Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

The “difficult start” McLaren expected just got harder

2015 F1 season preview

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The team

When Mercedes made their return to Formula One as a full constructor in 2010 it seemed a question of when, not if, McLaren would have to find a new engine partner. McLaren is a team which expects to compete for championships, and one which knows power unit development is now of such paramount importance that being a second-string engine customer won’t cut it.

So in 2013 McLaren announced they would reunite with former engine supplier Honda – new inevitably provoked many to ask whether they could recreate the form which saw them dominate the late eighties and earlier nineties.

But McLaren and Honda face a very different challenge in today’s more tightly restricted Formula One. There will be no weeks of testing at Suzuka and no simultaneous development of different engine specifications to steal a march on the opposition.

How much development they can do has been proscribed by late changes to the rule book. And most of their testing has been conducted in public – a painful business at times, given how little the car ran on some days.

But their all-champion driver line-up is one way in which they already stand comparison with the beginning of the previous McLaren-Honda era.

The drivers

Alonso will not compete in the first race of the season due to the concussion he suffered in pre-season testing. Reserve Kevin Magnussen will substitute for him.

14. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Fernando Alonso’s return to McLaren is a marriage more of necessity than convenience. With bridges burned at Ferrari, and no route in at Mercedes or Red Bull, this was his best option.

Inevitably the media will scrutinise all parties for any sign the demons of 2007 may return. The difficulties of debugging both the Honda power unit and the unavoidable frustrations of a new partnership are more realistic causes of aggravation.

22. Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuito de Jerez, 2015Alonso shouldn’t necessarily expect an easier time from Button than he had from Hamilton eight years ago. After all, Button out-scored Hamilton over the course of their three years together as team mates.

But despite scoring the lion’s share of McLaren’s points last year, Button nearly lost his drive to newcomer Kevin Magnussen. That near-miss may have given him fresh impetus to raise his game.

The car

The ‘size zero’ phrase used by Ron Dennis to describe the ultra-tight packaging at the rear of the McLaren may have proved more accurate than he intended. Often used to refer to unhealthily thin supermodels, it seemed a doubly appropriate description as the MP4-30 repeatedly ground to a halt or spent hours in the garage in testing.

Shortly after racing director Eric Boullier said they had only completed half of their work load so far McLaren suffered another setback. Alonso spun into a wall at turn three of the Circuit de Catalunya and suffered concussion. Although he is uninjured, he will miss the start of the season.

There was considerable relief at the final test when Button managed over 100 laps on a single day. But the team knows it has more work to do than its rivals – and lacks the benefit of having a second team running the same power units.

“The lack of mileage means we won’t be as ready as we’d have liked,” Boullier admitted after testing finished, “but we can take away the positive that all the running and data gathering we’ve done have confirmed that we’re achieving the targets we set ourselves”.

Nonetheless he predicted it was “likely to be a difficult start to the season” for McLaren. Alonso’s injury means it just got harder.

Over to you

How competitive will the McLaren-Honda be at the start of the season – and the end of it? And will harmony reign between Alonso and Dennis?

Have your say in the comments.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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95 comments on “The “difficult start” McLaren expected just got harder”

  1. What ever happens, i hope McLaren gives the top teams a run for their money.

    1. @anakincarlos You mean become a top team again, which is who McLaren historically are?

      1. So was/is Williams, they spend the petter part of 10 years in the doldrums , Mclaren might be heading for a scimilar fate…or they might not.

        The paralleles are amazing though. Williams won championships, lost the Renault works deals and slipped back in the field. Same as McLaren after losing their works deal. Williams then got and old returnee motor supplier in BMW, as MClaren now have in Honda….. lets hope the Honda deal works out better in the long run than the BMW story, and Williams downfall will not be McLaren’s fate. But i fear that if the McLAren Honda doesn’t preform in the next three years, Honda might pull the plug, or look elsewhere, as did BMW.

        1. Even after McLaren lost works status they were very competitive in 2010 and 2012. In 2013 and 2014 their chassis was not up to par, but with recent acquisitions it stands that they will make up some of the deficit.

          On the Honda front, McLaren will be good for a number of years. Honda hs made it very clear that this is not a quick publicity stunt, but a long term commitment to F1. Of course that can change, but there is no reason to doubt that now.

          1. If I remember correctly, McLaren still had a preferential deal with Mercedes up to 2012, and only started to pay for their engines in 2013. That’s a lot of money they could invest into the car instead.

