Ron Dennis, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

McLaren will succeed Mercedes as champions – Dennis

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren boss Ron Dennis says his team will be F1’s next new champions after Mercedes.

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It’s probably a minority view but it’s one a few ex-F1 drivers have made recently: Are F1’s rules on overtaking too generous to the driver who’s defending their position?

I wish we could go back to the days when veering offline because someone is trying to overtake you was considered unsporting and dangerous.

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  • 82 comments on “McLaren will succeed Mercedes as champions – Dennis”

    1. So a couple of circuits appear to be making some changes…

      Curva Grande out?
      Dr Tiroch Kurve in?

      I was really sad to read Monza is preparing to alter the fast right handed and replace with a motorbike-safe chicane, but to see an almost completely faithful reintroduction of the Ostereichring is something unusually positive for F1 these days!

      It looks so different to modern tracks even accounting for the new chicanes, I hope it’s a real plan and not just someone getting false informations!

      1. Unless the situation has changed the chicane at curva grande is only going to be used for motorbikes, the early noughties layout at silverstone had a similar chicane added on the way out of woodcote that was only for bikes

      2. I read about that, my understanding is that if F1 continues racing at Monza, they would use the old layout. However obviously I cannot say for certain.

    2. Abiteboul has the right of things there, and I think it was really made clear in the principals conference when Horner said their philosophy of f1 development is a 30/30/30 split between mechanical, aero and drivers which many often forget when looking back at their dominance. It’s easy to say Newey was the aero god, but it was no sheer luck that they just “stumbled” upon Vettel either, they worked to develop him. It was stark contrast to Arrivabene who said they don’t focus on developing the drivers at all… I really wouldn’t be surprised if going forward more teams expand their driver development programs.

      What I find the most intriguing about Max’s success however; is it raises the question of whether the right decision was made to raise the minimum age and add point requirements to gain a super license. At the time by and large the consensus was that Max was too young. But he’s clearly proven that at his age drivers can compete at the highest level, so who’s to say there shouldn’t be more young drivers in F1?

      1. This is just another indication that Arrivabene exists on a level that is one step removed from the reality of the situation – Ferrari has a drivers academy.

        Adding the age limit and requiring lower-series experience is, frankly, common sense and it’s amazing that despite all these series and routes, such a system didn’t exist beforehand. Ignore Max for a second – he’s a massive talent that would only have gotten even better if he’d have found a slower path up the ranks – the FIA knee-jerked because they saw a potential flood of state-supported karting kids sitting in high-powered formula cars with zero experience and a cognitive (and legal) bubble around them separating them from culpability for their actions.

    3. Looks like Mercedes will be ruling for some time then.. ;)

      Jokes aside. I can’t wait to see the McLaren glory days again!

      1. Same here!

    4. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      24th May 2016, 1:00

      What does Ron gain whenever he thinks everyday is worth an April Fools prank? Marketing?
      Maybe for the casual and uninformed viewer, as once I commented, it is easy to believe him. But not for us. Just last race they were still retiring a car for some mechanical issue. And Alonso reaching Q3 was just because Williams messed it up with Massa’s strategy.
      Last year, Red Bull organized one of their street runs in Lima. Most of the people I asked didn’t know anything about Mercedes domination. Some people even told me Hamilton was the champion with McLaren.
      Ron should sell his propaganda to them.

      1. It’s interesting to see his delivery being sincere, he seems to really believe it @omarr-pepper. Lets just hope it motivates them to really bring a step forward soon!

        1. Ferrari won’t beat Merc, Ferrari and Merc won’t let RBR win like they did before, the only one who has a shot is Ron’s team, but unfortunately, the only times I see Honda succeeding in Motorsports is when the rule book is changed in their favor. So I hope Ron knows something, cause it’s going to take something special (or getting rid of that 100 kg/unlimited turbo boost thing) to do anything about Merc.

