McLaren have featured prominently in the news over the last couple of weeks and mostly, for all the wrong reasons. The team have struggled in the first test as well as the first day of the second test in Barcelona and that has led to a lot of speculation about their strained relationship with engine partner, Honda, as well as their overall program including the handling of their new MCL32 chassis.
The speculation in reports that the chassis has issues are not sitting well with race director Eric Boullier as he likens these reports to “fake news”.
“I read some comments [about handling difficulties in Turns 1/2/3] and they are a bit like [US President Donald] Trump’s ‘fake news’ – because it is not only chassis.
“Remember these engines are hybrid engines, which means when you are very early back on throttle you have electrical power which is on/off.
“And then you have a turbo as well at the back – so depending on your driveability there could also be some issues.
“We had some driveability issues, which means when you are back on the power you lose the back of the car so the car looks nervous. But there is nothing wrong.
“Driveability issues, old tyres, let’s say, warming up the tyres is not good enough.
“But still the car spec here is launch spec, we do try little bits, but we will not run the full spec. The full spec will be run in Australia.”
Unlike American political media coverage, I do believe that most of the focus on McLaren over the last few days is actually born from a core notion that people actually care about the team and it isn’t necessarily born from a nihilistic intent. Fans care about McLaren and their level of competitiveness. They want the team to do well even if McLaren isn’t their favorite team.
McLaren are a historic team in Formula 1 and its health and competitiveness are highly desired if only to unleash one of their most potent weapons—Fernando Alonso. The combination of McLaren and Honda mentally dusts off the memories of yesteryear and fans would like to see an F1 championship fought between Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren.
The chassis reports may be “Fake news” and Eric brings up a good point about drivability in corners if the engine isn’t on song but in the end, the news is there because fans care, not that they are intent on tearing McLaren down or fancy muckraking.
Hat Tip: Autosport