    2. This is a message to (evered7) and others on here who keep saying things which are not true.Of the 3 seasons that Both Hamilton and Button were together at Mclaren its 2-1 in Hamilton’s favor( check the tables for all 3 years).
      The only reason it merely looks like Button beat Hamilton is because of the amount of Mechanical failures, crashes , bad strategy and extra long pit stops that Hamilton kept getting at Mclaren, one of which was over 20 seconds.Also there was a race where Button crashed into the back of Hamilton, and thus cost Hamilton 25 winning points.
      Only a complete plonker would say that Button is any where near as good as Hamilton.Let us not forget that Mclaren really wanted to get rid of Button at the end of 2014, but they didn’t because Magnussen was equally crap.The only driver on Hamilton’s level is Alonso, but given time Riccardo will also join them both.

  2. I see the ultra-tight rear end mentioned a lot in the same breath as the issues that McLaren have had, yet I can’t see anything that has gone wrong which could reasonably be explained by the extreme packaging. I know it’s easy to look at its shocking proportions, and just assume that it’s going to cause a lot of problems, but people expected the same thing from the ultra-low Williams rear end and that never missed a beat.

    The issues for Mclaren seem to be more to do with electrics and seals failing, than things overheating. I guess it could still be to do with the packaging, but I would guard against automatically assuming that that’s the cause of the issues.

    1. Indeed, it’s not as if they’ve been cutting holes in panels to assist the cooling a la Red Bull last year…

    2. Seal and electrics failure can certainly be symptoms of things becoming too small: Small seals are weaker and thin wires are both subject to breaking from stress as well as higher resistance, making them burn if subjected to high currents (just because the engine didn’t overheat, it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been local overheats).

      But yeah, you are certainly right, it could be anything, and just because a design seems extreme, it doesn’t need to be it. After all, everything around the engine is new, not only the packaging.

    3. While it doesn’t seem like the ‘size zero’ packaging is actively causing many issues, having such tight packaging means that fixing issues is harder and takes longer. This has meant that even a relatively small electrical issue has often sidelined them from an entire day of testing, so the tight packaging very likely contributed to McLaren getting less mileage than they otherwise would have.

  3. After all, Button out-scored Hamilton over the course of their three years together as team mates.

    Why should you of all people, Keith Collantine, use this piece of meaningless information when talking about Jenson Button? It really is not necessary when talking about Jenson’s achievement or capabilities. The fact that so many people still feel the need to quote a statistic that does not stand up to any reasonable scrutiny when talking about Button highlights the need to scrape the barrel when mentioning his abilities. Never mind that the chap actually won a WDC.
    Methinks Keith just put this in to drum up some silly debate.

    1. @kbdavies

      a statistic that does not stand up to any reasonable scrutiny

      I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean but the numbers add up if you don’t believe me.

      Methinks Keith just put this in to drum up some silly debate.

      How was I supposed to know you’d get so upset about it?

      1. @keithcollantine It’s just one of those inflammatory statistics people like to get irate over. I felt nervous coming home from the pub after I pointed out, during one of Vettel’s heavier spells of dominance, that di Resta beat Vettel in F3 in 2006. One wonders how many exclamation marks are necessary once “SO WHY IS HE STRUGGLING TO BEAT SUTIL” has been angrily typed in capital letters. The virtual veil: both a blessing and a curse.

      2. I think the trouble is that people usually use that statistic to imply that Button was better over their time together, so people have become used to it provoking a reaction.

        1. It’s strange though that Keith is willing to ruin his credibility by subscribing to that idea.

      3. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean but the numbers add up if you don’t believe me.

        But it’s misleading. Hamilton out-scored Button two out of three years– You’re using a statistical anomaly to suggest a completely different outcome than what actually happened.

        Not really surprising, but it’s still an example of proving anything you want by abusing statistics.

        It’s the same kind of cold hard analysis that allows someone to claim that Hamilton isn’t that good a driver, because he “only” beat the guy who beat Michael Schumacher three years running. ;)

        1. But it’s misleading. Hamilton out-scored Button two out of three years– You’re using a statistical anomaly to suggest a completely different outcome than what actually happened.

          That’s not ‘misleading’, it’s just a different way of looking at it. (It’s not an ‘anomaly’ either, but I don’t wish to be dragged into semantics.)

          an example of proving anything you want by abusing statistics.

          If I were to take this statistic and say ‘this is definitive proof Button is a better driver than Hamilton’, that would constitute mis-using it. But I haven’t done that, so I’m at a loss to understand your reaction.

          1. That’s not ‘misleading’, it’s just a different way of looking at it. (It’s not an ‘anomaly’ either, but I don’t wish to be dragged into semantics.)

            In 8 seasons of F1 (and a few in the lower categories), Hamilton has been outscored by his teammate once– 2011. That’s why it’s anomalous. It doesn’t fit in with the rest of the data. There’s no semantics to argue– neither a linguist nor a statistician would disagree with the use of the word.

            I’m at a loss to understand your reaction.

