After countless clues growing more and more obvious as launch day drew closer, McLaren somewhat spoilt the surprise for the moment that they finally revealed a primarily orange MCL32. Despite many being sceptical of the livery, I’m a fan. Call it a Spyker, Arrows or Marussia, it’s a flash of colour on the 2017 grid and that should be welcomed.
McLaren will hope the new look can brighten up the mood at Woking following several seasons of woe. The once great team enter a critical season in 2017. They missed a trick at the last regulation change and need to be quick out of the blocks this time to avoid a repeat performance.
Don’t bet against this kind of McLaren resurgence this season. This is a new look team for 2017 and here’s why.
It’s surely sub-optimal and will most likely prove regrettable. “Ronspeak” has been a paddock phenomenon for decades, yet with today’s news that Ron Dennis has relinquished his role as McLaren Chairman, the Dennis Dictionary will no longer be required.
Sports fans love an underdog story. A tale where the most unlikely heros emerge and write headlines which will never be forgotten. Leicester City have managed to make these headlines, becoming Barclays Premier League Champions despite narrowly avoiding relegation from the division just 12 months ago. A phenomenal sporting achievement and one which will unquestionably go down as one of the greatest tales of underdog glory.
F1 has had plenty of it’s own unlikely victors over the years. Here are the top five F1 underdog success stories since the Premier League’s inception in 1992.
In a race which depicted Lewis Hamilton’s career of high’s and low’s, the Briton sealed a historic third world championship title in fine style, with a victory against the odds at COTA. Capitalizing on an unforced error by race leader Nico Rosberg, Hamilton led home a Mercedes one-two, while Sebastian Vettel recovered well from his midfield start to finish a close third. The latter looked to be in a prime position to snatch an unlikely victory at one point, as Safety Car’s prompted a race defined by strategic ebb and flow, with numerous momentum swings and lead changes.
A COTA classic – a spectacle worthy of being 2015’s match point in the battle to be champion of the world.
The reassembly of one of the sports most successful partnerships was meant to be the springboard that a struggling McLaren outfit needed to return to pre-eminence. While the first races on Honda’s return to the sport were always set to be filled with trials and tribulations, few could have predicted the extent of their troubles at the mid-way point of their first season in the V6 Hybrid era.
Just 17 points on the board, from ten races plagued by unreliability, the first half of the season has certainly been a character building experience.
Honda are certainly not unfamiliar with the pressure-cooker that is the Formula 1 paddock. Their struggles to adapt to life in the post-2014 formula has seen both them, and their partners at McLaren, face a barrage of difficult questions. This barrage has become more potent of late, as the team continue to languish towards the tail-end of the grid. While Honda have the resources and expertise required to win races and championships, such a turn-around will not simply be the work of a moment and McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier, has suggested that Honda should seek outside assistance. However, with such a proposition being a departure from typical practices at Honda, Boullier’s suggestions could be shelved.
Earlier this week, Kevin Magnussen sparked speculation regarding both his and the similarly McLaren-backed Stoffel Vandoorne’s future prospects, with the Dane admitting; “Stoffel is doing a good job – he deserves to be in F1. There’s something wrong if he doesn’t.” With Vandoorne carving a pre-eminent figure in GP2, leading the championship by a commanding 44 points, McLaren could find themselves making tough decisions this winter as they have too many drivers for too few spaces in the team.
“Will Vandoorne have an F1 drive for 2016,” was the question that I posed to my Twitter followers on Friday. As with all good debate questions, the complexity of the argument was evident in the responses.