McLaren gain more ground


For the critics of the Woking team, a good dose of humble pie being forced fed to Big Ron, is always worth watching. Yet McLaren are no Red Bull Racing; and Ron Dennis is no Dietrich Mateschitz/Christian Horner.

Yes, Big Ron has made mistakes but with just 1 constructors’ championship in the past 17 years, we never heard any threats that the Woking team will quit the sport unless their ‘cost-benefit’ algorithm concludes with a thumbs up.

McLaren have been the source of much amusement over the past months. Their on track lack of performance combined with a 1980’s Ferrari-esque reliability has led many to believe Big Ron and the team from Woking are about to have another year to forget – and probably before it really begins.

Yet in FP2 today, there was a much improved performance from the MP4-30/Honda combo.

Jenson Button was 8th in the distance completed table, with 29 laps under his belt and a 10th quickest time of 1:39:275. This was just 2.056 seconds off the pace of the fastest man – Lewis Hamilton.

FP2 is often more about long run simulations than fastest laps, yet the like for like comparison over the first three FP2 sessions of the season is worthy of note.

In Australia, the Jenson Button was the best placed McLaren in FP2 with just 21 laps and a gap to the quickest time set by Nico Rosberg of 3.690 seconds.

Then FP2 in Malaysia Fernando Alonso managed a best time, 2.716 seconds behind Hamilton who was quickest. Alonso clocked up 25 laps.

It may be crumbs of comfort for McLaren devotees, as their team languishes 9th in the constructors’ table at present, but the MP4-30 and its Honday 1.6l Turbo power unit is defiantly making good progress. Jenson was mixing it with the Sauber of Felipe Nasr today and was less than 0.5 seconds behind Danny Kvyat and Valterri Bottas.

Following the close of play on track, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso had this to say. “We don’t see ourselves in Q3.

“We were analysing the times and we know everybody uses a bit more power in qualifying and we won’t be doing that, so we’ll go back a bit, but Q2 is a real goal for this race.

“We are getting close to the midfield cars.

“We didn’t expect to take a big step forward here but it looks like we are still on the right path, so I’m doubly happy. I guess tomorrow will be a bit harder, but everything has gone as expected or even better.”

18 responses to “McLaren gain more ground

    • According to the FIA website, the 4th and 5th fastest drivers through the corners in Aus and Malaysia were the Mclaren drivers.

      Given that this was supposed to be their worst track (alongside Bahrain), I think we’ll see them score points come Spain. That track is all about peak aero and chassis efficiency…I think they will surprise people!

    • Exactly! I never doubted the chassis or the power of the engine. The problem is its reliability.

    • I expect McLaren to turn up strong when (well, pretty much if by now) Honda manages to dial the engine all the way up. Perhaps not strong enough to be in front of Merc and Ferrari by the end of this year, but pretty much stepping on their toes and trumping Williams and Red Bull in a direct tussle…

    • The MP4-30 is leaps and bounds better than the 29. How good it is compared to the rest of the field ? We probably won’t find that out until later in the season. I’ve viewed 2015 as more of a development year for McLaren Honda from the start, these power units are complex bits of engineering, we may found out just how tortured the Mercedes development was in the lead up to the 2014 season. The litmus test for McLaren Honda will be the MP4-31 and you’d hope a Honda Power unit that works fully hitting the ground running in 2016.

      Of course my inner McLaren fanboy is desperate for Honda to sort out the issues quickly and send a shock in F1 with Alonso or Jenson sticking it on pole. Better lock him back in his cage.

    • I do wonder how long this will last, but if he keeps it up, really will have to wonder about the current the Ferrari and Williams Drivers, cause we have a good yardstick in knowing Massa and Kimi were fairly evenly matched as team mates and, and about the same distance from Alonso. Also means perhaps Jensons Abililty will have to re-evaulated.

      But early days yet.

      • I’m no Jenson fan, but guy attracts disdain of his abilites like flies round the proverbial. I think sadly its more likely folks will start spouting that Alonso has ‘lost it’ since his crash or something, that actually give Jenson some due credit.

      • When the car is right, Jense can show even to Hamilton how to drive a car fast. And by all accounts, the McLaren chassis is a hit this year. (Still waiting for Honda to deliver some power…) In a good chassis, it would be expected for Jense to show the way to Fred. Especially since Fred is the emperor in a dog of a car. Otherwise, when the car is right up there, he falls inline with the average…

        • You actually can’t say the chasis is a hit this year, given that they have yet to run at full power. So until they’re able to do and put the full load through the chasis, it’s still up in the air as to how good it is.

          • Sure, it’s still wait and see with McLaren. But Sepang showed the same thing that pre-season testing showed: McLaren is mighty fast in the corners, not losing too much speed to the big boys. In this sense their chassis seems a step and a half up on the previous two years…

            Let’s see how it all settles in when (or if) Honda manages to dial the wick up a bit…

      • Surely 15 seasons is enough time to evaluate Jenson? 😛

        In 2000, he was the ‘second coming’.. the first of this current set of drivers. Also, in wet conditions, he’s one of the best if not the best ever.. his style is perfect for driving in the wet. Hence his number of wet wins vs Brawn wins…

  1. “Yes, Big Ron has made mistakes but with just 1 constructors’ championship in the past 17 years, we never heard any threats that the Woking team will quit the sport unless their ‘cost-benefit’ algorithm concludes with a thumbs up.”

    …and just to emphasize this point even further!

  2. They better harry up. This is the third season now, when McLaren is basically MIA. In 2013 they lost three positions in WDC relative to the previous season, finishing 5th. In 2014, shockingly, they finished 5th again, and despite having access to the best engine, their main competition seemed to be Force India. Now in 2015, we don’t even know if McLaren can score any points at all this season. It’s truly shocking how this once mighty team is fallen.

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