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McLaren boss: “We will have larger budget in 2014 than any previous season”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Jan 2014   |  8:15 pm GMT  |  121 comments

McLaren has described 2014 as a “transitional year” and there is certainly a lot of change going on; with the management coup, which has seen Ron Dennis ousting Martin Whitmarsh as CEO and the departure of the F1 team’s title sponsor Vodafone after seven years.

It appears that there will be no new title sponsor announcement as part of Friday’s online car launch.

Although the team’s long term financial health looks positive, with Honda due to arrive in 2015 with free engines and significant subsidy, many in F1 circles are questioning what sort of budget the team will have in this transitional year and whether it will leave them lagging behind the powerhouse teams Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.

Speaking today McLaren MD Jonathan Neale said that, despite the loss of Vodafone, “McLaren Racing will have a larger operational budget available to it in 2014 than it’s had in any previous season in McLaren’s history.”

This, he says, will be achieved because the team’s shareholders (Baharaini investment group Mumtalakat, Mansour Ojjeh’s family and Dennis) are not expecting a profit or dividend on the 2014 turnover; in other words they have set the budget for the year at breakeven (or possibly even with shareholder subsidy, this is not clarified) so that the team can compete with the other benchmark teams.

The team slipped to 5th in the Constructors’ Championship, which will have hit them in terms of share of prizemoney from last year, however their payment from FOM based on historical success will still be significant. The teams share almost $700 million between them and it is very much loaded towards the top teams who have won championships.

Although Neale did not say so, sources close to the team have suggested that the bottom line difference for McLaren between paying for customer Mercedes engines in 2014 and getting free engines and funding from Honda in 2015 could be as much as $100 million.

Neale also said that McLaren had “pushed the limits” in the compliance with FIA crash tests, but he confirmed that they had now successfully passed them all in order to be able to participate in next week’s Jerez test.

He declined to comment on the implications of the Dennis takeover.

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121 Comments
  1. AuraF1 says:

    The great thing about this year is there really is nobody willing to be definite on where everyone will be – especially in the first fly always. Everyone at McLaren is sort of excited/terrified/baffled. Of course I don’t think we’ll see Caterham smashing the top 10 (unless half the field power trains explode) but nobody is really willing to place themselves as they don’t really know.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “Of course I don’t think we’ll see Caterham smashing the top 10″

      But, it would be good to see.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        It may even be possible if the prediction for total breakdowns comes to fruition.

  2. Quade says:

    Another season and best of luck to McLaren. Go like the wind and show ‘em who’s the daddy!

    1. Mauro says:

      Poor Mr Dennis , he should have retired a few years ago ,
      His ego is bigger than his eyes , not to many f1 fans like him but he’s back so let’s see… It’s going to be interesting for 2014 f1 and especially can McLaren get off the floor ! Forza Kimi per 2014 !!!

      1. chris says:

        What is it with ageist’s? Do you call peoples skin colour into question as well?

      2. Quade says:

        I don’t know what you mean by “not to many f1 fans like him.” I can tell you that love for him is real and sealed among McLaren fans.

        And as chris has mentioned, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with his age.

      3. aval says:

        Absolutely. Many many of us true McLaren fans have been championing the ‘bring back Ron’ campaign. He’s a true racer and shows true passion. It’s a great day.

      4. veeru says:

        martin was a nice guy. so is button. McLaren needs more than nice guys.

    2. JEZ Playense says:

      Now that would be a refreshing change after the last few seasons…

  3. Erik says:

    This is all good news at McLaren, can’t wait to see them in 2015… this year is a bit of a lottery for them, all of these key changes have come very late – Denis’ return for example. I bet you Ron’s speech to the staff at McLaren had some sort of spill about just looking respectable this year and balls to the wall next year.

    Honda will have to work very hard this year to compete with engines that will have 1 year’s on-track experience by 2015. Still think McLaren should have just paid out Merc’s engine contract and hit the track with Honda in this first turbo year.

    1. Ross Dixon says:

      I think Honda have a massive advantage. It was hondan not being ready for this year that has cause Mclaren to need Merc for another year. However Honda get to see how everyone is doing while their engines are homologated. Honda can see spec like power and make sure their engine beats it. I would say Mclaren long term look very strong

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        I don’t really see how Honda could have an advantage by looking at what happens on the track.. They will not know why engine X exploded or why engine Y seems more efficient. Only difference is that they will be able to put all their resources on the engine this year, but other teams have been working on the 2014 project with a substantive workforce for over 2 years.. I believe Honda has some serious catching up to do.

      2. chris says:

        Im not sure what there is to stop them rigging up the engine in an older car and giving it a bit of a thrashing. There must be something though as im sure the other teams would have done it already if there wasnt’ It must be a packaging thing

      3. AndyK says:

        I think you seriously underestimate Honda

    2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      You’re assuming Honda are ready now. If they were, no doubt McLaren would be using them in 2014.

