McLaren #F1 Dream Team Assembled

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So, the white smoke is up and another bout of infighting within McLaren has been resolved – at least for now.

Fernando returns to the MTC to partner Jenson Button for 2015 and begins with a DNF on day one – as his microphone failed as the Spaniard was to answer his first question. Jenson’s contract was only finalised last night whilst Alonso’s was sometime earlier, both are on two year deals, and Dennis claims he ‘insisted on this’ for Jenson..

Magnussen Philosophical

This leaves Magnussen and Vandoorme out in the cold for 2015, unless as TJ13 reported was on the cards in June, McLaren complete the purchase of one of the grid back marker teams – which have since ceased to function. However, Ron Dennis made particular note of the fact that Honda will be playing an active role in nurturing young Formula One drivers for the future.

If just nine teams form the field for Formula One in 2015 – then all the driver seats are now accounted for.

2015 F1 Drivers and Teams

Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Red Bull – Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat

Williams – Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas

Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen

McLaren – Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button

Force India – Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez

Toro Rosso – Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr

Lotus – Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean

Sauber – Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson

Ron Dennis claimed the team’s decision had been delayed until the WMSC had met in Doha, and the possibility of three car teams for 2015 had been resolved. However, this meeting took place on December the third and further, Eric Boullier was categorical back in Monza when questioned about the likelihood of three car teams. “I don’t think we’ll go to eight teams and three cars per team next year and definitely not in such a short-term notice”.

Then in Singapore, the Frenchman stated, “The driver is the easiest to get on board, you know – the chassis and the logistics of the third car, the people around it, we would need about six months’ notice.”

The Doha meeting appears a convenient smokescreen.

untitledHowever, McLaren have cooled the idea of ‘investing’ in a customer team such as Manor GP or Caterham, until they receive the necessary reassurances the regulations will be relaxed. Despite grandiose ambitions – Haas F1 is in a similar position.

Despite the diversionary tactics from McLaren over selecting the right driver for the long term, TJ13 has consistently asserted there was never a decision to be made when choosing between Magnussen and Button. Since the summer break, Jenson scored 66 points to the Dane’s dismal 18. And without Kevin’s 18 point haul from his second place in Australia, he would have finished behind Raikkonen and ahead of only the Renault and Ferrari customer car team drivers.

This smokescreen has proven to have its worth though, Jenson dropped his pants publically in Austin as he declared he would significantly reduce his remuneration demands, to stay with the team from Woking. TJ13 has learned the British driver is guaranteed only around 20% of his previous contractual arrangement, though there is a performance related element which could see him earning similar amounts to those of 2014.

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Yet the big story is that Fernando has failed to influence Big Ron as to whom his team mate will be. When questioned in the Brazil FIA drivers’ press conference whether he would recommend Jenson as his team mate for 2015, the usually silky smooth tongued Spaniard – was lost for words – when a simple evasive response could have easily been made.

However, Ron Dennis surprisingly returned the matter of the division ridden 2007 season for McLaren, and apportioned a large amount of blame to Hamilton, highlighting his “immaturity”. Dennis believes, “If you go along the line of – who struck the first blow? – I would say Lewis had his role to play in starting this process that escalated”.

 

It was a season where McLaren literally threw away the championship – in a fashion maybe not seen before in Formula One history.

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A Previous Peter Pedromo Creation

Dennis claimed at the media event this morning, “I can safely say, therefore, that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team.”

However, Ron’s efforts have been extensive and his patience long suffering as driver after driver – including Hamilton and Vettel – have failed to succumb to the British Bulldog’s charms; no wonder he is clearly relieved, and McLaren like Ferrari will field two world champion drivers for 2015.

“Unfinished business” was how Dennis described the return of the Spanish prodigal son, though the more Machiavellian mind may wonder what exactly that could look like.

TJ13 has again been informed that there will be no addition sponsored name in the McLaren Team name entry for the FIA Formula One Season 2015. It will be McLaren Honda. This site revealed that no additional title sponsor would be added to the McLaren 2014 entry – this very week last year. And despite a number of ‘vague’ references to ‘sponsors’ made by Dennis and Boullier during the early part of the season – they were careful never to claim a ‘title’ sponsor was in the offing.