            Yeah– That’s the problem. I’ll spell it out, and you still won’t understand. Hamilton scored more points, more poles, more wins than Button two out of three years– by most metrics, that would be “blown away”– but for Lewis Hamilton, it means he was “beaten at McLaren by Button”, because he had a truly awful season (by his own admission) in 2011.

            Most drivers would *love* to have a season with 3 wins, 1 pole, 3 fastest laps and 6 podiums– but for some people, it’s proof that Lewis Hamilton isn’t as good as everyone thinks he is.

            I don’t know if Hamilton is being held to an artificially higher standard, or, as I’ve suggested elsewhere, people are desperate to minimize his accomplishments– either way, it’s pretty strange that the best thing you can say about Button is to use a flawed comparison with Hamilton. Button’s performance at Brawn was much, much more impressive than his tenure at McLaren, with the exception of Canada 2011… which was just flat-out amazing (and was more than half the points he outscored Hamilton by).

          2. In 8 seasons of F1 (and a few in the lower categories), Hamilton has been outscored by his teammate once– 2011.

            I don’t disagree with that but I’m not talking about Hamilton, I’m talking about Button. I think that gets to the heart of our disagreement.

          3. I think the key thing to take away from that number is that, while Hamilton is consistently quicker in Qualy than Button in their time together, Button was not miles off him as a team-mate when it came to results as was expected when Button signed in late 2009. Jenson acquited himself well against one of the two quickest drivers on the grid (Alo and Ham) – Ros did likewise, but got dirty doing so. Jenson always has been fair in wheel-to-wheel racing and a good sport. Maybe not the quickest of the bunch, but can bring in the wins and points with the best of them. Yes, the results were skewed by a terrible 2011 for Hamilton, but Button was also not without his share of bad luck in their time together, and in 2011 as well.

      4. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean

        The point is that data regurgitation without data interpretation gives quantitative vomit. The goal of the drivers is to score the most points in a (single) season which leads to becoming champion. The drivers may take decisions in the context of one season which may adversely affect their final points score. For example, Singapore 2010, when Hamilton had his accident with Webber, what do you think was the more likely mindset:

        My three championship rivals are ahead in points and ahead on the track. I have to do something.

        or

        I’ll do nothing. I don’t want to lose points for my future x-year points comparison with Jenson

        ?

        Seasons are scored discretely and the points are not contiguous.

        The heirarchy of achievement in F1 is:

        Championship (for which you have to outscore your team mate in a season)
        Race Win
        Podium
        Points
        Wild Card: Pole Positions

        For World Champions in a World Championship calibre team, they are aiming for championships, which means the first requirement is to beat a team mate in a season. Therefore, the logical way to score it is Hamilton 2 seasons, Button 1 season.

        If the goal of a World Champion in a World Championship team is to score points, then 2013 and 2014 should be considered successful, no?

        In a tennis match, you can lose a match (7-6, 0-6, 7-6) despite winning more games (18-14) and more points. The ultimate aim is the match, to do so you need more sets. If a set isn’t achievable, i.e. 3-0, 4-0 down, it may be advisable to “give up” the set and focus on the next one. Therefore, you will lose some points which in the context of the match don’t mean much. In the F1 context, Hamilton wanted to be champion. Once it was unattainable in 2011, his performance level tanked for the season. There are other circumstances where Hamilton has droppped points like this in non-title winning positions. Monza 2009, he wouldn’t risk a third place on the last lap if he was going for a championship but once he is out of the running, why not?

        How do you separate drivers who win in different categories? I would say the higher it is on the heirarchy.

        Massa scored more points than Räikkönen in their 2007-2009 Ferrari stint but Kimi became a champion. Therefore, Kimi won for me.

        Senna and Prost both won a championship as team mates. Senna took more wins over the two years and Prost took more points. I see Senna as the winner.

        Kubica and Heidfeld scored roughly the same amount of points over their tenure together. Kubica got a victory which puts him ahead for me.

        Hamilton had more winning seasons and more wins than Button (which are higher up in the heirarchy list). Button got more podiums and more points. I see Hamilton as the winner.

        Especially for someone like Jenson Button who has achieved so much, he has been on the highest rung of the heirarchy chart I showed i.e. World Champion, it seems particularly odd to bring up the stat with Hamilton.

        If you want to present misleading data. It can be done. You might as well write:

        Jenson Button led the most succesful team in the history of F1 to both its championships.

        You could also write for the Red Bull article:

        Red Bull has had major success over its lifetime, having won 27% of the races they competed in. Although they have a way to go to catch Brawn (47%, 8 victories), Kurtis Kraft (42%, 5 victories) and Epperly (40%, 2 victories).

        Although the numbers add up, the sustained success of RBR (50 victories, 8 championships) may trump the fleeting successes of the other teams.

