McLaren: 3rd best chassis on grid…better than Ferrari

Honda have been mumbling about a new upgrade and possibly for Canada and some have suggested Monaco but regardless of when the manufacturer might spend a token or two, McLaren believe they have a good chance of doing well in Monte Carlo.

We were just discussing Honda’s power unit over here and I had wondered about the one thing we haven’t been discussing and that’s the chassis. If Honda do deliver more power and reliability, does McLaren have the chassis to make the most of it? Almost like clockwork, they answered my question via AUTOSPORT as racing director Eric Boullier said:

“Last year we were third, but close with Williams and Ferrari,” he said.

“Now it is Mercedes, Red Bull, ourselves, then Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Williams.

“They are clearly behind now.”

Point here is that McLaren think they will be in top 6 or 8 in Monaco due to their superior chassis which they feel is slightly better than Ferrari’s. Many believe the Toro Rosso chassis to be a thing of magic and yet McLaren’s Eric Boullier feels it’s behind their effort.

Does that seem logically to you? Last year there was much hand-wringing over Honda’s woeful lack of power and but some in the paddock suggested that even if they had a strong engine, the McLaren chassis wasn’t up to the task. Is it this year?

One thing I look for from a superior chassis design is how planted and balanced the car looks in medium speed corners and even slower corners on exit and entry. I look for performances such as Red Bull Racing’s in Spain where a deficit in power from an anemic Renault engine still couldn’t hobble the chassis enough to thwart a win. There are a lot of reasons for that win but suffice it to say, the chassis was a big one.

It’s a bit like a driver getting a car to finish in a place it doesn’t have a right to be in and I think the chassis can add to that equation when done properly. Have I seen any McLaren performances that have me thinking their chassis is the 3rd best on the grid? I haven’t looked at the numbers exhaustively but if I’m honest, I am not recalling anything in the first five races that have me convinced. I would say that I am more convinced of how good Toro Rosso’s chassis is at the moment given the performances so far this season.

Regardless, McLaren feel they have a better chassis than Ferrari and I guess we will see what happens in a week’s time.


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Richard Piers

Not like you to be so superficial in your judgements. Not sure how many figures are available to the world at large to be able to analyse objectively but a pretty good fist of it can be made from the aerial shots. The McLarens looked pretty good but the way the Red Bull sprinted away from the Ferrari on the exit of the last corner was very telling. I do not believe the Renault engine has been quite as lacking in grunt as is sometimes made out and also the way that Verstappen was able to put the power down… Read more »

Negative Camber

Hmmm…not sure about the current Renault hiding grunt. I think it’s a case of RBR finding more downforce. In Spain, it was the last corner that they had an advantage that prevented Kimi from closing the DRS deal. That can happen. Still think Ferrari were faster overall. McLaren doesn’t seem to have a better chassis than Ferrari but we do have to take this comment contextually as it applies to Monaco. Assumption here is that the principality will favor their chassis over Ferrari’s in a high downforce, low speed circuit. I wouldn’t argue so much with 6-8th but reliability has… Read more »

the Late Idi Armin

seems to me the only reason Mclaren is doing ok is cos Alonso is wringing the damn things neck to get any performance out of it


I wouldn’t really say that. I think Alonso is relaxing a bit until the car comes up to speed. He isn’t exactly handing it to Button this year.


I’m not convinced that thing is so great but even if it is it has to finish the race, and do a lot of other things McLaren are currently struggling with in order to show it.

But hey, go get em tigers, show us all we’re wrong.

charlie white

You gotta love Eric Boullier. He has replaced Ron Dennis as the quotable mouth-piece for McLaren. Right down to the slight backhanded insult to Ferrari. Easily my candidate for the Matt Bishop bravado award. Is the McLaren the 3rd best chassis out there? I don’t think so after watching 2 world champions wrestle that car around the track.


Let’s wait till the end of Monaco first.

charlie white

Why? Monaco is not the benchmark for such things. We just left Catalunya where the teams test annually and the McLarens were mid-pack behind others.

the truth hurts

idiotic comment asusual

Tim C.

Remember . . . Decorum and Civility please.

Admir Šehić

I think that Mr. Boullier has done an awful job of integrating engine with a chasis from the start. And I think that he is only defending his miserable product. This situation in Maclaren remindes me of that of Ferrari under Thombazis and Luca Marmorini.


The mclaren Chassis has been good for the past two years. Ferrari has Imo come out with a disappointing Chassis.


It used to be Realistic Ron, but if McLaren are saying they have the third best chassis on the grid, it might be that Delusional Dennis has taken over the team ;-)

Paul Riseborough

Not an entirely baseless claim given the Sector 3 times from the Spanish GP.