UntitledSo unlike Renualt, should McLaren and Honda succeed, the Japanese car manufacturer will receive the kind of attention, the French company has bemoaned it has lost to Infiniti.

“Domination” was another of the Dennis themes, as he sets the benchmark high for what has been a Formula One team dominating little but its own grid slot. Dennis also revealed that Jenson believes he can “kick Fernando Alonso’s ass”, and this pairing should certainly be better to watch than Ferrari’s 2014 offering.

TJ13 has leanred that mcLaren and Honda have been ‘working intensively together’ for over two years on creating the right synergy for chassis and engine, yet the pair have a bigger ask than did Mercedes in 2014, because the Mercedes customers have now had time to design better integrated chassis engine packages which will utilise more of the German PU than was possible for 2014.

Fernando appeared to sum matters up succinctly when he concluded, “We have time, hopes and the necessary resources. Let the legend return,” as he posed for a photograph standing in front of title winning McLaren cars of yesteryear.

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75 responses to “McLaren #F1 Dream Team Assembled

    • Like the 2 years that were left on Alsonso’s at Ferarri? Contracts aren’t worth anything these days. If they want him out next year he will be gone…

      • Yeah … it’s likely that Fernando’s is a 2+1 contract, while Button’s is a 2-1 contract, if yaknowhatimsayin’. Button will next season surpass Berger, Senna (tied with both of them currently, on 96 GPs), Prost and Hamilton in terms of GPs raced for McLaren. If he did stay on for 2 seasons, he’d surpass Hakkinen in 2016, and lie 2nd to only Coulthard in terms of longevity at McLaren. I can’t see him in there for 2016.

  1. Interesting that Big Ron claims to have insisted on a 2 year deal for Jenson. Perhaps it’s as a back up in case Alonso has a tantrum and walks after 12months in an attempt to get a seat at Mercedes. At least then McLaren would still have continuity with JB instead of possibly having to field 2 new drivers in the same season. I really hope JB can push Fernando, he has had it too easy at Ferrari with regards team mates.

    On a side note, I have everything crossed that the iconic red and white will make a comeback, maybe Alonso pushed for that in his negotiations so he could drive a car looking like Senna’s, who knows what Alonso has asked for/demanded…….

    • …Red and White looks set to return – so I’ve heard…. though the red will be more akin to the colour of the blood that has been let at Ferrari… 😉

    • The red and white livery was more a Marlboro livery than a McLaren one, even if a gold age might have happened with it on the cars.

      My guess is that the livery will be decided by the sponsors of the team, say Honda, or say Movistar if that materialises. I believe that keeping Jenson can also be influenced by a possible contract with Movistar, since the UK is a more interesting market for Telefónica (matrix of Movistar) instead of Denmark.

      Actually, last few days, while reading about the interest of Movistar, I was sure it was going to be Jenson.

    • One wonders if the sponsor that was the reason for the red and white design will again donate to the McLaren war chest. Maybe they are there already – invisible apart from their cheques and hospitality tents.

      If the red/white livery does make a comeback it will be interesting to see if McLaren try to get away with a Marlboro-esque design like Ferrari has done with their Scuderia logo. They could maybe say it’s paying homage to days gone by or something.

    • Has Alonso really had it easy ti with team mates, Massa was looking pretty good till he was paired up with Alonso, then everyone said he’d lost a little speed with the accident, which doesn’t appear to the case against Bottas. Everyone was raving about Kmi going against Alonso, with some wondering if we might see Alonso humbled (me included), instead Kimi was made to look pretty ordinary (and thats being polite) against Alonso, a driver the team was trying to get rid of.

      I do fear for Jense, but he handled himself well against Lewis and his head doesn’t drop too easily. I think Jenson will run Alonso closer than any of his past team mates, but beat him, no chance. Unless the back end of the car is planted and its well balanced. Ross Brawn Commented that in car Button likes, he’s one of the quickest drivers he’s ever seen.In which case we could see a rattled Alonso? On the flip side if the car is difficult, it might be a beating that made Kimi’s not look to bad.

      • 2017? I’d say Alonso will have something in his contract somewhere that will give him a chance to go to Mercedes in 2016.

