Jenson Button, McLaren, Albert Park, 2015

Button hoping McLaren won’t be last on the grid

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Albert Park, 2015In the round-up: Jenson Button is hoping McLarne can avoid qualifying on the back row for the Australian Grand Prix.


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McLaren needs a 'bucket load' of pace - Button (ESPN)

"I'm hoping it won't be the last row of the grid tomorrow, hopefully 20 cars will run"

Jenson Button did safety test on Fernando Alonso’s McLaren F1 car after crash (The Guardian)

"I will not get into a car unless I am 100% sure it is safe. I spent hours going through the data with the engineers and talking to them about the incident."

Sauber team principal could face prison (BBC)

"Van der Garde's lawyer said there had been 'constructive discussions between the parties which are expected to continue this evening'."

Sauber saga take new twist in Sydney (The Telegraph)

"There was even an attempt on Friday by Van der Garde’s lawyers to have Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber’s team principal, fined or worse arrested on a day of dramatic developments in the bizarre saga."

Raikkonen unhappy with own driving (Autosport)

"Not an ideal day, (I was) not driving very well, not putting the lap together"

Manor Marussia in race to be ready for Australian GP (Reuters)

"The systems required to operate these cars are incredibly complex and this is the first time we have been able to begin the process of getting all the various elements of our operation and car package talking to each other."

Marko slams engine partner Renault (F1i)

"We wanted an improvement and we have taken a step back. The gap to the top now is frightening."

Daniel Ricciardo: Formula One is a 'crueler sport' (CNN)

"Racing is one of those... probably a crueler sport in that there's so many other variables."

Hollinger Sees Healthy Side to F1 (The Wall Street Journal)

"I have had a passion for F1 since the 1960s. I went to see the cars at Watkins Glen and was hooked. I’m in business to make money, and there is an opportunity to make money in F1."

Fan Boost adds intrigue as ePrix makes stop in Miami (Miami Herald)

Jerome d'Ambrosio: "As a sportsman, I felt that way in the beginning, thinking it’s not fair. But then again, you want to be fair to the fans, as well."


Comment of the day

Is the culture of conspiracy theories in F1 getting out of hand?

Sky have been pretty disappointingly tabloid in the way they’ve reported on things so far this year. They’ve been all over the Alonso crash, trying to imply at all times that there’s something shady going on.

Then when Magnussen hit the wall this morning, he was collared by Ted Kravitz who asked what had happened, and he gave the usual F1 driver-style non-committal answer along the lines of ‘it caught me out’ or some other such cliche. Kravitz immediately started pushing and pushing, and then talking to the commentators about how it meant that the car had some something unexpected and blah, blah, blah. So much so that shortly afterwards Magnussen sent the tweet clarifying that he made an error and the car got away from him. A completely normal accident.

I’m reminded why I cancelled my Sky subscription. Really very poor journalism, trying to manufacture a scandal where none exists.

From the forum


Freddie Hunt, Team BKR, Renault Clio Cup, 2015

Freddie Hunt, the son of 1976 world champion James Hunt, will race for Ferrari this year. The Ferrari in question is Nico Ferrari, boss of UK Renault Clio Cup Team BKR.

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On this day in F1

The long version of the Bahrain Grand Prix track was used for the only time five years ago today for the first race of the 2010 season.

Sebastian Vettel led until he was slowed by a spark plug failure, letting Fernando Alonso through to win his first race with Ferrari.

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  • 39 comments on “Button hoping McLaren won’t be last on the grid”

    1. There was great enthusiasm for the revival of the partnership of McLaren-Honda…Too many people hoped for a repeat of something happened about 20-25 years ago…And yes, McLaren went back 20 years, with Honda taking the place of Peugeot…

      1. @leongtv6 Early days. Way way too early to say that. Also when I see Honda’s commitment to F1 and I remember Peugeot’s total lack of one, all the way from Mclaren to Prost, there’s a clear difference

        1. I agree with you about Honda’s commitment..But,do you remember Honda’s history after 92? 4 wins courtesy of Mugen, a partnership(full works) with BAR that produced 2 pole positions in 5 seasons, and a works campaign that gave only 1 win and was beaten by Super Aguri…There’s no glimpse of hope…If McLaren reach championship challenge form the next year, I ‘ll come back and eat my words, but I ‘m afraid that will not happen.