          The funny thing is people don’t like ‘spending wars’, yet the rules allow unlimited boost. I find this completely ridiculous, but why would the FIA rule consistently? Of course they don’t. As long as people keep banging on about how important is to save fuel, the easier it will be for the guys at the top to stomp on the competition. And this, THIS is actually something that transcends F1, and is a pretty big issue that is being completely ignored by many people. #AtlasShrugs.

    5. Is Ron watching the same races I am watching. Alonso makes it to q3 once, his McHonda quit on him. JB has 3 points. That sure smells like some championship caliber car. I know he is talking about the new regs but does he actually think they can challenge ferrari red bull and the mercs for the title next year.

      1. If Honda can get th PU reliable and powerful, there is no reason why McClaren can’t become good again… I do doubt it very much though, given their form over the past few seasons.

        1. If Honda can get th PU reliable and powerful

          That’s the biggest ‘If’ statement I’ve ever heard. A championship winning team will need a class act PU package. I’d like to say that Honda has a one in a million chance of matching Mercedes in PU performance, but honestly, I’d be flattering Honda’a chances by making that statement.

          Ron and Hagesawa seem a little deluded to me.

          1. @jamiejay995 @todfod Next year, when they can basically build an entirely new engine (even if it’s a 1:1 carbon copy of the Mercedes engine, which McLaren will have 2014 layout data on), their chances improve considerably.

            They’re in a holding pattern…

            1. I wonder why wouldn’t have they done exactly that two years ago with their entirely new engine…

            2. They had an actual Merc engine and we’re useless. Then they got a clearly useless engine email and conveniently their chassis was great you cannot see it as the engine is holding us back….honest. Ron should take a leaf from McLaren history and just steal Merc designs.

      2. For me Ferrari is the biggest joke on the field right now. With biggest resources and pedigree they cant win a race, even if both Mercedeses eliminate each other out of the race right from the start. Vettela can be happy that lady luck gave him a free pass with Ricciardo getting a puncture, or he would definetly get infront sooner or later. Even bigger joke is, that Sainz was able to overtake them both with a year old engine and keep himself infront until DRS nonsense aided Ferrari to overtake. Ferrari will sooner or later become champions, but not by manufacturing a superior car by normal rules, but by politics and bending the sport in their favour. They are allready lurking for Bernies position.

        1. You are confusing Ferrari with McLaren who were thrown out a championship for blatant cheating. Cheats never prosper hence McLaren being where they currently are.

          1. Cheats never prosper

            Funny. Mercedes seemed to win races and eventually championships after the illegal tyre test of 2013.

            1. McLaren won in 2008 but then it catches up with you. Once Merc stop winning they will just provide engines or pull out but the tyre test although a bit dodgy was not the absolute worse thing.

    6. Ok. Ron. We hear ya..

    7. It could actually be McLaren, in 2028.

    8. I wish we could go back to the days when veering offline because someone is trying to overtake you was considered unsporting and dangerous

      No, just no. That would be a terrible idea. Defending is an art, just like overtaking.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        24th May 2016, 6:00

        And next they want cars to drive on an empty track in some kind of time trial. @kingshark

      2. @kingshark @coldfly

        It seems you have totally misunderstood the point made there in the comment of the day. As I read it, what is being said is that it would be preferable to have fair and respectful race tactics without the ridiculous chop which we have now and was made legal by the FIA as a result of M Schumacher’s often questionable tactics.

        I can’t see anywhere in that comment anything suggesting they can’t race. Swerving violently across the track is not an ‘art’. It used not to happen as the drivers were aware in those days it might be their last move. Just because the sport is so much safer now does not make it anything other than classless and still dangerous.

        1. @paulguitar I think its unfortunate that many newer fans put the current form of blocking on Schumacher’s shoulders when it was in fact something that was been done several years before he came into F1.