    3. Jason Farmer says:

      I doubt that Ron Dennis would ever make a speach about respectability.

      The speaches I have heard from him are about being the best and pursuing excellence.

    4. Simmo says:

      Honda might not have been ready to do that in time for this year thought. Also, when Honda come in, they will and already have data from McLaren, which could be an advantage.

      1. Simmo says:

        *Though

      2. Joel says:

        It depends on what “data” you are talking about. I’m pretty sure Merc personnel will be watching like hawks anything related to the power train.
        The last thing Mcl or Honda will want is another spygate repeated again.

    5. Honda engine not far enough down the road yet to install in a car, prob not even fully built !

      1. Doug says:

        They fired up their engine in October 2013.
        Here’s a link…

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/110708

    6. Erik says:

      No doubt that the Honda engine’s lack of development is playing a part for it’s introduction in 2015 as opposed to this year. I’m sure the Mercedes contract is also a sticking point. Nevertheless a year away from competition can’t possibly yield Honda’s engineers as much knowledge as what the others will gain in real battle. I understand the points above but the facts will remain that the other engines will have a head start on Honda next year. Could the lateness of the Honda deal have been one of the nails in Whitmarsh’s coffin I wonder?..

  4. OJ says:

    I think that this is great news for Mclaren and Button. Button now has all the fundamentals in place to secure another world title or two which he richly deserves.

    As pointed out by many, these new regs will suit Button’s patient, methodical and tactical approach. He used this to great effect over the three years he partnered Hamilton – outpointing him and generally outperforming him. I’ve met many former Hamilton fans who are now Button fans, tired and sick of Hamilton’s excuses when he doesn’t perform.

    Button, in my view, has established himself as a top three driver – only Alonso and Vettel can be considered to be in Button’s league. These three are likely to win the 2014 title – but the one thing Button has over both Alonso and Vettel is that he is not afraid to race a competitive teammate whereas Alonso and Vettel both prefer compliant teammates. The no.2 Hamilton was allowed to compete with the no.1 Button and was definitely the best no.2 of the top three teams (Red Bull, Mclaren, Ferrari 2010-2012).

    Mclaren need to make sure they are reliable and consistent this year to ensure Button wins however. Mclaren’s incompetence in 2012 cost Button dearly, yet he was still outstanding in his performances and was recognised by Autosport (not fanboys, but expert commentators) as the best British driver in 2012.

    Here is the link proving this by the way to silence the Ham fans: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/104699

    Button, by the end of his career will go down as one of the all time greats, up there with the technical geniuses such as Prost. His technical ability, tyre management, controlled pace and extreme skill in the wet are second to none. Hopefully, things will fall into place with Honda-Mclaren combo, possibly alongside Ross Brawn, to bring Button’s overdue world titles.

    1. Tlux says:

      Button Top 3 Driver?!!??

      Bahahahahahaha

      He’s a great bloke for sure. But he’s not even top 5.
      Top 5 are Vettel, Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton, Rosberg. In that order.

    2. Ross Dixon says:

      I cant actually believe I just read that!!! I like button a huge amount but in no way is he close to being the 3rd best driver in F1. Also Button in general was miles off Lewis in qualifying. His raw pace just isnt there. Now not wanting to get into a button vs Lewis debate, I only bring this up to say that a driver in the top 3 would never be consistently 2tenths or more off the pace on low fuel against his team mate. Button will get destroyed by his Rookie team mate and then Ron will get him out of the team!!!

    3. D Vega says:

      In the words of John McEnroe, ” You cannot be serious!”

    4. KRB says:

      I’m beginning to think OJ that you’re not really a Button fan … a true fan wouldn’t splash about in the land of the ridiculous, to the extent you seemingly like to. Jenson would be embarrassed.

      If it is sarcasm, then it’s genius, considering how long you’ve kept in character, laying the groundwork.

    5. Foghorn Leghorn says:

      Genius.

    6. Leslie D'Amico says:

      Button!!! LOL

    7. CH says:

      Seriously? Are you on his payroll?

    8. Urko says:

      Do not be too thrilled cos Button might get what Alonso got in 2007;)

    9. Mike in NY says:

      You hit the nail on the proverbial head, OJ. Been saying this for years! I believe it was Sir Frank Williams that said of Jenson, upon his testing of an F1 car way back when, that he hasn’t seen a talent like his since Ayrton Senna. You don’t throw Senna name out there without knowing what you’re talking about.

      I love the fact as you point out, that Jenson went straight into the fire. I can only think of one other driver that has done that in the past 25 years, and that also was Senna when he went to challenge Prost. Button, went heal to toe with Hamilton and came out roses, in my estimation. Outpointing and outdriving him. Jenson is a complete pilot….there is no question. He should definitely go down as an all-time great.

    10. Jeff Ashcraft says:

      So Andy, let me ask you a question: “Are you a Button fan”?