        At the end of the day, statistics are like bikinis, they show alot but hide the essentials.

        1. Well done. But the Senna/Prost comparo lets you down as Prost outscored Senna both times and most statisticians cobsider him the “winner” of that tussle.

      5. @keithcollantine Yes Button outscored Ham over 3 years yet finishing 2 of them behind Lewis and arguably much less troubled by exterior factors, that said JB time alongside Lewis is the most convicing time of his career even if that means being beaten again by a team-mate.

    2. I have a Lewis Hamilton poster in my locker just like most people, but that is just a fact.

      It’s also a fact that when Mercedes came to McLaren looking to poach a franchise driver, they didn’t fling down stacks of cash in front of Jenson Button.

      1. “I have a Lewis Hamilton poster in my locker just like most people, but that is just a fact.”

        What sort of statement is this? really…you statistically know and can prove that 51% (or more) of the population of the planet has a Hamilton poster in their locker? And you numbnut Hamster fans have the audacity to jump all over Keith about his alleged misuse of stats????

        1. I have a Hamilton poster on the ceiling above my bed, just like most people.

    3. Well said. It is an abstract and quite pointless statistic that amounts to nothing. Button’s defeat of Hamilton in 2011 should have been mentioned instead.

    4. It’s a relevant statistic, Hamilton was teammates to both of them at McLaren, over the duration of which Button outperformed Alonso relatively (if you just look at total points scored). Obviously there were circumstances that fell in Button’s favour in that time, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he could beat Alonso in a similar fashion.

      At the very least it shows that Button wasn’t blown away by Hamilton, which is what most people were expecting when he went there.

      1. @george

        it shows that Button wasn’t blown away by Hamilton, which is what most people were expecting when he went there.

        Exactly.

  4. And now with Alonso out, even harder still, because the car may have a dangerous electrical problem.
    Their is a recent Sky Italia article that just came out, the F1 broadcaster, claims the Spanish driver has confided to close friends and family that he suffered a “major shock in his spine” before losing control of his McLaren-Honda and striking the Barcelona wall.

    The broadcaster made clear that Alonso did not say specifically that he was electrocuted, but the report adds weight to the theory that there is more than meets the eye to the controversial crash saga.

    Fabrizio Barbazza, an Italian who had a brief F1 career in the early 90s, is quoted by La Repubblica newspaper: “Fernando took a 600 watt hit with serious consequences.

    “Difficulty focusing and temporary obstruction of the veins.”

    1. @geo Stop with that nonsense, please.

      First, the Sky Italia article was proven to be mistranslated (a “shock” doesn’t equal an “electric shock”).

      Secondly the team confirmed the car didn’t have any issues.

      Third, it would be impossible for a car to shock a driver in that way.

      Seriously, please stop posting that nonsense.

    2. I just can’t see McLaren hiding such serious issue. Can’t deny the whole saga is confusing but that theory is a bit rich.

    3. Because – Fabrizio Barbazza, an Italian who had a brief F1 career in the early 90s – would be the one person who would know exactly what happened to Alonso of course

      1. “The broadcaster made clear that Alonso did not say specifically that he was electrocuted”

        “Fernando took a 600 watt hit with serious consequences.”

        Just make it up as you go along so enough people will be taken in and buy your gossip rag

        1. “600 watts”? That seems a strange term. Yes, watts is power, but … if 600 watts was discharged through Alonso, then he’d be dead. But how do they know it was 600 watts? To know that you have to know the voltage applied to his body and the current that was discharged through it. Current is what kills a person. I think anything above about 50 mA is death, so 200 volts x 3 amp = 600 watts = dead.
          It may well be Alonso suffered an electric shock, and I don’t doubt it could happen, but … on his back? Okay, so that means the “seat” is made from conductive metal, and that underneath this are live wires, but then you’d need some other part of his body to complete the circuit, e.g his hands on the steering wheel. So maybe with sweat formed a conductive path for electricity between the seat and his body, but these live wires aren’t bare, they should be insulated, and if there was a conductive path formed between the live wires and any part of the chassis then a fuse / circuit breaker should have blown / activated. So bare high voltage wires, no circuit breakers: this is a health and safety nightmare!
          The simple fact is it should be impossible (or near as is practical) for Alonso to get an electric shock. If he did, and this wasn’t in a crash situation, then that suggests a serious compromise of basic electrical standards. If so, I don’t think this McLaren car would be allowed to race in most of the countries on the calendar because it wouldn’t comply with their particular electrical safety standards. Their electrical inspectors would refuse to certify this car as safe.
          I think it is time for McLaren to cough up with what really happened because it is plainly obvious that whatever happened suggests a major compromise of basic safety standards, and that this car wouldn’t be allowed to be turned on in most countries in the world, let alone be raced.