          Ayrton Senna for example was doing that sort of thing several years before Schumacher & was one of the 1st prominent figures to do so which is why he got a lot of criticism from a lot of former drivers & journalist’s for been unsafe & unsporting. Younger drivers like Schumacher saw him doing it & getting away with it & simply emulated him & then the next generation saw Michael do it & emulated him.

          In many ways Senna was allowed to be a lot more aggressive with his blocks because back then you didn’t have any rules about blocking/defending so he was able to get away with things like making more than 1 defensive move.

          1. @gt-racer

            Yes, I agree that sadly it was Senna who started it. I have been watching since the late 1970’s and don’t really remember any of the chop before Senna. Such a shame, I think it will always taint his legacy.

            1. Totally hear you folks on this, however, how does one police for it? They didn’t stop Senna from doing it, and they allowed MS to master it so so often. It would come down to determining how quick is too quick for a driver to cut across the track, and with F1’s famous looseness as to how they apply the rules, I wonder if there wouldn’t be just as much controversy as stewards determine what was too aggressive and what wasn’t, when a driver is ahead and making his one move. Hasn’t clarification on the one move been about the most they can do to police this? On the second move back to the racing line room must be made.

            2. Senna was very dirty he changed future generations but death makes angels of us all. Look beyond the myth and Senna was a filthy driver.

        2. Either way, in relation to this accident, I wouldn’t say looking at either on-boards that Rosberg ‘swerved’ anyway.

        3. @paulguitar

          It seems you have totally misunderstood the point made there in the comment of the day. As I read it, what is being said is that it would be preferable to have fair and respectful race tactics without the ridiculous chop which we have now and was made legal by the FIA as a result of M Schumacher’s often questionable tactics.

          No, that’s not how I interpret the CotD. He clearly wants to go back to the days where merely veering offline should be considered unsportsmanlike behaviour. The act of veering offline has been the most basic move in defending in auto racing since the dawn of time.

      3. Blocking is what you do when the car behind you is faster. And you have no answer but to impede.
        That’s not racing that’s blocking. Big difference.

        1. Ok, use the term blocking, but whatever you want to call it, it obviously wasn’t illegal. Impeding is allowed, at least if It is determined to be legal defending. What would we have if everyone was just supposed to jump out of the way of faster cars coming up behind them?

          As I said before, at some point how do they police for this? I think they have by determining that one move is allowed. The second move must include leaving room. Even those parameters obviously have shades of grey to them.

        2. Blocking is what you do when the car behind you is faster. And you have no answer but to impede.
          That’s not racing that’s blocking. Big difference.

          Found the guy who has never seen an F1 race before in his life.

          In all seriousness, saying that defending is not racing is like saying that defending in football isn’t playing football. It is comically stupid. It’s a part of the game.

    9. One could argue that the team that gives up on 2016 first and starts focusing on 2017 may have an advantage with the new rules, at least among the big teams. Mr. Dennis, in conceding 2016 to Mercedes, may be indicating that McLaren and Honda are already moving on to 2017. As long as Ferrari and Red Bull are pressuring Mercedes in 2016, none of those teams may feel inclined to invest too heavily in 2017.

      So. Good luck with that, McLaren. Change is always interesting. But you do have a long way to go with your PU partner.

      1. If I remember correctly, Mclaren moved to 2017 in 2015 itself. Don’t see them fighting for the championship up until 2020 though.

        Honestly, Mercedes has the liberty of transferring resources to the 2017 car already. There is no way any other team is catching them even if they bring nothing but minor updates all year long.

    10. I really like the Austrian track as is. I hope they don’t use the new version.

      1. I hope they do. If you haven’t seen a video of the original Osterreichring, you can find an onboard video of it on YouTube. It was one of the most spectacular F1 tracks in history. Nowadays, that Dr Tiroch Kurve would probably be flat out in 8th gear.

        1. The problem with the ‘new’ layout is that its not going to be very good from a racing point of view because your removing the 2 corners on the existing layout that are the 2 overtaking opportunities.