      1. Aero.Racer says:

        +1 Made me laugh out loud

    11. PB says:

      I suppose you can keep dreaming and no one can stop you from doing so.

      Button is a good driver – there’s no doubt about that. But he’s not great. Certainly not in the same league as Alonso or Vettel. Open to debate whether Hamilton is better than him – I have my views…

    12. Doobs says:

      The main flaw Button has is if the car isn’t great, he can’t drive round it’s faults. That could be significant this season.

    13. Aadil Khota says:

      Um not quite

      Theres 1 massive problem Button faces

      His slow!his so slow i could push and F1 car faster then him!

      And a Top 3 driver? hahahahaha! thats flippin hilarious mate!
      Thats laughable!

      He barely beat Perez last year and Perez isnt even that fast and he out qualified Button 9 times.

      Imagine what Vettel would do too him in same team!He’l put Button into involuntary retirement lol! Vettel would end Buttons career!

      He got lucky in 2009 and unless Mclaren can give him another car thats 7 tenths faster then any thing else like 2009 he aint winning crap!

      Secondly he maybe a good driver but his no where near the Level of Vettel or Alonso or Hamilton or Raikkonen or Hulkenburg I don’t even think his better then Rosberg for that matter.

      His not even a top 6 or 7 driver let alone a top 3 driver hahahahaha!

      Now that Rons back in charge I honestly dont see Button Lasting beyond 2014 at Mclaren.

      Ron has always hired the best possible drivers he could get he always hired drivers based on outright talent!

      Seriously dude u quite funny!
      talking about being out touch with reality!

      1. Doug says:

        I think OJ is pretty much bang on the money with his initial post. It pains me to admit it as a Hamilton fan but the guy is WAY better than many people give him credit for. His main flaw is that his smooth style struggles to get temp. into the front tyres..really hurts him in quali.
        If you look at the circuits he tends to struggle at they tend to be the less abrasive ones.

        I agree with you Aadil that he lacks a little raw pace..he’s no Hamilton over one lap…but who is? If they gave points out on Saturday I’d say Jenson would be 6th or 7th, however, it’s Sunday that counts!
        I found your comment about him being ‘retired’ be Vettel amusing…are you forgetting the only man to pressure Vettel off the track in recent years is….oh yes…Jenson Button.

        When it comes to mental toughness, he’s the man, better than Vettel, Alsonso & way better than super fast Hamilton!

    14. Bryce says:

      What a lot of dribble, top three my ask (your mother for six pence).
      I am not a HAM supporter by the way, nor any other particular driver.

      1. Jamie Norman says:

        Bryce i’m a Button fan, but i think OJ is on a wind up.

        With the exception of Fisi and Schumacher Lite, he has outscored all his team mates over the time they have been together, no mean feat, they guy just hovers up points.BUT….. the reality is Button needs a car to his liking to perform magic, and this will always preclude him from being one of the top 3.

        I can’t think of any driver in history who is so fast when the car is perfect, possibly even the fastest on the grid (Even Brawn said this) and yet so far away when its not, possibly one of the slowest.

        As a Button fan, its so frustrating

    15. Michael says:

      I indeed wouldn’t be surprised to see a complete domination McLaren domination like in the Porst/Senna days. I think Ron Dennis is well aware of the potential, so he’ll do everything he can to make such a season happen again, and the same will go for Honda. Button is clever enough to make sure he’s driving that car.

    16. CG says:

      Hamilton v Button stats compared up to November 2012 to illustrate your hypothesis, taken from a certain well known and respected website not a million miles from here…

      Qualifying
      Faster qualifying time: Hamilton 44 / Button 14
      Poles: Hamilton 9 / Button 1
      Front rows: Hamilton: 23 / Button 9

      Races
      Wins: Hamilton 10 / Button 8
      Podiums: Hamilton 22 / Button 25
      Points finishes: Hamilton 45 / Button 47
      DNFs: Hamilton 13 / Button 8
      Best race result (inc DNFs): Hamilton 32 / Button 26
      Ahead in two-car finish: Hamilton 24 / Button 13

      Championship
      Overall points: Hamilton 657 / Button 672
      Seasons finished higher in standings: Hamilton 2 / Button 1
      Highest championship placing: Hamilton 4th (2010, 2012) / Button 2nd (2011)

      1. TimW says:

        and if you keep your Lewis blinkers on and read those stats through your Button tinted spectacles that’s a clear win for Jenson!

      2. Doug says:

        Pains me to admit it…but that’s how I read them! :-/

      3. TimW says:

        luckily for Lewis, Ross Brawn didn’t!

    17. Gudien says:

      Well said ‘OJ’.

      Now take your sedatives like a good boy.

    18. ReviLO says:

      Someone tell me this is a joke… Right…

    19. Simmo says:

      Just to make it clear so I’m not accused of hating; I’m a fan of both drivers (although I’d rather see Ferrari win).