        • And why would Mercedes want him, when like what many people have been saying, “Rosberg can do the job for 1/2 the price” and are we forgetting a certain guy called Bottas?

          This is more than likely Alonso’s last shot at winning a 3rd title, which is fading very fast.

          • They’d only need him if their advantage gets caught up and then they need extra from the driver.

            Considering it’s double Red Bull’s peak advantage (2011 EBD), they could easily wrap up both titles with Rosberg/Bottas, but Hamilton probably gives them the marketing outreach that they desire for the extra spend.

          • But if Alonso can get anywhere near them in a McLaren-Honda, he’ll do what Ricciardo did this year, split them, and then try and pick off Lewis through total consistency.

          • But Ricciardo didn’t get anywhere close to the Mercs to split them. The closest he finished to any of them was Monaco.

            As for Alonso picking anyone off through consistency, is just wishful thinking. Do you really think the McHonda will be anywhere close to a RedBull much less a Merc?

  2. The ‘Question of the Day’ is, moving forward, how will this news impact Mercedes AMG driver negotiations?

  3. “I can safely say, therefore, that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team.”

    So TEN times as good as Rosberg/Hamilton; Vettel/Raikkonen; Massa/Bottas ??

    Dennis also revealed that Jenson believes he can “kick Fernando Alonso’s ass”

    Most hubristic press conference ever ?

      • More Ronspeak:

        “We both want to win – and of course all the drivers, Jenson , Kevin want to win – but this is a different type of winning. This is winning which has never been so underlined. What do I mean by that, well, we all have more to prove than ever before.

        The press conference sounds an absolute doozy.

  4. I think Alonso wanted Button in the second car due to age factor – this is the most important thing. Alonso is 33 and won’t be better. Sooner or later he will start to decline because of his age and when that happens it’s always better to have in the second car a driver who is as old as you.

    • …which age correlates with hunger. There’s no way he would want a young hungry driver alongside him. He knows he wouldn’t be able to work as smoothly with such a driver and all pressure would be on him to ‘develop’ the car. Which is something Jenson experienced for the past 2 years and we saw how that went…

      Right now, Alonso can be a bit more relaxed with Jenson in the other car and there’s hope that they can work together smoothly, in a coordinated, mature fashion, to try and bring McLaren to the front. After that…who knows?!

      • Now that it’s out, how’s your wellness factor today Macca?
        Been getting the impression you’ve been a little off colour lately 🙂

  5. Slightly off topic Judge….

    Will Puma still be sponsoring Mercedes next season, now that Hugo Boss is onboard?

  6. If the driver/team line-up remains the same it’ll be interesting to see how it affects the season’s racing. The drivers seem more evenly matched – having lost 4 backmarkers – ditto the cars. That’s also 4 less competitors that aren’t going to crash/have a mechanical failure/ignore blue flags. Also making safety car deployment/double waved yellow flags less likely.
    Will these considerations – less traffic, a tighter field, etc., – alter team strategy for certain races, I wonder.
    What does anyone think? Will it lead to more risk-taking/overtaking, or less?

    • Well, there was a point there last season where I thought the SC boards stood for “Sutil Crashed”. So he’s out, but still Maldonado’s there for 2015, and in (one would assume) a more competitive car.

      Did Sauber ever get their car to the minimum weight limit? Their car just out-and-out stink-stank-stunk!!! Would like to see McLaren-Honda buy up a junior team (Manor?), to get more Honda engines out there for data collection.

      Which reminds me, Renault’s back to powering just two teams … same as their 2007-2010 period.

    • It’ll definitely be tighter, no cars falling off the back.. in time it’ll be 4 works teams Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull; 5 customer – Williams, Lotus, Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber. I could see Vandoorne/Magnussen being added to make a grid of 20, but 18 will survive, like 20 did in 2008/9.