      2. pastaman (@)
        14th March 2015, 3:36

        If they were let down by their own enthusiasm, well that’s their own fault. Anyone who thought McLaren-Honda would come out of the gates a winner in this new formula is deluded. It’s going to take time.

        And so, their (deluded) dreams crushed, they declare the partnership a complete disaster before the first race has even begun.

    2. Fantastic COTD, @MazdaChris . I watch SkyF1 myself and am completely fed up with how they constantly blow everything out of proportion, wildly speculate with no information and treat the most outlandish rumors as fact. They’re constantly trying to manufacture drama instead of letting the sport create it naturally. It’s sad that for all their resources and great production values they tarnish their channel with such shoddy journalism.

      But looking at the vast majority of news outlets, from CNN to buzzfeed, SkyF1 are not alone in sensationalising the mundane or just making stuff up to generate profits.

      1. The Murdoch creed ” No-one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the reader(viewer)ship”

      2. Honestly there are things to like and dislike about the F1 coverage from both Sky and BBC. I mostly appreciate Sky for Martin Brundle. I think he is what makes their broadcast worth watching.

        Here in the states the coverage is OK sometimes. The non-stop commercial interruptions are insufferable and make me wish for anything but that.

      3. I totally agree with the COTD. I made a similar post about sensationalist reporting by Sky F1 pundits in the fallout of Rosberg’s Monaco qualifying debacle last year:

      4. @colossal-squid @MazdaChris Exactly. It only took one day of coverage for this guys the rile me up. In my view what bothers me the most is how bigoted, illiberal, intolerant Ted, Johnnie and David are. These 3 fellas drag the other 3 down, not to mention Lazenby.

      5. Remember that this is the qualified technical panel that didn’t know the difference between a flashing yellow and a normal yellow that led to the whole 2012 season finale overtake conspiracy.

    3. Completely agree with the CotD. I was watching the Sky broadcast via stream and when Ted Kravitz was going on about KMag’s incident, I seriously considered sending him a tin foil hat to wear to the races. He went so far as to analyze KMag’s body language and tone of voice, while Jolyon Palmer was trying to defend KMag’s answers by saying it was a really typical driver’s response. Terribly annoying to be hearing about conspiracies or scandals at every turn with F1 these days.

    4. Mclaren have been doing the same spiel for the last 5 years.

      “This year’s car is a big step over last year’s car. It’s better balanced. It’s more driveable. It responds to setup changes better. It’s got more downforce.”
      6 months later
      “We’re still missing a lot of downforce.”
      Next year
      “This year’s car is a big step over last year’s car. It’s better balanced. It’s more driveable. It responds to setup changes better. It’s got more downforce.” Every year their cars are horribly over-sprung, unforgiving and have bad drivability. They’re massively in trouble now. They knew they wouldn’t win the first year but there’s no way they’re going to tell me they thought there was a risk they’d be dead last on the grid and 4-5 seconds off the pace.

      As Pat Symonds said the other day in response to Ron’s complaints about “never winning as a customer team”, they were the Works Mercedes team when they got humiliated by Brawn, with a car designed under Ron’s watch.

      The problems run much deeper there than a change of engine..

      1. Ron’s comments are on the current engine formula.

        They were beat by another works team designed chassis at a time when the engine was less critical for performance. It’s not a 100% relevant comparison and Williams are also not going to win a championship as a customer team.

      2. @hairs – Button is saying a lot just hoping McLaren are not last on the grid and hoping there are 20 cars so they won’t be last. At this point I would just be hoping McLaren makes it to the grid. It is seriously doubtful both cars finish if they actually do start the race.

        Even realizing their challenge with a new engine supplier this season, I think you are correct that the problems run deeper. Never have been a fan of Ron Dennis and was skeptical that he would come back and fix McLaren. Beginning to wonder if even Ross Brawn could take over McLaren with complete autonomy and fix whatever is wrong with this great monstrosity.

        1. Lotus Renault where in just as much trouble last year…

          It’s a new engine, as with last years new Renault, it’s a rocky start.

          1. can it be Renault buying Toro Rosso or some other team, and Red Bull finally signing with Audi? I pressume that Renault can’t stand for such a level of criticism (when in al fairness is more than deserved)

    5. Giedo van der Garde won’t drive for Sauber this weekend.

      You can find his statement here:

      1. Looks like maybe things can be resolved somehow. Maybe Sauber have offered have finally offered something solid to resolve this. I really don’t blame van der Garde at all for taking it to this level. This should have been resolved by his contracted employer long before it reached this point.