      If anybody makes excuses, it’s Button. He constantly says that he had a bad setup, or the tyres were cold, no grip, no downforce or something, whereas if Hamilton does badly he says ‘I was slow’.

      Also, these regulations might not suit Button as much as Hamilton, as he likes a perfectly neutral car (hence why he doesn’t do well with no downforce), whereas Hamilton can go better with oversteer, which is how the cars will be.

      1. James Allen says:

        Please don’t use the H word here. It’s banned – Mod

      2. Bart says:

        Maybe Jenson knows how to set up a car better than Lewis?

      3. furstyferret says:

        Its amazing these button fans, if I remember in the 3 seasons together lewis takes it 2-1, and in the 2011 season it took a ham meltdown to achieve it, im not knocking button, when he hooks it up spa12 for example hes as quick as anyone, but they are rather rare events..

    20. Dave Deacon says:

      +1

    21. JEZ Playense says:

      Button is a good driver. A WDC winning driver. Not currently rated by many as on a par with the top 3 who are probably Vettel, Alonso & Raikkonen.

      Button was not much faster than Perez whose lack of speed caused him to be sacked.

    22. OJ
      This is the most amazing post I have read for a long time. It surely has brightened my day.

      Button in the top 3 and out performed Lewis? Wow.

      just a reminder, Hamilton fluffed it in only one season when he had private issues. Remember he was a boy then.

      I am still in stitches I tell ya.

    23. Elie says:

      My favourite quote from “The Castle”- “Tell him hes dreamin “.. OJ you deserve the flack your copping on this..

    24. Ange says:

      Ok, yes, Button is a very good driver, but he definitely is not included in the league of Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton when he’s on a good day!

    25. Joel says:

      So, by your own words, Button has NO excuses this year right?
      Hopefully you will hang around here when the rubber hits the road this season :)

  5. Andy says:

    Having a larger ‘operational budget’ in 2014 than in any previous season doesn’t mean anything without knowing what their other budgets are. As an example, what is their in season development budget, it could be a tenth of what it normally is.
    It sounds as if McLaren are trying to deflect attention away from the lack of a title sponsor.
    The one advantage McLaren has, as Williams, is that they have other business interests. It’s not the desired way of funding, but it helps.

    1. OffCourse says:

      Totally agree.

      Knew Vodafone were leaving for best part of a year and what one would assume is possibly the most marketable team in the UK cant get a title sponsor before the first wheels turn in 2014. Not getting a return on investment is not very sustainable. Lets hope it is a transition year.

    2. Joel says:

      Anyone know how much McL is paying Merc for the engine? Is the number per power unit or for the whole season?

      1. david nelson says:

        I read somewhere it is £8 million or maybe that’s Euros.

      2. david nelson says:

        Ooops…..that’s whole season……I hope!!!

  6. Aadil says:

    Well that’s great they have such a big budget!

    It will certainly have to make up for their drivers!

    Time will tell about Magnussen but I personally don’t rate him at all!

    In 2012 Magnussen and Frijns were both rookies in FR3.5 and Frijns not only became the FR3.5 champ he annihilated Magnussen!

    Last Magnussen won the title but so what? He beat a rookie that’s 2 or 3 years younger then him and he had a whole years more experience then Vandoorn!

    Not to mention Frijns won the title against far greater and more experienced competition in Bianchi & Bird!

    Vandoorns second place in FR3.5 is far more impressive if you ask me.

    Maybe Magnussen will be a good F1 driver!

    But I think Mclaren are clutching at straws if they think his the next Lewis Hamilton lol!

    Mclaren lost badly last year and they don’t have Lewis any more so out of utter desperation they dreaming that Magnussen will be their “Saviour”.

    As for Button I could probly push and F1 car faster then he can drive 1! :)

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “Time will tell about Magnussen but I personally don’t rate him at all!”

      …and if you were anyone important then people might take notice, but as it is…

      1. Joel says:

        I hope Magnussen performs well. But, I think Aadil made a pretty strong case for his statement. Most, if not all in this forum are none so important

    2. Doug says:

      :-D

      If they do well you’ll pull the ‘they had the fastest car’ card out of the pack!

      Good luck with your Guiness World record attempt at pushing that F1 car! ;-)

    3. Vlad says:

      Magnussen is actually very good. Don’t forget the importance of learning in your career (e.g. the Vettel vs Di Resta comparisons).
      Another very good Danish driver is Marco Sørensen who might get a drive at Lotus if the Crash Brothers injury themselves.

  7. Monza 71 says:

    Clearly Ron and his Directors are very serious about getting back to the top. Nothing less than I would have expected of them.

    There can be little doubt that with an extra year of uninhibited development, Honda will hit the ground running with one of, and probably THE most powerful power train on the block.

