• Alonso has 4 engines left in 2016

    It’s a tough way to start your Bahrain Grand Prix weekend but McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will have a new engine already after the ICE used in the Australia was too damaged following a massive crash.

    “We have recovered the power unit from Fernando’s car used in Melbourne,” said Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda’s F1 boss.

    “After initial investigations, we are massively disappointed that the ICE and most of the surrounding parts have been heavily damaged, as the impact from the accident was just too great. We will be replacing the complete power unit in Bahrain.”

    With precious few engines for the entirety of the season, Fernando is already on the back foot this year. You have to hand it to his positive face in the press though:

    “Firstly, I’m very pleased to be heading to Bahrain after the crash in Australia. I’ve spent some time resting and I can’t wait to get back in the car,” he said.

    “Although on paper Melbourne wasn’t a great race for us, before the crash I’d been having some good battles and the car felt pretty promising, so I hope in Bahrain we can experience more of the same.

    “We’re still pushing to bring upgrades to each race, so providing we can get everything to the car in time we’ll be aiming to get as much track time as possible with the new chassis from the start of free practice.”

    He’s right though, he was running relatively well compared to last year’s performance and might possibly have scored points if not for the crash with Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez. Regardless, more challenges for McLaren Honda and only the second race into a 21-race season. As Sky points out, having 4 left is an issue considering they used 23 engines between drivers last season.

     

  • No further action over Alonso-Gutierrez Australian GP crash

    @Suttonimages

    The FIA have confirmed that there will be no further action following the dramatic crash between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez.

    Alonso clipped the left rear of Gutierrez’s Haas as the pair approached Turn 3 on lap 18 of the Australian Grand Prix, pitching his McLaren into the wall and then into an airborne barrel roll across the gravel trap.

    The Spaniard was able to clamber out, with Gutierrez immediately running over to check if the double world champion was okay.

    After the incident, Alonso placed no blame on the Mexican driver and later on the FIA stewards also concurred with that assessment, declaring – after examining video evidence and speaking to both men – that ‘no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame’.

  • McLaren launch car for 2016

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    McLaren's new F1 car for the 2016 seasonMcLaren have launched the car that they hope will be able to get them back up towards the front of the grid after years of disappointment.

    In 2015 they reunited with Honda in an attempt to match their previous era together in the 1980s with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

    However the complicated power unit struggled with reliability and power.

    It meant that team endured their worst ever season in more than 50 years.

    The team will be hoping that their 2016 creation will be able to get them back towards the sharp end of the grid.

    Their driver lineup will remain unchanged for the first time since 2012, with Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

    Button will take the MP4-31 out on its first drive in testing tomorrow.

    Over the past three seasons, the team have managed just two podiums, as many as Force India, compared to the 72 that Mercedes have achieved, 38 from Red Bull, 29 from Ferrari, 16 from Lotus and 13 from Williams

  • Capito new McLaren boss

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    McLaren have recruited former Volkswagen motorsport boss Jost Capito as the new overall head of their Formula 1 programme.

    The German, 57, will be appointed chief executive officer of McLaren Racing, reporting directly to chairman Ron Dennis.

    Capito will join at an unspecified date to be agreed between McLaren and VW.

    Jonathan Neale, who had been fulfilling that role following the sacking of Martin Whitmarsh in early 2014, has been moved out of the racing department.

    Neale will be chief operating officer of the McLaren Technology Group.

    McLaren are aiming to improve their form in 2016 after a dismal first season of their renewed relationship with engine partner Honda last year, in which they finished ninth of 10 teams in the championship.

    Despite having arguably the best driver line-up in F1 with former champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, their best result was a fifth place in the Hungarian Grand Prix by Alonso.

  • McLaren 2015 review

    McLaren had a average year in 2013 and an awful one in 2014, and remarkably 2015 was even worse.

    The season yielded the teams worst season in their 50 year history which was mainly down to their woeful power unit.

    The season was meant to be one of success, years of steady decline with a move to rekindle their former glory days by returning Honda.

    The Honda power unit has been disastrous, there is little doubt about that.

    At the start of the season, the team and various pundits all expected McLaren to bounce back by the second half of the season, if anything things at times got worse or stayed the same.

    The Honda PU massively lacked horsepower and whenever things looked hopeful it just gave up the ghost all together.

    The team had ten technical retirements across the season which is as many as they had over the previous four seasons combined.

    The optimism that world champions Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso expressed were all but dashed by the time the final chequered fag waved in Abu Dhabi.

    It was almost sad seeing these two great drivers being force to scrap over positions out of the points, struggling at times to make it out of Q1 and being overtaken as Alonso put it in Japan as though they were in “a GP2 car”.

    2016 has to be an improvement who else expect a swift departure from both Alonso and Button.

    We saw from Ferrari between 2014/15 that improvements can be made, but McLaren are in a worse position than Ferrari were at the end of 2014.

    More than two seconds has to be found in the PU and the chassis, and that is just to catch up to the front runners pace of last season, this years front runners will have found another second or two in their own cars.

    McLaren were seen as a mighty and powerful team, so dominant 20 years ago and regular race winners over the past decade, their torrid seasons are catching up with them financially and sooner or later something will have to give because struggling to even achieve points is unacceptable.

dd