      2. Reading between the lines from what it looks like here, it looks like he is still pressing on against Sauber, but just not for this race.

    6. It is really frustrating to see where McHonda is at. I feel soooooo bad for ALO, to think things would have been much better had he stuck with Ferrari.

      1. I’m really not sure whether he would have been better off staying at Ferrari. I guess we won’t know until towards the end of the season if the gamble was worth it. It sure looks grim for McHonda at the moment, though.

    7. I don’t sympathise for Alonso. Aside from the fact he’s a millionaire racing driver he destroyed his own chance with McLaren and passed up Honda’s offer. That’s 3 years of championship winning cars he only had himself to blame for not being in the seat of. He’s obviously not as cunning as keeps being made out and should maybe knock the political game playing on the head when there’s racing and car development to be done.

      And did I mention he’s a millionaire who gets to drive race cars as a job? His misses ain’t too bad either. No, no sympathy here.

      1. @philipgb Forgetting the millionaire bit for a moment, as any high level sportsman wants that (not that it justifies it but he is no different):

        He destroyed his own chance with McLaren and passed up Honda’s offer. That’s 3 years of championship winning cars he only had himself to blame for not being in the seat of. He’s obviously not as cunning as keeps being made out and should maybe knock the political game playing on the head when there’s racing and car development to be done.


        1. I guess they mean burning bridges after 2007 missed him several better shots at the title than Ferrari could offer.

          1. Vettel nails his career choices once again. He was at the right time at the right place when he substituted for Kubica at the Canadian Grand Prix. Then he joined Toro Rosso for a full season in 2008 when they produced their best car yet. He moved up to Red Bull when they started to become race winners. And now, he jumps ship right at the moment Red Bull starts to fade and Ferrari is coming back. He’s like an anti-Alonso in his career choices.

            (Also typo @keithcollantine:)

            Sauber team principal could face prisonSauber team principal could face prison

    8. And with all the other news around the Grand Prix and McLaren I’ve just noticed that the livery is still actually the same as announced (it wasn’t a temporary one as many had thought/hoped) and no new sponsor..

      1. It actually looks pretty cool in the flesh.

      2. Still expecting title sponsor? Who wants to put a large amount of money on such a slow car? The decline of the team is beyond doubt, and was made clearer when Hugo Boss decided to end their 33 year partnership…

    9. So, F1 biggest political story is Sauber and Van der Garde…. Well atleast for now.

    10. All the recent news will just make it even more difficult for McLaren to find a new Sponsor. With F1 itself in a bit of negative news, the new sponsors will probably think 100 times before investing in teams and especially ones where there has been some churn recently !!!

    11. The things that gets me about the whole Sauber/Van der Garde deal is that, should the courts force Sauber to honor his contract. Any working relationship will more then likely be toxic. For a team thats trying to just score points, this would definetaly not help the situation and will make the year long and miserable for all involved.

    12. RBR are very grim this weekend. No new nose and incredibly poor drive-ability are tearing the team apart from Renault as usual even though Renault has been covering RBR’s mouths for a good 3 years now.

    13. I think that the McLaren looks great- but only from that angle. As soon as you see it in profile and see how far beyond the wing the nose extends it’s ruined.

    14. I’d wait at least one entire season before making any conclusions on whether Alonso has made the right decision or not.

      For all we know, Ferrari could drop back significantly after a strong season start (like 2013), and McLaren-Honda could be a beast of a car when all reliability issues are finally sorted out. The Honda engine is tighter than the other engines, yet just as powerful. Again, a few practice sessions is FAR too early to make any conclusions.

      After all, who would have thought after Bahrian 2010 that Alonso and Ferrari wouldn’t win a single race and only 11 races in the next 5 years?

      Because that was exactly 5 years ago.

    15. My dad, who was an engineer for Honda for 35 years, said last year:
      Honda will fail badly in Formula 1 – “before they used to have passionate guys in the Engine Department, people who loved doing that and people who would service and rebuild their own engines.those guys not only knew how to design an engine, but they also knew how to pull one apart and rebuild it from scratch. They got their hand dirty on the weekend at the local motocross track or fo kart track. They nitro rc cars as hobby.

      Now, there are just a bunch of princesses who want to be called doctors, they wear white coats and gloves and get their cars serviced at the local dealer.”

      1. how do you explain their motoGP success?

    16. Perhaps a low speed testing crash might do the tricks – avoid embarrassment.

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