  7. Another disastrous decision By Mclaren ,driven ultimately by the superficiality.Every driver decision they made since Lewis left have been some what emotional with a sense of hubrius .Ceco was suppose to be the next best thing,they even gave him a yellow helmet to prove his the next Lewis.That went boom.Kevin was really the next Lewis,they put some much pressure of expectation on the poor boy to emulate the legend Lewis,that he over drove,and that skewed his results.
    now we have 2 guys Alonso and Button,who were undisputed number one in there respective teams for the last 5yrs and achieved nil, and suddenly they going to turn Mclaren fortune around laughable.
    Thats a blood bath waiting to happen..the sumuri vs the snake.Just watch the British media turn against Alonso.

    well we dont have to worry about Mclaren mounting any challenge,with Alonso pulling in one direction and Button playing one upmanship,things are gonna go boom.
    What Mclaren lacked was leadership in the driver department,and that was evident by them breaking the bank to get Alonso. Retaining Button is just going to create a highly destructive political situation. unless Button is so desperate to stay in F1 that he has signed up to be Alonso number 2. and Its very doubtful that Alonso would have left Ferrari for Macca without a guaranteed number one status.Either way Button will not be compliant and will be doing what he does best,politiking to advance himself and not the team..this is gonna end badly

    • Despite the fact that ALO was sucked from Ferrari, I agree with you that it’s going to be a devastating under carpet bulldog fight. ALO vs BUT (both are political beasts), Dennis vs the rest of shareholders. Indeed it is going to be an exciting season for McL.

      • Get your popcorn ready : the Snake vs the Samuraï, it’s going to be pure Box-Office stuff. Whoever loses will be a sight to behold.

    • Both Alonso and Button have achieved incredible results in the past five years considering the mediocre cars that they often had. Alonso dragged his Ferrari car to the heights that the almost world champion Massa and a one time world champion Raikkonen could not even dream of. As for Button, he proved that he can stand his ground regardless of whether he is competing against a superstar driver like Hamilton or rising stars like Peres and Magnussen.

  8. I find it amazing how Ron brought to the discussion Lewis and put blame on him for 2007. Of course Lewis was immature and the boy didn’t want to be a compliant no 2 because he could clearly contest Alonso. But Ron unearthing all this history and trying to make Lewis ‘a key part’ of the implosion in between a Ron-Fred kiss-up, I find it astonishing and disappointing.
    Anyhow, he can paint it whichever way he wants, but the implosion really was due to him and Fred, simple as that.

    • Very disappointing in Ron,but it just shows how these guys see lewis,they unable to see his humanity.What they Ron and the media keeps calling Lewis immaturity,I see as relentless ambition and self belief.
      Imagine if Lewis had been compliant and be Alonso number 2,at what point would Alonso say this year Ill step aside for you.

      Lewis refusal to not be Alonso number 2,set the stage for his F1 carrier and made his reputation.

      we have seen this year that every time there was an incident like Monaco where Lewis refused to be cheated or bullied by speaking up to the media calls him immature and emotional.In contrasts you have number of journalist like Kevin Easton having new found respect for Rosberg for having the balls to pull that stunt.
      All in all it shows that Ron is still bitter at Lewis for leaving the team and not accepting his scolding of a pay cut.he is willing to for give Alonso for 100mill fine but Lewis…………

    • Could he be doing so as to get back at Lewis for his comments, that this title feels a whole lot better than 08’s?

      • Huh?!? Of course the team told him to stay out! Even when their Bridgestone tire rep was pleading for them to bring him in! If you’re saying Lewis should’ve told the team he was coming in, I’d like you to find another example of a rookie over-ruling their team’s strategy.

      • Sorry, posted too fast … didn’t get at first what your second bit was about. Mea culpa, carry on.

    • I don’t find it amazing at all.

      After all, it’s been a consistent topic wherever the subject of Alonso going back to McLaren has come up.
      And if you really listen to the Ronspeak –
      “If you go along the line of – who struck the first blow? – I would say Lewis had his role to play in starting this process that escalated”.
      – “had his role” is hardly assigning all or even most of the blame to Hamilton.

      Other than Button, I’m not particularly fond of the current senior players at McLaren, but dammit, I’m expecting them to provide some serious entertainment next year.
      And if they were just to pick that copper and black livery….

    • Don’t you know the current Golden Rule of F1?!? All discussion inevitably and inexorably turns towards Lewis.

      Of course he was immature, he was 22! Who knows why they felt the need to do that. Let the fools have their tartar sauce, I say!