    After all, with an intimate knowledge of the McLaren car, they should be able to work out to the nearest horsepower what they need to outgun the Mercedes unit.

    The three power train manufacturers competing this season will have the output of their units fixed at the latest by mid season when any permitted improvements are incorporated.

    Honda should be able to carry on their development program until the end of the season, possibly longer.

    A significant advantage for McLaren for at least the first half of 2015 before the others are allowed to play catch up.

    Question is, will Ron keep Jenson after the end of 2014 ? I doubt it if there is a credible and proven alternative available.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “Honda will hit the ground running with one of, and probably THE most powerful power train on the block.”

      It won’t be allowed to be any more powerful than the other engines.

      1. Monza 71 says:

        As long as the Honda power train meets all the rules it will be allowed to compete.

        If Honda out-performs the other units in the field the others will be allowed to improve their engine to catch up.

        That could take half a season to achieve during which time McLaren will enjoy an advantage.

        This is no different to what we will see at the beginning of this season.

        If, as some people expect, the Mercedes is seen to be the class of the field the others will be playing catch up.

        Whoever has made the best job of developing their power train and it is reliable and the car and driver are well matched to it will win.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        “That could take half a season to achieve during which time McLaren will enjoy an advantage.”

        It could, and it would be like the advantage Brawn had with the double diffuser, but most seem to consider that button was an unworthy champion.

        But, I personally would like to see all engine restrictions lifted, as it is we may as well have a spec formula.

    2. JEZ Playense says:

      Don’t you think Jenson would be an ideal development #2?

      1. Monza 71 says:

        Sadly Jenson is not known for being able to get the best out of a car unless it’s set up perfectly. His age is against him as well.

        If his teammate turns out to be as good as McLaren think, it will be Jenson that leaves the team if there is a faster replacement available. Sad but probably true.

        I don’t think Ron will want Alonso and the feeling will be mutual !

        I suspect that Ron is chasing Ross Brawn to run the team and if he pulls that off he will go all out to get Lewis back.

        Don’t forget that it was working with Ross that attracted Lewis to Mercedes. Lewis’ management should have been clever enough to write a clause into the deal giving Lewis an option to leave if Ross is not running the Mercedes team.

        If so, Lewis is in the perfect position. He can see how the two cars go this year and Ron will have all the figures to compare both power trains.

        With the rumoured extra $100m available for 2015, paying both Lewis and Ross astronomical sums will not be a problem. ( Top salaries are likely to be outside any new resource restriction agreement ).

        If it looks a good bet, and Ross is there, my guess is Lewis will be back at Woking for 2015.

      2. Doug says:

        If Ron does get Ross it sets up a rather prophetic equation…

        Ross Brawn + Well developed car at cost of previous years car + No title sponsor + Jenson Button = ???

  8. Rich C says:

    Let the Cost Control Games begin.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      Resource Restriction Agreement?

    2. Matt says:

      Hunger Games reference – Approved!

    3. Vlad says:

      Yeah I wish they just put simple rules in place, and if one team develops a more powerful engine, so be it. None of this equalisation nonsense. Just race.

  9. goferet says:

    Oh yes, with the Ron Dennis take over, I see Mclaren have turned back the clock and so it’s back to the good old days of leaving no stone turned.

    Now, seeing as the team are calling 2014 a transition year, I suspect they aren’t aiming for gold but rather silver and bronze because Mclaren have been around the block enough times to know a fat budget alone can’t bring you glory as Toyota showed a couple of years ago.

    Am surprised nevertheless for considering the amount of time the team had to work on the 2014 car, I would have expected them to be very excited about the new season.

    As for the title sponsor, I guess it’s the marketability or connections of the drivers that pull in these mega companies and thus the reason why the team is lacking a title sponsor at the moment.

    All in all, the next few seasons are crucial for the team because with the emergence of powerhouses like Lotus, Red Bull and Mercedes, the team is no longer competiting against one rival in Ferrari and so there’s a danger it maybe reduced to scraping for bread crumbs especially so if the Honda engines turn out to be not very competitive.

    1. Timmay says:

      The Honda partnership will be critical to McLarens long term success. If it is like the 80s/90s – wonderful. If it is like Honda in the 00s – uh-oh… Likely to be something inbetween and the team will be on a slow decline.