    4. @geo How is Barbazza, who has no connections to McLaren, supposed to have obtained this information?

      1. He’s got a 1.21 gigawatt crystal ball?

        1. @dr.emmettbrown
          Source plz :)

    5. 600 watts? lol that’s a very accurate reading. Because if there really was a shock it’s pretty much impossible to measure exactly the electric current going trough someone’s body (watts=current*voltage).
      To me it sounds (yet again) like someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  5. The problem with McLaren is that, for the last couple of years, they haven’t showed the capability to improve significantly over the season (unlike, let’s say, RBR). Even in 2012, their best year since 2008, they weren’t able to make the car reliable enough in the last third of the season, losing to a slower Ferrari. So it’s really difficult to imagine such an atrocious start, plus the (evident) lack of expertise of Honda at the moment, being compensated by in-season development.

    Even if they solve the reliability, it still leaves the problem of speed. The “size zero”-thing sounds more like a marketing buzzword at this point, with some people claiming it will be the magical solution to all McLaren’s problems “once they solve the reliability”. And if it doesn’t?

    I expect a hard season, not only a hard start.

    1. @Dante – The “size zero” thing is exactly that, a marketing buzzword which when translated means Redbull copy.

  6. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    4th March 2015, 13:42

    I still think we are very much in the dark with Honda’s PU. After fault after fault they suffered in testing, I doubt they really wanted to push the engine to its limits, but rather get the car doing a mediocre bunch of laps at best. From everything I’ve seen, heard and read, I see no reason why Honda’s PU can’t match Mercedes’ PU by the halfway mark. If that size zero chassis delivers like people think it should do, at this stage they seem like the only team that have the potential to realistically challenge Mercedes.

  7. I really think Honda and McLaren have taken the right approach to the season. They’ve taken a lot of risks and they needed to.

    They’ve homologated an engine that has reliability issues, but that means they can make it reliable without costing any tokens under the rules which allow changes for reliability. Aggressive is exactly what they need to reverse their decline and get back to the sharp end.

    Come the end of the season, I think they will be the second fastest team. But they will endure a lot of pain before that.

    1. agree with you 100% I think they did take the high road and go aggressive, as many have said, its easier to make a fast car reliable ten a reliable car fast. And i DO tihnk they understand the rules in a sense that they can do what they want throughout the year if its not reliable. The couldn’t really do much (only tokens based on average of other teams) if their car WAS reliable.

      So go aggressive, fight through to get it reliable and you’ll be up their wit the merc in no time.

  8. How anyone can think McLaren can possibly challenge Mercedes or even be the 2nd fastest team by the end of the year is beyond me. They have not yet solved reliability, talk less of chasing performance or developing aero.
    I predicted McLaren to have their worst year ever, and i was roundly denounced for it. I will eat my Son’s 15″ Beymax toy and post the video on YouTube if i am wrong. You heard it here first! :-)

    1. you’ll be eating your words by mid season…

      1. No ! He said he’ll be eating Beymax ?
        Which is impossible ! @kbdavies

        Beymax won’t let you harm yourself , and besides all that fluffy marshmallow exterior , beymax has a core of titanium , so unless you got industrial diamond teeth you ain’t eating squat ,

        Also your kid will be most upset you ate his toy ,

        Agh, another quality post ;)

    2. We simply don’t know. There’s not enough information. We know the Honda unit hasn’t run at full power, we know McLaren haven’t gotten the laps in. We also know they have Red Bull’s former aerodynamicist, and we know Honda can make gasoline go boom.

      Whether that adds up to a car that’s faster than Mercedes, we have no idea.

  9. From what I’ve seen in testing, and with the driver line up they have I think they will win a race, possibly two later this year. Can’t wait to come back to this comment in a year’s time and eat humble pie though :)

  10. After all, Button out-scored Hamilton

    Keith are you serious about this ?, seriously ?. Mate stop it.

    1. @concalvez00 Facts are facts. Nothing wrong with it, mate.

      1. It’s possible to stick to the facts and yet be completely oblivious to what is actually happening.
        It is true that Button outscored Hamilton. But that’s only relevant if you think that the circumstances will be comparable, i.e. Alonso going on a rampage Hamilton-2011-style or suffering repeated unevenly distributed technical failure while looking set to win (Hamilton-2012-style). If you expect all that to happen, then that fact is relevant.
        But if you don’t think that Alonso will do stupid things on a regular basis, a different consideration becomes relevant:
        Was Button as fast as Hamilton? The answer to that is: No, only rarely so. Most of the time, he was outpaced by Hamilton, often significantly.

        Long story short: The fact that a fact is a fact doesn’t mean that it has to mean anything.

        1. Be careful about providing claims not based on any facts at all!

          Was Button as fast as Hamilton? The answer to that is: No, only rarely so.