          The new turn 1 chicane looks too tight & fiddly to be an overtaking zone, The Dr Tiroch Kurve isn’t going to be an overtaking opportunity as there’s no braking zone & its going to be impossible to follow cars through so the following chicane isn’t likely going to be a good overtaking opportunity. The chicane is then also likely to string them out a bit which will make overtaking into the following corner unlikely.

          The old Osterreichring was a spectacular circuit but the racing there the last few years was a bit on the dull side as following cars through the fast sweepers became harder thanks to the aero. With modern cars overtaking would likely be next to impossible & as we see elsewhere the modern batch of fans tend to be far more critical of circuits/races where there’s not much overtaking due to there been hardly any decent passing spots.
          Look at Magny-Cours as an example, Great circuit that fans over the last few years it was on the schedule hated because overtaking was virtually impossible & Imola was the same.

      2. @Mike The new west-section addition looks really flowing and seriously cool though! This isn’t a Tilke modification or anything.

        Take a look at this video

    11. I totally agree with Roebuck, I would add that it’s not just all cars after the lotus 79 that are beautiful, the ones before are as well. I’ve been saying pretty much the same thing as Roebuck, sane mind, great insight, simple resolution for the debate. The people defending some sort of quality that outcomes from fatalities in f1 must be confusing danger with safety. In my view danger and death are 2 different concepts, you can have danger but no death, no physical danger, the exiliration comes from what’s at stake and that’s the reward, life’s on the line for the grand prix. I think Moss is right and so is Nigel. You could however say something proactive on the subject, say keep reducing the likeability that F1 cars or tracks produce large chunks of debris.

      1. I do not agree with Roebuck on keeping F1 cockpits open. For someone who is a real veteran journalist on the F1 scene and who provides such great insight into F1, he is unusually and disappointingly short sighted here. In motor racing, there are preventable dangers, and there are unprecentable dangers. Open cockpits on open top racing cars is and always has been an unnecessary and preventable danger. However- seeing the driver’s helmets is an essential part of the look of an F1 car. None of the solutions- particularly that opaque RBR windscreen are the solution to protecting the drivers head. Something that is completely transparent (see-through) and removable would be ideal, IMO.

        1. *something that completely envelops the cockpit and is as transparent as possible

          1. It’s a highly debatable issue, no question. Personally if something must be done I prefer the look of the Mercedes concept halo to the one we saw Ferrari run, and I think the RBR aero screen would not leave enough access to an unconscious driver if the car was upside down.

            I do agree that the odds are less now of incidents happening, so safe are the cars and tracks as it is, and it should be easy enough to prevent anyone else ever again hitting a recovery vehicle on a ‘yellowed’ caution corner.

            But as to the looks of the car being the deciding factor? Yeah I get that, but it isn’t everything obviously or we wouldn’t have declining viewership. It is also about the show that is being put on, and there simply isn’t enough show as cars still struggle in dirty air only now they are doing that in an atmosphere of driving cars that should be faster by now, and definitely more taxing and challenging to the drivers. This ultra-conservation is for the birds.

            Without changing the looks quite dramatically, I don’t envision anything but a halo type unit, and I don’t think that needs distract from the appearance of a new generation car considering that the looks have been changing throughout the years as it is.

            I think I bottom line it like this…the cars and tracks are safer than ever, so it’s time they increased the speeds again, but also a better ratio of mechanical grip to aero so that these gladiators can once again show that they are gladiators, not passengers, and let’s see them actually physically and mentally spent at the end of a race that saw any one of 6 drivers as potential winners on any given race day, and I bet the better looking Mercedes halo would be forgiven for being there.

            1. Ferrari ran the Mercedes halo design but a prototype just to check site lines. I think McLaren need to make a head safety design. It will be like everything they do….a case of the emporers new clothes so at least the cars will look the same because their won’t be anything there however Ron will tell us it could repel a rocket launcher attack.

