McLaren began the season with quiet confidence, despite a disappointing 2018 in its rearview mirrors during which a mysterious aerodynamic issue made its car unresponsive to development.
And the loss of leading light 2-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, who earned 50 of McLaren’s 62 points… big shoes to fill for the incoming line-up, Carlos Sainz and rookie Lando Norris.
SOUNDBITE (English) ZAK BROWN,
CEO, McLAREN RACING:
“We’ve got a great new look with our race-car here, two new drivers for the first time in 12 years - and so we’re definitely ready for 2019, [and] very excited. [It] definitely feels like the next step in the [team] McLaren journey.”
And after six races, McLaren remains fourth in the constructors’ standings, 13 points up on Racing Point. It’s a sizeable gap compared with the rest of the midfield. Four points covering the next five places.
There’s no doubt that the Pat Fry-designed Renault-powered MCL34 is a tidy, well-balanced car, and showing up the works team, 17-points up on the squad with which it shares a power unit.
… and has race winner Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel.
But McLaren’s development is only going to accelerate, with its new team principal Andreas Seidl already providing clarity, and rated very highly by all those who worked with him at Porsche’s former LMP1 squad.
… and new technical director James Key formerly with Red Bull B-team Toro Rosso. An eminent designer with a new opportunity to shine.
All allied to true top-team facilities, care of the Norman Foster-designed McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England.
…where there’s still a huge pride in building race winning machinery, despite the fact its last being the MP4-27 that took victory in Brazil 2012.
SOUNDBITE (English) GIL DE FERRAN,
SPORTING DIRECTOR, McLAREN:
“Certainly there’s a feeling of accomplishment. If you look at this machine is a beautiful work of art that I think depicts really well McLaren’s capabilities not only the craftsmanship but the level of engineering that is going on behind it.”
It may now be seven years since McLaren won a Grand Prix, but it looks like the team is finally back on the road to success...