          How about Button getting 25 podiums to Lewis’ 22 during that time? Also meaningless?

          My twopence: Lewis races faster, Jenson races smarter.

          1. Do I have do reiterate? The naked statistics say: Buttons scored more points (and, even less significantly, podiums) than Hamilton.
            And again: The reason for that is not Button being a better, much less quicker, racing driver than Hamilton, but instead a very, very bad phase by the latter, plus some very bad luck that spared Button. Yes, Button raced smarter in their years as team mates. But that’s easy to say, since Lewis’s driving was anything but smart.

            And let’s not forget why we are discussing this: Because Button is going to compete against Alonso. Has the Spaniard ever been accused of thoughtless, stupid driving? Not by anyone who is taken seriously.
            That’s why this fact is absolutely weightless when mentioned in the context of Button vs. Alonso.

      2. It’s not a fact. Button outscored Hamilton one out of three years, and the points spread for that year was enough to “tilt” the points balance in his favor over three years– but it’s a very misleading “fact”, since it implies the opposite of what actually happened.

    2. Hamilton fans have no problem going around saying he beat Alonso in his first year even though they finished on the same points. But can’t take a fact that Button outscored Hamilton during the time they were in the team together. Childish!

      1. Add to that that Alonso finished ahead of Hamilton 9:6 times in 2007. Yeah, it’s complicated.
        Still, the problem with Button outscoring Hamilton is not that it didn’t happen, but rather that this fact is meaningless for the comparison of Alonso and Button. See here.

      2. Hamilton had more 2nd place finishes, so the tie-breaker (had it been relevant) would have given Hamilton the championship. So in terms of the World Driver’s Championship, Hamilton finished higher up the list than Alonso. It’s why he’s listed as “2nd” instead of “tied for 2nd”.

      3. A driver ‘B’ who was expected to be soundly beaten by his team mate ‘H’, ends up scoring more points than him at the end of their pairing.

        It implies at the basic of understanding, that ‘B’ was not thrashed by ‘H’. Going deeper, it means ‘B’ actually bettered ‘H’. Maybe at the crust of the issue, all that you have stated above might come.
        But the underlying fact remains the same. Button scored more points than Hamilton in their years together in the team. No matter how you twist the fact.

      4. This is a message to (evered7) and other on here who keep saying things which are not true.Of the 3 seasons that Both Hamilton and Button were together at Mclaren its 2-1 in Hamiltons favor( check the tables for all 3 years).
        The only reason it merely looks like Button beat Hamilton is because of the amount of Mechanical failures, crashes and extra long pit stops that Hamilton kept getting at Mclaren, one of which was over 20 seconds.Also there was a race where Button crashed into the back of Hamilton, and thus cost Hamilton 25 winning points.Only a complete plonker would say that Button is any where near as good as Hamilton.Let us not forget that Mclaren really wanted to get rid of Button at the end of 2014, but they didn’t because Magnussen was equally crap.The only driver on Hamilton’s level is Alonso, but given time Riccardo will also join them both.

      1. But in proper f1 terms lewis beat button 2 to 1

        Which is strange that is never mentioned but the overall points which is never ever mentioned in regards to any other driver ever

        There is something seriously wrong with those that need to twist the score in this regard

        1. but the overall points which is never ever mentioned in regards to any other driver ever

          Except how Alonso thrashed Massa in their four years together. And how Vettel beat Webber in their five years together. And how Rosberg surprisingly beat Schumacher in their three years together…

          1. If Massa had beaten Alonso one out of four seasons, and you said Massa beat Alonso at Ferrari, people would think you were nuts.

            The point is, this is about the only case where people claim that a driver who did worse in 66% of the championships they were partnered with another driver for, actually “beat” that driver.

            Then again, the same people that say Button beat Hamilton at McLaren say Rosberg beat Hamilton his first year at Mercedes, because in that instance, race wins are more important than point totals.

        2. At the same time you could look at the fact that Button joined the team very late in 2010 and the car was build around Hamilton. Yet, he was quite close to him over the course of the season.
          Having said that anyone with any sense of reality knows that Hamilton in terms of potential is way above Button but it was very surprising indeed that Button has outscored him during the three years together. It’s even more striking how more impressive he looked in 2011. In 2010 and 2012 Hamilton did get more points but not by much.

    3. @concalvez00 You are right in that it is one of those statistics that prove that statistics can be misleading; and are therein the political weapon of choice for many. The most complicated component of deciphering such a stat is the influence of non-technical retirement, where the driver can in some cases be at fault for the incident and therein rightfully lost points.

