For complete honesty:- We’re McLaren fans, flag wavers in the stand, team members, the whole kit and caboodle. So it makes it even more interesting for us to write this preview.
Everything has changed at McLaren. Well nearly everything has felt the effects of a management change. On Feb 24th, we’ll see the new car launch and then we’ll start to have an idea of what sort of impact all the changes have made.
How will McLaren react to the new regulations? In days gone by they have faired well with reg changes – the Adrian Newey designed 1998 car was a high. But they haver also struggled – more recently being 2 seconds off the pace of the Mercedes cars with same engine.
Ask the team boss what he thinks and Eric Boullier says that McLaren have embraced some exciting changes.
There’s new stuff all over the shop for 2017. In a quick run down we have:
A new fuel deal with BP Castrol
McLaren supply the grid with standard engine sensors
Jost Capito leaving or being forced out pretty soon after he arrived
Dave Redding heading to Williams
Zac Brown being massively open to the media and letting the fans see inside the team
Non-performance wise we have some bigger news:
The mirror effect, the dull grey, the Marlboro colours are all consigned to the history vault and we are going to welcome back the Bruce McLaren colour scheme and have an orange car again.
The MP4 has been dropped to symbolise the departure of Project 4 and Ron to this year’s cars will be called MCL32
The team are trying to be more fan friendly and have not only created the TeamStream, but given their membership a spring clean and rebranded it the McLaren+
What does this all mean for the 2017 season?
Well despite the fact that we love the colour change and the more open approach of the team, they wont get us faster on the track. The BP Castrol deal could be seen in the lap times and so too will the aero department’s work on the new regs. Honda have improved the engine and are now looking to be in the first four teams instead of mid-pack.
The drivers seem fired up, Alonso reckons he’s better than ever and a fired up Fernando can be the difference between a good car and a race winning car. Stoffle thinks he can push Alonso and from what he did in GP2 and over in Japan, we think he’s going to be a pleasure to support.
What do we see happening on the grid? We don’t think the Honda engine will be matching the Mercedes power unit yet. So there’ s few tenths, but McLaren had one of the best designed cars last year and the car was clearly better than the engine, so if they can both improve, then…
Ah, we dream of cheering on a win. Remember Button in second in Austria? We really do.
The good times aren’t going to roll immediately, but McLaren should jump Force India and Williams this year. We’re predicting 4th in the Constructors and a few podiums, thanks mainly to outstanding driving and maybe a few random rain showers.