          2. I thought Nigel Roebuck’s article was excellent and I pretty much agree with it. Open cockpits are just part of the DNA of F1. Something that completely envelopes the cockpit would be the last thing I would want to see. I can of course see the arguments for greater safety but I don’t think the solutions that have been proposed so far are great. They look very ugly and completely spoil the look of the cars. Maybe they have to keep trying.

      2. It’s all just unnecessary and an over-reaction to a problem that doesn’t exist in F1!

    12. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      24th May 2016, 6:21

      ‘McLaren will succeed Mercedes as champions – Dennis’

      And in other news McLaren plan to use flying pigs to transport last minute update parts to races in a cost saving measure.

    13. Although I welcome new sponsorships in F1, I’m sad that the worst beer in the world will be the drink offered at races. Would I ever again visit one, this is a turn off.

      1. There is always THE fizzy drink available..

      2. Maybe the worst beer but it’s still the best pils in the world. (yes there is a difference)

        1. You obviously havent had Grolsch :-)

        2. @macleod … or Jupiler, the belgian beers are unbeatable.

      3. @verstappen
        As someone who spent some years moving around Canada and USA I have to say that there are times when you are glad there is a bottle of Heineken in every store.
        Of course, once you are around some place long enough to discover local breweries, things get different :-).

    14. McLaren-Honda will rise again!

      1. Yes I hear they have a new designer, some Italian chap with the surname Viagra.

    15. I believe you Ron. I also believe that I have a realistic shot at driving that car to world championship victory for you.

    16. There is something fundamentally wrong at McLaren. Even in 2009 when they started with like the 5th or 6th fastest car they developed it into a race winner. ’10, ’11 and ’12 they posed a threat.

      Then in 2013 they just never made progress. Starting the season behind is one thing. But McLaren seem to have lost their ability to develop out of the problem.

      Dennis was a great leader in the 80’s and 90’s, but he’s starting to look a fool with all his grandiose claims that come to nothing. His way clearly doesn’t work anymore.

      1. @philipgb 2013 was a funny one for McLaren – they bit off more than they could chew with the car design (despite clearly seeing the issues Ferrari had the previous year with, for example, pullrod suspension), had a significant driver line-up shakeup, lost the cars technical director early in the year to Mercedes (remember, they flip-flop the designers, so Tim had to rescue Paddy’s dog of a car) and there was honestly no real need to fix the car up as it was ‘good enough’ given the shake-up that was due the next year.

        2014 was similarly mucky because they knew they had this great engine, but everything was kept at arms length as the relationship with Mercedes wound down – it was basically like their 1-year stint with Peugeot in ’94.

        But yes, your point about Dennis is correct – he’s repeating the same mistakes made by his McLaren predecessors in the late 70s. Comment on anything with top-down management viewpoints designed to keep the rich shareholders happy (only it takes 3 times as long as it’s full of Ronspeak). The whole ‘title sponsor’ embarrassment must hang around his neck like an anchor.

    17. The new motorsports article shows that McLaren had the 3rd best sector 3 times in Spain, which indicates them having a good chassis. Based on that, they can be optimistic ahead of the street circuit in Moncao.

      But the sheer confidence of Ron is kinda baffling. He better say these things ‘after’ the McLarens surprise us all, not now.

    18. That Chandon gives you one hell of a drunkenness, doesn’t it McLaren!!! :))

    19. I long for the return of the McLaren/Williams days but sadly that seems to be a long way off.

      It seems that it’s easy to buy good drivers but their cars just simply lack the technical wherewithal to compete.

      Hopefully the next Adrian Newy is honing his or her craft with them now.

    20. I want to see Alan Jones’s face when he sees that his favourite track is (sort of) being resurrected. Still raves about it every chance he gets – especially when people mention Spa as the best on the calendar.

