Well, if you were looking for the coming of a Mercedes-pummeling McLaren-Honda dynasty in 2015, you may as well just sit down and watch something else because you can consider the folks from Woking out of the hunt until at least May. Spain to be precise.
According to team director Eric Boullier, the reliability niggles and lack of testing has placed the team on their back foot and they are not going to be ready for the first race in Australia…that is to say, they don’t expect to show very well in the race.
“We will not be as ready as we would like but we will do our best,” said Boullier.
“We have covered most of the issues, and we have covered most of the systems.
“The positive is that everything is working as per design and plan.
“Reliability is still a concern and I don’t know how long it is going to take [to fix].
“We have some plans in place now, which has been drastically improved in both our organisations working together, and I think it will take a few races.
“But we should be ready by Europe to be more competitive.”
The fact is, McLaren look set to struggle with the same teething pains as the rest of the grid did in 2014…including themselves but now they get to do it two years on the trot with a new engine supply from Honda. It’s like Groundhog day for the team as they get ready to head off to Gobbler’s Knob in two weeks.
Now this is not a very good sign if you’ve already conceded the fly-away races but then again, I’m never one to be to down in the mouth about the folks from Woking. Fact is, they do know what they’re doing even if they can cloud the Alonso incident with verbosity and mush-mouth press releases. They’re smart folks and while Mercedes is trundling along like Oompa Loompa’s on crack, McLaren will eventually find a sweet spot with Honda and I’m not talking about the kind of “sweet spot” Matthew McConaughey apparently found while driving a Lincoln hybrid.
McLaren aren’t a bunch of pusillanimous nerds who can never find the strength to make a effective charge for the top. Their recent PR campaign to thwart rampant Alonso rumors was an example of them taking the bull by the horns even though, in this case, it was a cow and their efforts seemed slightly ham-fisted leaving them without milk or testicles but that’s neither here nor there. At least they tried to direct the narrative and who can fault them for that? Certainly not me.
McLaren are going to come back…mark my words. They will start a methodical progression toward the front and Honda will be a part of it if they can manage to avoid trying to participate in F1 via a committee. Truth is, Ron Dennis is a committee…a committee of one. Well, a committee of one and a white glove in which to find dust and debris on the desks of those who toil under his keen tutelage. It will take a person like Ron to get Honda’s head to look up from the noodling of details in order to see the grand picture and I suspect that will happen.
Both McLaren and Honda are very bright, effective organizations and while it saddens me that my outrageous expectations for a Mercedes-crippling debut from Woking in 2015 doesn’t seem to be in the cards, I can’t be too hard on the lovable boffins in Woking because my own team in Maranello seems to have fired everyone but the janitor and I suspect they’ll still struggle with mounting a serious charge against those wacky Mercedes folks. Don’t drive angry!
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT