers taking a back seat…..

    1. James Allen says:

      Lowe is not a designer

      He’s a co ordinator

      1. Tim says:

        Quiet… if you listen carefully you can hear the air coming out of a balloon ;-)

      2. kingszito says:

        Thanks James, these are the kind of corrections we need here so that people won’t be blaming someone wrongfully.

      3. Keith says:

        In reply,
        James Allen. Your point is correct, but Paddy Lowe would have been the final signature to sign off the design of the car, and therefore in the last couple of years as the TD, he should have known that it was going to work or not. He would also take the gory and the bullets if the final end product didn’t work. Hence my comments about the final package. I therefore question the profile that he has in some media pieces.

        Brawn, yes he isn’t per say a pure designer, but his work at Benetton and Ferrari was the one calling the racing strategy, and it worked a majority of the times. In fact one could say, he alone won a few races that looked certain to finish in the points, but not a win. Not everything worked, but his records shows a lot more wins than loss. Whereas at McLaren we have a lot of wrong called strategy, which is debated after the race, and one wonders why they have called or used that strategy. They appear on the surface to get a lot more wrong than right.

        I think it is right that there is this thing called a “McLaren Culture” within the company, and that a lot of things are done by committee, rather than a single person calling the shots. They win as a team and lose as a team, are what I remember Ron Dennis saying a few years back. To the outsider it does look like a very strict corporate culture, maybe not suitable to F1 racing.

        The Racing is changing, is McLaren

    2. Frique says:

      I get the general sentiment of your comment but I’m of the opinion that McLarens issues are a direct result of structure more than personnel. For me they are far too corporate in their set-up. Too structured in roles so their isn’t the flexibility to operate as at say RB, Lotus or even Ferrari. One gets the impression that racing is a means to an end so it facilitates a better spin, not the ultimate aim. Not dissimilar to Williams in that respect. IMO they appear to be more of a FTSE 100 than a racing team. Their management can appear to be quite disassociated with the operational side of things. Lots of waffle that leaves fans questioning what planet they’re on. Or maybe it’s just me:-)

      1. AuraF1 says:

        It’s true McLaren are the ultimate corporate jacket and tie organisation – but that’s almost entirely an enduring reflection of the personality of Ron Dennis. The strange thing is people decry Martin Whitmarsh and demand Ron return to bring the glory back to the team – but they also suggest that the ultra-rigid, OCD corporative strait-jacket of McLaren’s atmosphere is to blame – when that is entirely how Ron built the outfit and reflects his way of doing things.

        Since McLaren had a fair bit of success under Ron and Ron’s idea of how a racing company works – I’d suggest it’s probably down to very small details. If McLaren were producing dog after dog and not winning races year in and year out, then, yeah, I’d say it’s a cultural thing but I suspect given their ‘zero or hero’ ups and downs they are just making some small mistakes that expand over time.

        Though you are absolutely right that the Ron Dennis mentality doesn’t really look well upon changing course. There is a McLaren ‘attitude’ that once you have your plan you follow it regardless.

        In contrast Ferrari seem fairly rigid about having no plan whatsoever. Other than to hire in Lotus’ planner… ;)

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Brawn doesn’t put the numbers in either, he’s a coordinator too.

    4. Jonathan says:

      They don’t have on of the best wind tunnels – yet.

      They are currently using the old Toyota tunnel whilst their old one is replaced with something better.

      I reckon there are some engineers at Toyota that are having a very large influence on both ferrari and McLaren. ferrari went to pull rod front suspension last year and took quite a while to understand it. McLaren went that way this year and still have not got on top of it.

      Do they both think pull rod suspension (once understood) is fundamentally better for next year’s lower nose?

  11. Thomas in Adelaide says:

    Gosh I get tired of hearing that “both drivers are capable of scoring points”. What a banal phrase.

    As for McLaren, it’s almost unbelievable how badly they have botched the 2013 season.

    More unbelievable is the fact that the people making key decisions within the team have not been removed and replaced. I can only assume that their performances are being measured through financial metrics rather than what transpires on the track.

    1. Frique says:

      And in my response to the post before yours, I then scroll down to see you’ve summised my essay with your last sentence:-P
      “I can only assume that their performances are being measured through financial metrics rather than what transpires on the track.”