  10. Tickety-boo says:

    Hmmm, a smidge concerning. They knew that Vodafone were exiting stage left some time ago and, not unsurprisingly with the pitiful 2013 season, Whitmarsh and his team have been unable to secure a title sponsor for 2015 – there is no way that the business so mature and smart as this waited until now to let Ron get back behind the desk – there is something more to the timing (as has been suggested in other posts on this forum). Furthermore, having a larger budget than previous years is a nonsense statement to make. If your budget is, say, 25% greater than the previous year but your development and operations costs have risen 30% because you’re now purchasing engines and you have a dog to re-invent rather than use as a basis, then you’ve just outstripped the perceived gain.
    Ron has a huge task to hand, the sooner Ross can join and stop the rot that set in 5 years ago the better; I can but hope that both he and Honda have a great plan (I’m sure that Ron has). The flip-side is that they have elected to have no title sponsor for this year as a 12 month contract did not appeal to major corporations – in stead it may be ‘Honda McLaren’ or ‘McLaren Honda’ in 2015 – that has a ring to it…

    1. Tickety-boo says:

      Whoops, “pitiful 2013 season, Whitmarsh and his team have been unable to secure a title sponsor for 2015″ should have read “sponsor for 2014″…

  11. Thompson says:

    Yes, alot of saber shaking and loud noises. People
    Forget the Kimi years under Dennis – very similar to the Hamilton years under whitmarsh – great talent wasted due to poor calls and operational issues.

    Rose tinted glasses me thinks, Macca fans really need to tread carefully. Not sure if Dennis is the massiah to take them to glory.

    1. Joel says:

      During those days McL battled with a very different Ferrari – the one with an unlimited budget and a test track to itself.
      Now, the field is flattened (relatively speaking) as you can see that there are more competitors to the front (although RBR seems to run away with the trophies)

  12. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    I’m not sure where certain fans are getting their information from to suggest that 2015 the partnership with Honda will lead to a turnaround. Instant success in F1 is unheard of. Instead it takes years of stability to work your way to the top and to stay there. Yet a McLaren we have frequent driver changes and now a new engine partner. In 2015 the other leading teams will be refining their designs and have improved reliabilty. McLaren will be trying to bed in a new engine supplier who has been out of the sport for a long time. They will also likely have the weakest driver line up amongst the top teams (not counting Lotus). I’m not sure how that is supposed to yield them a title.

    1. Dave P says:

      The reasons for believing Honda will bring success are sound.
      Paying for engines is a huge drain of cash that could be used elsewhere. Also being an engine customer means you get the second rate of development on engine software no matter what Mercedes says. Thirdly as the engine manufacturer will be designing the layout around the car,Honda can offer something to McLaren Mercedes neve will. This includes how the driveabilty of the car pans out. Finally, as somebody who works on Japanese equipment, I can testify that the Japanese always tend to use Japanese OEM equipment, e.g. Japanese bearings, fans etc.. The quality of Japanese parts is exceptional. Way better than European equivalents. This is why all Japanese goods are recognised as quality. So all in all a no brainer… Honda will provide the best powertrain.. after that its up to McLaren.

  13. deancassady says:

    I think McLaren will surprise, in more ways than one, by the end of the first race of the 2014 season.
    Best trajectory in 2013.
    There are obvious personel changes required, and I think Ron will make those changes (I’m not sure what is going to happen with Whitmarsh, but there are some others that must go, and Ron, I reckon, knows this better than Whitmarsh, who took many of them on).

  14. Tyler says:

    I for one was glad to see the door shut when Ron Dennis closed it… and now I can go back to what I did in the pre Whitmarsh years… despise Mclaren and its stuffy, pretentious, corporate, make-sure-your-sponsors-show-on-your-tv-jersey attitude….

    There’s got to be a team to hate in this soap opera and a Ron Dennis ran Mclaren is the epitome in my book.

    The fun that is F1!

  15. Krishna says:

    How on earth does it cost $100 million over the course of the year for 10 power units? Am I missing something here?

    1. Elie says:

      Yep there that much more expensive than the “old V8′s”. People hear are forgetting that Manufacturers spent something like €200m each to develop them over the last 2 years.

  16. Richard says:

    We have all said MW is a nice guy, end of. Now it is time for change and like it or not RD will push and push to get the team back to the top of the tree. If however he feels there is someone out there better qualified to do it, rest assured RD will get them on board what ever it costs!
    I have to say part of the above will not unfortunately include JB. He simply is not quick enough, that is not to say he is not quick but as long as there is a quicker driver out there RD will get them.

    1. Roger W says:

      Please list all quicker drivers that will be available for the 2015 season.

  17. Youngslinger says:

    No matter the budget, no matter the staff, until McLaren stop making the terrible pit lane strategy calls, nothing will change!

  18. Bigronslovechild says:

    Oh dear .. another transitional year tooling around in 9th/10th.

    A larger operational budget may be semantics, it may not actually transpose into a larger racing budget.

    Unfortunately Button is not a driver to wring a performance out of a dog of a car and Magnussen will be too inexeperienced to help develop the car.

