Former British powerhouse F1 squad McLaren has, for the second time in three seasons, finished sixth in the constructors’ standings for yet another disappointing campaign…
… despite its MCL33 starting the season with so much promise, care of a new partnership with French marque Renault.
SOUNDBITE (English) ZAK BROWN,
CEO, McLAREN RACING:
“Well, I think we’ve got a very good race car. I don’t think any of us will know the answer to that question until we get deep into testing, and really the start of the year in Australia.”
But, the car, and its ongoing development, was held back by a mysterious aerodynamic issue McLaren couldn’t find in the windtunnel until after the summer break in August, preventing it from building a B-spec car.
Two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso scored 50 of the 62-point total, while Stoffel Vandoorne floundered, outqualified in all 21 events, just 12 points his haul in a disappointing sophomore campaign.
2019 just has to be better, and help is on the way with former Toro Rosso technical director James Key now confirmed to take up the role sometime next year, alongside chief technical officer of aero, Peter Prodromou.
… while in the car will be two new drivers, as one of four teams in F1 with an all-new line-up in 2019.
Carlos Sainz will lead the charge, the Spaniard joining from Renault and has intimate knowledge of the French power unit, and four years of experience at the pinnacle of motorsport.
The 24-year-old will be paired with highly rated British rookie Lando Norris, who was Formula 2 runner-up last year and a multiple series champion in the junior categories before that, including European Formula 3.
It’s a long way back to the top for McLaren, after four disastrous years in the sport. It’s last race win now six years ago, with Jenson Button in 2012 at Interlagos… but the squad is making strides in the right direction.
Next year needs to be a glimmer of hope for a once-dominant squad that has been on its knees now for far too long.