Ron Dennis has made some bold predictions since his Woking based F1 racing team and Honda renewed their successful partnership of the late 1980’s and early 90’s. The latest this year was that it would be McLaren who ‘dethrone’ Mercedes from the pinnacle of Formula One.
“The 2017 regulations level the playing field and it is enough time for us to catch up with Honda, so I think we’ll have a good chance next year,” Dennis told the BBC’s Tom Clarkson following the Spanish GP.
“I think we can win races [in 2017]. I don’t want to predict world championships but I do feel that dethroning Mercedes-Benz is going to be a challenge for everybody and I have reason to genuinely believe we’ll get there before anybody else.”
Since that interview, McLaren Honda racked up their best result since their partnership with Honda resumed. Fernando scored 10 points with a P5 finish in Monaco whilst Jenson Button’s best result of the year was a P6 in Canada.
McLaren are currently 6th place in the F1 constructor championship table, just 3 points behind Toro Rosso. Given the form book over the past four races, it would appear it is a matter of time before overhaul the team from Faenza and move up to 6th place.
The big question is whether McLaren can in fact finish the season any higher than this with still 9 more races to go.
The F1 form book throughout July indicates Williams – currently P4 – are in free fall. They scored just 6 points in the past four races and it is questionable whether they can resolve their tyre issues before resources are finally switched completely to their 2017 car.
At their current rate of progress Williams could finish the season with as few as 109 points, which would set McLaren a target of 68 points from the remaining 9 F1 weekends to finish ahead of the team from Grove.
Force India have scored 75 points over the last 9 F1 outings, though the most recent results from the Hungarian and German GP’s was less impressive – a total of 8 points.
Whilst a continuation of Williams’ current woeful form is possible, it would be difficult to see Force India falling of a similar cliff – which McLaren would require for them to finish ahead of the Silverstone based squad.
So maybe the realistic expectations for Big Ron, Jenson and Fernando is P6 in the constructors’ championship – though if Williams fail again in Spa and Monza, both circuits where they are historically strong – then P5 is up for McLaren grabs too.
Now wouldn’t that be a turn up? Even in Big Ron’s books.
Current F1 constructor standings 2016