    2. Tim says:

      More unbelievable is the fact that the people making key decisions within the team have not been removed and replaced…

      With whom would you replace these key people?

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Didn’t Mercedes buy all the people making key decisions? ;)

    4. aveli says:

      ron dennis is in charge of mclarren, whitmarsh carries out his wishes. ron dennis cannot be removed from mclarren and he has worked with whitmarsh for a very long time to trust him with his baby. i cannot see him allowing anyone else to run mclaren unless he has known them as long or longer than he has known whitmarsh.

      1. Frique says:

        I think you might find Ron to be the chairman of McLaren Group and Martin CEO. So Martin runs the show. Chairman is a figure-head position. There was even talk he tried to fire Martin but couldn’t get the votes to do so. As I said before; structure not personnel.

      2. aveli says:

        you think very well but unfortunately, when hamilton was in contract negociation with ron dennis mid season in 2012, whitmarsh did have a say. he did what ron dennis asked him to. i will tell you again. ron dennis runs the mclaren f1 team becaue he built the team into what it is and finds it difficult to hand it over. whitmarsh is only the front man because he has known and worked with whitmarsh for a long time. he will not trust someone else to run the team. just like frank williams, he can only trust his own flesh and blood to run it when the going got tough. whitmarshes title is only for show.

  12. Timmay says:

    They should give him an ice cream so the Ice Man drives faster.

    1. F1Ray says:

      @Timmay. If you’re meaning McLaren should sign up Raikkonen, there lies a problem. McLaren are known to be a team that requires their drivers to perform many off track sponsorship/ promotional duties. Something that Raikkonen is not keen on doing. Whether McLaren would be prepared to reduce such duties and give Raikkonen a more free existence is debatable. Raikkonen’s last time at Mclaren was under Ron Dennis, whereas, it’s presently Whitmarsh, so maybe he would be more lax on such matters.

  13. Neshaen says:

    Although the season is not yet over – one can surely say that this has been a terrible season for McLaren. All teams go through ups and downs (some more than others). Lets hope they come good in 2014 and provide a challenge to the 4 top teams. All good for F1 at the end of the day.
    James – where can i order a copy of your book? I am based in South Africa and am a huge fan of your posts. Keep up the good work. Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      The 2013 book will be sold through this site with pre-orders starting in late October/early November, publication around 10 days after the Brazilian GP


  14. Erik says:

    Why oh why did they not revert to last year’s car after Australia…

    1. Random 79 says:

      No team is going to ditch tons of development on a new car after just one race, and a team like McLaren is not going to admit they made a mistake by scrapping the new car.

      Basically they knew they screwed up, but they were hoping to fix it before anyone really noticed.

      Say what you want about McLaren, but they’re optimists :)

      1. Jonathan says:


        Once upon a time the highly regarded Adrian Newey worked for them and penned the very tightly packaged MP4-19 if I remember correctly. This was in an era when it was common practice to race the previous year’s car for several races whilst the new one was developed on test tracks. That year the new McLaren was seen as very promising but fragile … and never raced.

        This year’s McLaren obviously has some ideas that must be understood as they will be fundamentally important for next year’s car.

      2. Erik says:

        And where has that optimism gotten them in the last 10 years? I’m a big fan of McLaren but boy, sometimes theyre their own worst enemy.

  15. Dave Deacon says:

    They’ve been working on the 2014 car all the time but just neglected to mention it. BTW to the JB detractors: 2nd rate drivers do not do Canada 2012 or Spa or out score LH over three seasons. The current car is bad – end of.

    1. Basil Binx says:

      Canads 2012 was probably one Button’s worst races for McLaren,a bad example to illustrate your point,most people will realise you mean Canada 2011. Although i really would have liked to see what Hamilton could have pulled off that race had they not collided. I think he was faster at the time.

      To be fair outscoring Hamilton isn’t a totally fair representation. Hamilton certainly made Button look like a 2nd rate driver on many occasions,more so than the opposite. USA 2012, Singapore 2012, Abu Dhabi 2012 spring to mind among other examples from previous seasons. Taking the fight to Vettel when no one else could get near.