    Such a shame, but the team went backwards when Ron was moved aside for Whitmarsh .. not sure Ron will have it in him to turn this around though .. I would love it if he could, but I feel they need to chase Ross Brawn and beg him to get into bed with McLaren

  19. aveli says:

    they should’ve done the right thing and won the drivers title in 2007.
    http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/08190

  20. Supersi says:

    It should be good when Mclaren get the Honda engines. They should have seen the alarm bells when Mercedes got their own team years ago. McLaren are rivals of Mercedes and they wont want to give them any extra in terms of engine performance than they have to.
    Honda is just what they need and with Honda not having to run an entire F1 team all they have to do is worry about the engines and leave the rest to Mclaren. I sense on of those great relationships in the making.
    Some advice to Honda is just make the units reliable because there is always scope to develop the nitty gritty’s. You cant work around an unreliable package.
    As for Mclaren maybe a change of colour scheme,
    -Victory red with an off white/cream?
    Should look tasty!
    All the best Mclaren Honda.

    1. AndyK says:

      Haha .. Instructing Honda to make something reliable is so patronising it’s almost like….. Instructing Honda to make something reliable

      1. Roger W says:

        I like your style !!

  21. James McNulty says:

    Transitional year?!

    I think they have built the 2014 car and have run the numbers and done some initial tests and its a dog like the 2013 car. I think this is what triggered Rons return.

    This latest announcement reaks to me of managing expectations on this basis.

    Transitional year = were still behind the development curve! Does this mean 2015 is a catch up year?

    1. James Allen says:

      If you are moving from Mercedes to Honda and inducting a rookie into your team that is a transitional year, in anyone’s books

      You may be right about the back story, but they were calling 2014 “transitional” -and so were most savvy pundits – for the last quarter of 2013 at least

      1. Roger W says:

        Transition
        Passage from one form, state, style, or place to another

        Evolution
        A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form

        Not sure which one applies to which year…

  22. macfan no1 says:

    mclaren signed perez expecting to get multi millions x 5years or so from the mexican mobile phone mogul. when that didn’t happen ,probably due to the bias that was obvious toward button in the team he wisely steered clear. mclaren hit the perez ejector seat to teach the mexicans a lesson. mclaren have to do something so bring back ron. things were good under ron.

    1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      Not sure who thought trying to teach the second richest man in the world was a good idea.

  23. Donald says:

    I actively like Whitmarsh, but what edged it for me was much earlier in the year, when he stated, possibly for effect, that McLaren wouldn’t give up on 2013. This was well into May/June, clearly after McLaren wouldn’t be anywhere near a title.

    The problem with that is that he was doing it I think to try and appease and motivate people that McLaren could still win a race that year. Fair enough, but the hard call would have been to do a Brawn and jack in 2013 much earlier. At that point, it might have been close with Force India for fifth, but it might have meant the difference between 3rd and 1st in 2014.

    I felt much better after McLaren sacked Perez, because it was the *hard* call; they angered a lot of Mexicans close to their home race, and they dropped a perfectly solid driver for the possibility of a rough diamond. That pleased me because it was a ballsy call; now I hear that it might really have been Ron driving that…

  24. Alistair Blevins says:

    I think McLaren have played a blinder.

    They will get Mercedes engines in 2014,widely regarded as having the most complete development of the new generation of power units.

    Then, next year (2015) they will return to Honda, which effectively puts $100m in their back pocket and will undoubtedly benefit from Honda spending a year working on their engine, and observing the trials and tribulations of 2014 from the sidelines.

    All under the watchful eye of Ron!

  25. Matt G says:

    I am a bit surprised by the lack of a title sponsor, and this may be why the shareholders have asked Ron to come back to CEO.

    Didn’t whitmarsh allude to an early december announcement for a new sponsor, then said they were going to hold off cause the sponsor wanted to make it some sort of event? And now nothing?

    http://gptoday.com/details/view/470678/F1_2013__McLaren_delay_announcing_2014_title_sponsor/

  26. Elie says:

    Why are people here so naive. We have the most complex rule changes in the history of F1 and people are surprised by the “largest operating budget” that Mclaren have ever had.. Heres something new for you I wont be surprised if most teams except Lotus have the highest operating budgets this year- Powertrain are much more expensive than ever, more people to unravel the rules, more money on new aero design, more money on extra in season testing, more Pirelli testing–Are we getting warmer..Slightly offset by less Wind tunnel time..
    Mclaren have money- they will just use more of it this year instead of Vodafones, less 2013 Prizemoney, . They need to Keep Up with the Joneses in 2014 and be ready for the Hondas next year.. So of course this is a restructure year and a transitional year… They have to fight on 2 fronts..similar to everyone last year!!.. Im really curious now whether Honda will somehow throw some investment R&D money in but just cant show its name yet till Mercedes leave the party !..Very interesting time coming up..