      However this stat is primarily distorted by extenuating circumstances for points losses, which in their purest form equates to technical failures. During their partnership Hamilton suffered five technical retirements, whilst Button suffered four (according to this plus Lewis’ UAE retirement), which appears largely equal, as does the fact that both drivers were in an average of a sixth place equivalent points haul at the time of retirement.

      However that does not take into account grid penalties, pit-stop errors, non-terminal technical failures (such as punctures), classified retirements (such as the P2 Hamilton lost at Spain in 2010) and being taken out by another driver. It is largely accepted that were this mathematically formulated, in would put Hamilton’s score over Button into the black.

      1. @countrygent
        Nevertheless it still proves that Button was close enough to Hamilton that he could outscore him due to some misfortune. Hamilton wasn’t error-free in 2007 either and Alonso couldn’t capitalise.

        I think the way Keith wrote it was perhaps misleading, as Button isn’t likely to put as much pressure on Alonso on the track, but he is likely to keep racking up points ready to catch him if he suffers more reliability problems etc.

        1. Yeah, misfortune like the team putting a Hungary-spec wing on Hamilton’s car for Spa. Or pumping gas out, instead of in, for qualifying.

          Granted, that was 2012, but still, if McLaren hadn’t made so many screw-ups during 2012, Hamilton would have easily outscored Button by enough points to render 2011’s 43-point deficit meaningless– and might, conceivably, be a three-time WDC right now.

      2. How’s this for a stat

        How many times did Lewis out score Webber in Webbers last 5 years of F1 racing ?
        Once! Webber 4 Hamilton 1
        If we roll it out to the 7 years they raced each other in F1 then it becomes 4 -3 to Webber
        And then overall points in those 7 years
        Lewis 1481
        Mark 1152

        Stats . Like bikinis , distract you from what you really wanna see :)

        1. Bikini joke inspired by @kodongo :)

    4. “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

  11. Not really. It’s clear that even with a crocked engine turned down they were only around 2 seconds off the pace of the Mercs which to me shows the potential of the package if they can get it running correctly. By the second half of the season I think they will be up with Ferrari / RBR / Williams.

    1. @john-h

      were only around 2 seconds off the pace of the Mercs

      They were doing 5-laps runs, you can’t look into those numbers and expect any indication of anything whatsoever, much less race pace.

  12. It seems that everyone is black or white on the issue of McLarens forcasted success for this year. I think we’re just seeing the evolution of a team that was in the dulldrums and getting worse produce a car that will take them back towards the front where they traditionally are.
    Shopping talent from other teams is nothing new in F1 and the addition of Prodromou should turn the car around in the aero department.
    Being a works Honda team was the only chance of securing an engine and power unit that has the potential to meet or exceed Mercedes’ benchmark. And as @djdaveyp87 pointed out, there is no penalty for making a power unit reliable.
    They have a stellar driver line-up that will produce results and in Alonso’s case even if the car is underperforming.
    It is unfortunate for McLaren that there is more and more focus on teams in testing now that it is so limited. But when they get it together later this year, watch out!

    1. @fletch How do you know it’s an “evolution”, and not that they gotten worse? The winter test doesn’t exactly indicate an improvement.

  13. The tell-tale woes of an unwieldy trans-global partnership? Or simply a reminder of the toils of teams in testing last year? In the handful of longer runs the MP4-30 has done, there has been the faintest inclination of a genuinely decent car, and one that has looked balanced and compliant on-track, and has aerodynamically won the approval of technical analysts. The impression is McLaren has macheted its way back to terra firma after two seasons lost in a technical wilderness, and if indeed McLaren has created the monster chassis it is capable of creating, they have rightfully put the focus on Honda.

    Honda’s last F1 venture was predominantly anonymous, and largely mirrored Toyota’s failed bid to buy their way to the front, and one that insultingly culminated in a decision that would see their brand absent from the sidepod of Button’s likely championship bound car. Since then Honda was taken half of the MotoGP titles, but has struggled to establish a grip beyond rather anonymous titles in the BTCC, and the success of its HSV-010 GT in Japanese SuperGT. However a renewal of its sporting credentials through the release of their new NSX road car necessitated sporting success on the global stage. Put simply, to ensure their brand is credible within the performance car market, and not as a firm favourite manufacturer for the UK’s elderly, Honda needs F1 success, and has deemed that McLaren and Fernando Alonso are the ones to get them there. I agree, so it is now up to Honda to fulfill there side of the deal…

    1. @countrygent

      so it is now up to Honda to fulfill there side of the deal…

      And up to McLaren. It’s not like their chassi last year and in 2013 was something to write home about, being challenged by Force India.