      However, I still think Button is a very good driver,as good as the top guys on his day,but whether he has what it akes o be considered as one of he F1 Greats, I’m not so sure.

      1. Dragster says:

        I think he meant Canada 2011

  16. jmv says:

    McLaren where are you?

    The team only seems to make its mark in cartoon productions and driver commercials these days.

    “Scoring points” has become the regular expectation by team management.

    I never heard Ron Dennis say that “scoring points” was his expectation for every race.

    I miss those (somewhat arrogant and irritating) mantras of “we are the best”, “driven by perfection”, “we are only here to win”…

    That WAS McLaren.

  17. Edd says:

    I’ve been into F1 since 1992. In that time, McLaren has won 3 drivers’ and one constructors’ title. The team based at Enstone in its various guises has won 4 drivers’ and 3 constructors. Yes, Enstone had two of the modern great drivers (although one of them went to McLaren too) but is this really an accurate display of these two organisations’ relative engineering capabilites, or is it fair to say that McLaren has underachieved a bit?

    1. All revved-up says:

      Wow – what fantastic insight. And the Enstone boys did it on less money / smaller budget too.

      Perhaps Lotus will be a real challenger for the remaining year!

  18. Thompson says:

    It’s not the car that needs changing the car is like all McLarens over the past few seasons it just needs ‘switching on ‘.
    McLaren’s problems are the drivers . Why won’t they give Paffet a full race weekend or two , it makes no sense to me – he is the car ‘developer ‘ , he has driven DTM at the sharp end – ask Coultard or Hakkinon how hard that series is.. McLaren have a prime asset they can utilize yet just keep ploughing on going no where.

    The team have the data, they have the resources. They need to be firm, may even give theif current driver pair thekick up the backside they need.

    1. Thompson says:

      To add never understood why Paffett was never given the drive when Hamilton left in hindsight it makes more sense, than Perez.

  19. Dmitry says:

    McLaren always irritated me with their car-building policy.

    Since taking WCC crown with Mika in 1998 they kept blowing it year after year. Even considering that fact why did they produce MP4-28 (as it is) is totally unclear. I can’t simply believe they didn’t know how bad it is.
    Decision to go “pull rod” is also unclear – especially after witnessing Ferrari’s struggles at the beginning of last year. McLaren (despite all of their technical prowess) is not known to easily solve problems or implement solutions, which other teams had (blown diffuser, passive drs, flexible wings…)… they also have a rather poor record of similar “accidents” – MP4-19 for example (being replaced by MP4-19B midseason).
    Their explanation that evolution of MP4-27 was nearly impossible is ridiculous… with the same outcome they could have arrived in Australia with wooden log with 4 wheels attached – it has a maximum capacity for evolution…
    What bugs me the most was their stubbornness to stick to it, had they switched back to MP4-27 (in some “b” variant) they would have scored much more points. And we all know that “more points = more money”.
    One thing I know for sure now is that Lewis anticipated what Mp4-28 will turn to be, and he made the decision to switch (what’s the point to pull the team, if the team do everything not to move forward…).

    I really can’t believe I participated in Team McLaren membership program (for fans).

    1. Dmitry says:

      Small addition:
      I still have a soft spot for McLaren, that’s why what they are doing so saddens me.

  20. A Green says:

    I think the theory is that if, (big if…), they can learn how to make the front suspension on this years car work, it will give them aerodynamic advantages with the design of next years car.

    They must already be well down the road on that design and have made the assumption they will be able to utilise the pull rod suspension.

    This year is already a lost cause, but they have to keep banging their heads against that wall, or potentially face a major redesign of next years car as well.

    Of course if they do not learn how to make the suspension work, then next years car will be a dog as well…

    Another possibility for next year it would probably be sensible to avoid is to sack the staff who have half an idea how to make the suspension work and bring in new ones to start from scratch.