  9. ” … “If you go along the line of – who struck the first blow? – I would say Lewis had his role to play in starting this process that escalated”. .. ”

    Of course he did. Ron and Fernando thought that this young “immature” Lewis would be a walkover, just like other rookies. Instead the got someone who:

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/statistics/2007-formula-1-season-statistics/

    “Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking year

    Lewis Hamilton broke or matched several records. He scored nine consecutive podiums in his first nine races, which also equalled the record for most consecutive podiums by a British driver also held by Jim Clark. In doing so he also set the record for the most consecutive points finishes from a debut race (nine).

    He equalled Jacques Villeneuve’s tally of victories in a debut season (four), became the youngest driver to lead the world championship and set the most pole positions for a rookie driver (six). His 12 front row starts was another record for a rookie.

    Hamilton scored the most points ever by a new F1 driver, and had the most podium finishes and led the most races. He led his first seven races, another record.

    He was also the only maiden Grand Prix winner in 2007, becoming the ninth driver to win in his first Grand Prix season. He won at his sixth attempt, a feat bettered by nine drivers: Giuseppi Farina, Giancarlo Baghetti, Juan Manuel Fangio, Tony Brooks, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Jacques Villeneuve, Jose Froilan Gonzalez and Clay Regazzoni.

    Hamilton spent the most laps in first position this year (321), followed by Felipe Massa (300), Kimi Raikkonen (212) and Fernando Alonso (203).

    At Japan he became the youngest driver to do the treble of pole position, win and fastest lap.

    But there is one final record he claimed that he will wish to forget. No one has ever had a 17 point or greater lead with two races remaining and then lost the championship.”

    • Also, here is an interview with Ecclestone (BE); when Dennis’ (RD) memory was still fresh:
      http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2010/7/10988.html
      ” Q: And Ron discovered Lewis Hamilton, whom you described a while ago as a real ‘gift’ for Formula One racing…
      BE: Discovered Lewis Hamilton? I think he was just lucky.
      RD: It was a far cry from being luck. It was part of our system. For a long time we have supported young talents at McLaren and Lewis was one of them. …..
      Q: What was the problem between Hamilton and Alonso?
      RD: It was very simple – Alonso didn’t expect Hamilton to be that competitive in his first year. He told me at the beginning that it was my decision to sign a rookie like Hamilton, but that it could cost me the constructors’ championship. Fernando was calculating everything, but not that Lewis would challenge him. That affected him massively. “

  10. Interesting snippet from James Allen’s report:
    Dennis added that the arrival of Peter Prodromou has given a “true north” reading on the aerodynamics of the McLaren 2014 car and confirming that the direction was “wrong”.

    • This, along with Alonso, is the key signing for me. Alonso may wish to drive pull rod suspension, but if he gets a car like the 2005 McLaren he’ll take it to Hamilton, that’s for sure, while Button challenges Rosberg for 3rd place. Rematch of 2007?

      Interesting that Honda/McLaren have been integrating chassis/engine much longer than most thought.. just like Mercedes for 2014.. at least McLaren had a plan while drastically off the pace last year, and this.

  11. I’m glad I’m not a McLaren fan. I liked Kevin, still think he looked worse than he was last year, and JB actually had an unusually motivated season, particularly later on.I also admire Alonso and JB’s individual talents, but I have no vested interest in any of it so I can genuinely enjoy this from outside for next year, which ever way it heads. Pop corn on standby!

    • JB dipped early, and so did McLaren after Australia, but now I am starting to think that weight limit played into it…. once things equalised, Button came back at Magnussen, and McLaren got back up the grid as they were in Australia.

  12. Caption for Ron’s barbershop photo:

    Ron: “Something for the weekend?”

    Fred: “A car I can win a race in, please.”

  13. How this might affect McLaren and the other F1 teams

    http://www.britcar24hr.co.uk/home/hm-government-issue-e-petition-mandatory-noise-complaint-waiver/

    Why haven’t I seen this mentioned on any of the F1 sites?

    The UK Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has released an extremely important e-petition designed to protect the motorsport industry in the UK.
    The petition is designed to introduce a mandatory noise complaint waiver for anyone who buys or rents a property close to motorsport venue.

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