    21. #TrustInRonDennis

      1. #BelieveInMcLaren

      2. @dam00r this aint twitter:)

    22. Well he said they will succeed but never said when, so I am guessing maybe in 4 or 5 years.

    23. Duncan Snowden
      24th May 2016, 15:49

      Oh, gawd. First Eric, now Ron. Personally, I think there’s every chance they’re both right (Monaco probably isn’t going to be Ferrari’s strongest track and McLaren did well in S3 at Barcelona, while Mercedes are going to take some beating, so why not McLaren once they sort out their difficulties?) but what do they gain by making these predictions? If they are right, we’ll find out soon enough and all be suitably impressed. If they’re wrong, they look like hubristic buffoons, and people are going to stop taking them seriously.

      Let the cars do the talking, guys.

      1. Hehe, good question. But if Ferrari underperforms and they somehow beat them… That is all the talk they need on the track…

    24. I admit from the start, I don’t like Ron. But this “McLaren will end Mercedes’ domination” comes from the same person that is announcing a few times every year for the last two years (at least) that they have a new major sponsor and it will announced during the next days, they have a new branding (colors) for the car and, you guessed, it will be announced in the next days…

      1. Perhaps we should listen carfully this time. He has a lot of inside information, and he may be hinting in “Ronspeak” that most F1 teams will go bankrupt soon and Red Bull leaves F1.

      2. Ron is a liar see the 2007 season.

    25. “I honestly believe that the next world champions after Mercedes will be McLaren.”

      And I am the Tsar of all the Russias…

    26. Fighting talk from them MecLarens…

      As I age I grow to like Alonso, I cannot explain it. Used to hate him.

      Might also start liking Ron Dennis. I think the moment they stick in Vandoorne, and start fighting for podiums that will be an incredible brand image story.

      Just like it was for Williams last two years.

      Honda might reap some benefits in 2-3 years, especially if they infuse their famous V-tec brand with some turbo jet ignition tech.

      What do you guys think of McLaren right now? Are they one of the most positive F1 brands going up? Or just an old team fallen from grace?

      1. Also rans that may luck into a good engine in future to be some manufacturers top customer team same as Williams but with none of the charm.

      2. Can’t think of a single reason why they can’t/won’t make it back to the top 3 sooner rather than later. Power unit ‘freedom’ is ahead as well as drastically different cars for 2017, so there’s everything to play for in the near future. Not saying that guarantees them anything, but they are one of the ‘have’ teams after all.

        1. There chassis designs post 2012 and Honda. That’s 2 reasons enough. Honda last built a good engine in 1992. Last time they were in they were useless. Japanese car makers are quite poor in the modern day.

          1. Fair enough. I just don’t believe that writes their future in stone. If they’re ready willing and able to jump back in and try, as they have, then what else do we need to know? It’s their dime, not ours. And btw, thank goodness Honda is in the mix as another manufacturer to help bolster F1.

            1. Agreed Ferrari went 21 years without a drivers title and 16 without a constructors followed by dominance.

              Honda in the mix to bolster 1? As another option for others it is not the case as it sounds like they are protesting the potential for others to use their engine.

            2. @markp Yeah fair enough but suffice it to say they are at least in F1 and supplying Mac, vs Toyota and BMW who left, as had Honda not all that long ago. That’s all I was thinking.

    27. Ron’s statement is very funny.

    28. U smoked a wot m8?

      I will be very entertained if this was indeed the case, but there is no real evidence of that. Before they moved to Honda and had Merc engines, their chassis was horrendous, struggling to get top 10’s. Now suddenly he said before Monaco that they’ll be competing with Mercedes, yet they’re not even in the top 10 during Thursday free practice.

      So I can only assume that the investors are getting impatient and he’s saying and doing anything and everything to appease them. There has been NO evidence whatsoever of any of his predictions coming true since the Honda announcement in 2013/14 – remember his prediction of McLaren-Honda winning before the end of 2015 during the end of 2014?

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