    As for Ron- Im not a fan neither Im sure are Raikkonen, Alonso, many staff and many fans. Reality is despite what you think of him. Mclaren was one of toughest teams under his charge whether it won or lost – you could always see it was capable of winning.. Somehow something was lost these last few years and no matter where you sat- you always had this uncertainty– didn’t you?..As for those still dreaming about Jenson- The only reason he succeeded is that he was clever enough to use Hamiltons experience at Mclaren/ setting up cars- to his benefit and winning the team over. Look what happened the minute they lost Hamilton- sure the team car went back- but even Perez was a match for him!. If a top line driver became available in 2015- Ron would hire him in a heart beat- that includes Lewis!!. But I think more significantly he will make Brawn an offer he cant refuse after the summer break.. And that might be the thing that attracts others back to Mclaren… Lets hope so Mclaren need some inspiration and I would like to be one of their biggest fans again

    1. Matt says:

      I agree with your first paragraph.

      But I seriously think people have rose-tinted glasses when they think about Ron. Yes, McLaren were competitive when he was in charge, but there were plenty of years where they weren’t.

      Not to mention F1 has gotten significantly tighter at the top with Red Bull’s stranglehold, Mercedes and Lotus’ emergence.

      Under Whitmarsh:
      2010 – annihilated by RB (Despite introducing the innovative F-Duct)

      2011 – Lewis has a midlife crisis and finish second to RB

      2012 – Ferrari and Alonso had an incredible season, McL destroyed by reliability and pit stop issues ( -1 to MW)

      And we all know how 2013 transpired. IMO MW has only had two bad years – the last two. Is that enough to bring Ron back in to turn the team around? Hardly.

      I think MW was an absolute credit to McLaren in his management of the F1 team; the real reason for Ron’s return may actually be that they need MW on the business side to focus on improving the sponsorship situation. It’s a change in priority not a sacking.

      Cold water really needs to be thrown on the Ross Brawn and Ron Dennis fantasy land. Ross and Ron are very, very similar people in that they demand absolute authority. We see how Ross reacted to Paddy’s introduction at Mercedes and a dilution to his absolute authority over the F1 operation.

      With Ron as CEO how on earth would Brawn be able to work at McL unfettered? This outcome is just as likely as a Vettel – Alonso partnership; pure fantasy.

      1. Elie says:

        The way Whitmarsh took to Button was just not right- he just seems so taken by the guy..when really he needed to play it right down the middle- especially given Lewis was their last wc. Operational failures whilst clearly not Martins fault- highlighted a team consistently making the same mistakes – which must reflect on their leadership, hiring people like Sam Michael- seems just like another waste..Sure Ron was not perfect but Mclaren had real drive and respect under his tenure Irrespective of winning or loosing. They defintely lost respect & in fact many fans ( self incl) under Martin because it was the Same mistakes! Oddly I like the guy more than Ron- and I hope he stays on at Mclaren or even a more senior role inF1. But he is not a strong team proncipal of that Im certain.
        Ross Brawn is exactly that AND exactly what Mclaren need. Ron has been there and done that and still has the group business to be concerned with. I think he is pragmatic enough to know if he gets someone like Brawn he has to leave him to run it. Otherwise he will be the chief decision maker and have a 2ic

      2. yellowbelly says:

        In 2011 Jenson finished runner up, Lewis finished in 5th place in the WDC.

  27. Ange says:

    Did they really have to get to the point of failing to secure sponsorship for 2014 to realise Martin Whitmarsh was doing things wrong?
    He lost a driver (Hamilton), a technical director (Lowe), hired a sporting director(Michael)that has failed to deliver in all previous teams he’s been to, hired a driver and then after one year sacked him because he failed to bring results (Perez), promoted (Goss) a new technical director and then hired a new designer (Morris), both of whom managed to built a car that failed its first FIA test!

    SURELY you had to have seen the signs before!!

  28. zombie says:

    James, any idea what top teams spend in a single season not including the driver salaries ? It was reported in the early 2000s Toyota was spending close to 400m$ per season, and Ferrari, BMW and Mclaren werent that far behind. In these years of recession recovery, are they still spending such obscene amount of money ?

  29. Giggles and grins – thanks to all for their “perspectives.” Made fora good morning’s reading.

    With all views, makes ya kinda want to put them all on a dart board and see which one can come out ahead and then wait 11 months to see what really happens!

  30. Kris says:

    I just hope the new regime is able to cut down on the mindless PR babble. It reached sickening lows in the last couple of years. With no title sponsor, let’s hope they won’t feel so compelled to buffer the horse’s behind quite so hard if/when it goes wrong again.

  31. Kris says:

    James, prior to this announcement, was there much speculation in the paddock as to who the contenders or interested parties were for the title sponsor? Is there any chance Honda will seek to put the Acura brand there from 2015 onwards? Surely, the chances of that have increased since it became clear how much Infiniti has benefitted from its tie-in with RBR.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, rumours of Gilette, Sony etc

      But if you think how Honda struggled to get sponsors for its F1 team and ended up doing the Earthdreams car ..

      1. Roger W says:

        Saga Insurance would be ideal…

      2. david nelson says:

        Yeah…Magnussen is getting on a bit.

  32. Steve w says:

    Where did The much touted Gillette branding go?!

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