    1. Quade says:

      Word is, they’ve dumped the pull rod for next year. Its back to standard push rod in 2014. :(

  21. Logic says:

    It’s clear the drivers have bear some measure of responsibility: neither are known for extracting the maximum out of their car – paticularly Button’s well-known phrase ‘no grip, massive understeer/oversteer’ when the car is not 100% to his liking. What is interesting is how everyone forgets that last year, for 6 whole races, Button scored the lowest amount of points for a Mclaren driver for nearly 30 years. That’s also factoring in the new points system we’ve had since 2010. Nothing was wrong with his car as Hmailton’s performance showed – it was all set up. The worst being in Canada where Button was actually lapped in 16th while his teammate won the race. Again, how do we know the car’s true performance if you don’t have top drivers to measure it by?

    1. Scott D says:

      Add on 3 tenths for Hamilton’s qualifying pace relative to Button (and less during the race) and the car is still nowhere.

      Judging a driver on a six race performance is irrelevant, hence why people have forgotten it.

      Button was close enough to Hamilton over their three seasons together for us to know that the car is the problem here.

  22. aveli says:

    mclaren will be successful if they allow nature to run it’s course rather than trying to cheat nature. reality will always beat politics.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Don’t cheat nature. Right.

      Soooo…Button and Perez will be competing at Spa in the nuddy and on foot then?

      1. aveli says:

        only if that’s all you can come up with. sorry i can’t help you there.

      2. Random 79 says:

        No, that was just the best I could do without the risk of being modded too much ;)

        Seriously though, I just don’t get what you meant by McLaren will be successful if they allow nature to run it’s course.

        By doing that it seems like you think they should be hands off and let the car develop itself, but any team that does that in F1 is quickly left behind.

        A successful team like McLaren has to be aggressive, develop the car and sometimes take risks…it’s just that sometimes (like this year) it doesn’t really work like it’s supposed to.

      3. aveli says:

        i am so sorry for thinking that you understood that the natural objective of f1 is to place the best people in the right places for them to use the facilities to build the fastest car to win races with. it is well known that that mclaren technology centre is one of the best facilities in f1 and the mclaren team is one of the best but their results don’t show that because phill prew has his elbows out trying to be the team principal by convincing the team to allow him to manage both sides of the garage. that is unatural. all the teams have two garages competing with each other to get the best results. they lost hamilton because of that sort of politics. phill prew needs to work on one garage and allow another to work on the other and compare their results. they can only learn from each other.
        it’s extremely difficult to cheat nature.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Right, now I get what you’re on about and I agree.

        I have to say it would have worked much, much better if you had put all that before your original comment.

  23. RogerD says:

    Let’s hope McLaren doesn’t go missing for three or four years like the once dominant Williams did in 1998, 1999 & 2000 before they go their mojo back (briefly).

    It would be a shame to see another one of the teams on the grid with a unbroken F1 history going back more than a decades slip down the grid.

    Only Williams, McLaren and Ferrari are left of the teams that were around when F1 was more about the racing than the money. In a sport that moves so rapidly – constantly trashing the recent past with newer / better / lighter / faster – it’s cool to have the tinge of tradition these teams bring to the circus.

    I hope 2014 chucks it all in the air at the start of the season and we see some genuinely surprising podiums. Money will probably win in the end (Mercedes, RBR, Ferrari, McLaren) but I hope there’s scope for flashes of brilliance from elsewhere on the grid (including from Frank’s mob).

  24. Thabang says:

    McLaren are like the abusive husband that pummels me year after year, and I still go back. Love this team even though they throw away WCC and WDC (2000, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2012) frequently.

  25. All revved-up says:

    Webber’s McLaren comment! Another classic! Oh we will so miss his candour. It’s so refreshing to be free from political correctness all the time.

    “I think we had Mercedes covered at the Nurburgring,” Webber said. “Budapest; Lewis is very special at Budapest, there’s no driver that can really touch him there in my opinion. Whereas at some other tracks he’s not that strong, but in Budapest he’s very, very strong. He proved that in a s**tbox McLaren as well, so when he won in the McLaren he was very, very strong. He’s been quick there and he proved that again in the Merc; it was a good win for him.

    1. Random 79 says:


      Enjoy comments like these while they last :)

  26. Danny Almonte says:

    McLaren will be lucky to get a podium this season. They are on the same level as Force India at the moment.

    1. W Johnson says:

      Catching Ferrari for race pace.


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