  14. Jeffrey Spencer
    4th March 2015, 15:40

    Reliability may well be their biggest concern. It is very intriguing, it seems very possible that McLaren may well be a dark horse to begin the season. I have to say that I am very excited to watch this play out and am hopeful that McLaren will be challenging at the front of the grid. Honda have had a year to go through the best power unit, and to reverse engineer and upgrade. It seems entirely possible that their PU will be near the top in terms of power, although, I do wonder about driveability and software code. I think it is entirely plausible that McLaren will put together some good races. Like a “size zero” supermodel, I expect their season will be somewhat bipolar, and I will be watching closely pulling for them.

  15. RBR/Renault were in similar straits this time last year, and they eventually came to lead the peleton. Honda will be working like fiends to get the car right and they have immense technical resources at their disposal, from aerospace to electronics. Dennis acts like some bumbling villain from a Guy Ritchie movie sometimes but he knows how to run a winning race team. Don’t sleep on this team.

    1. @dmw In order:

      RBR/Renault were in similar straits this time last year, and they eventually came to lead the peleton.

      Let’s make it clear: McLaren is NOT RBR. RBR came to 2014 after 4 and a half years of being the class of the field. McLaren comes to 2015 after two of their worst seasons. The difference of technical ability showed by both teams at either point is brutal, in favor of RBR. Not comparable.

      Honda will be working like fiends to get the car right and they have immense technical resources at their disposal, from aerospace to electronics.

      That didn’t make the Honda F1 team any less mediocre…

      Dennis acts like some bumbling villain from a Guy Ritchie movie sometimes but he knows how to run a winning race team.

      Yes, and no. He’s had great success, no doubt, but he’s as likely to fail as most. If we were talking about Ross Brawn I would share your confidence.

  16. i thing that Mclaren car aerodinamicly in 2015 look very very good, look like arriving of peter pordromye have made good steps with this year car, to me looking fantastic but how Honda have diseigned the engine ? i thing that they drive in very low engine power in the winter test and also making not too bad times, for example in barcelona, times was betwen 1 26, 1 25, in the middle of the season i expects to be very close to mercedes and the biggest treat of the pack to mercedes.

  17. The ‘size zero’ phrase used by Ron Dennis to describe the ultra-tight packaging at the rear of the McLaren may have proved more accurate than he intended. Often used to refer to unhealthily thin supermodels, it seemed a doubly appropriate description as the MP4-30 repeatedly ground to a halt or spent hours in the garage in testing.

    @KeithCollantine I liked the way you had put out this very interesting point.

      1. @tmax

        ohh please, feed that MP30 a TimTam :)

  18. Probably the first race will be very wrong for them.

  19. Good God only knows how happy I will be once the racing of cars starts and the racing of some keyboards slow down!!!! Those who know do not speak / those who speak do not know Lao Tzu Thanks, Norris PS How some ever, there are some incredibly knowledgeable fans who do write interesting bits / comments….

  20. I don’t know how people are assuming that Mclaren will get over their PU problems and be fighting at the front of the pack. Honda is 1 year of development down on their rivals PU manufacturers…. and looking at the progress all of them have made over the past 12 months, it looks nearly impossible for Honda to catch up over the next 2 years

  21. and suffered concussion. Although he is uninjured

    Head and brain injuries are probably the most dangerous injuries long-term, and also the ones that people at large are least informed about.

    Saying someone with a concussion is uninjured is like saying someone with a fractured bone is uninjured.

  22. Although they’ve had the worst winter possible, my heart somewhere refuses to believe that they’ll have bad season(s). I really believe that with the stability of these rules, in a few seasons, we just might see Mercedes, Ferrari, McClaren and Williams in for a close fight at the front.

    Its no denying that McLaren has a strong package and it’s more about the harmony of the chassis and the power unit. They’ll crack the code soon.

  23. If this engine is powerful but unreliable then Honda can fix it under the rules so its powerful and reliable , without cost of tokens if they have any ,

    Good luck I say and really mean it :)

    The more cars that go like the clappers the better ,

  24. I think it make sense that they have prioritised potential over reliability since reliability can be build over The season. Obviously you would like to start with both, but with the limited testing allowed it is not surprising that they struggle. If The PU has a lot more in it which Mclaren claim I think McLaren will be fast after 5 races as K Mag already mentioned that The car are much smoother to drive and handle.

  25. After all, Button out-scored Hamilton over the course of their three years together as team mates.

    The majority of articles commenting or written about Lewis on this site minimise his achievements, in spite of what we actually witnessed.

    1. This comment was not about Lewis.

      The comment “After all, Button out-scored Hamilton over the course of their three years together as team mates.”
      is about Button, and regardless of how peoples star struck eyes may focus ,either way !!!!!

      its a fact,

      Do I think Keith is saying ” hey JB is better” ?
      no !!
      Its a stat, its in black and white , its the truth , its unchangeable, its unchallengeable ,

      who gives a flying crap about 300 other speculative arguments , they mean nothing,

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