Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2016

Brown predicts fifth win-less season for McLaren

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren executive director Zak Brown expects the team to go another year without winning a race in 2017.

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Comment of the day

This is a Formula One website first and foremost but this compelling piece on rally marshalling from Andy simply has to be Comment of the Day:

I used to Marshall some professional and amateur rallies in Northern Ireland a few years ago (about twenty years ago)…

It’s easily the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. The rule was, if you’ve told a spectator to move from a dangerous area more than twice, they have no legal leg to stand on, should the worst happen.

These were anxious times, in Northern Ireland. I had an English accent. So, depending on the area the rally was being held, depended on if I’d be shown any respect or not. Quite often, I just wouldn’t get listened to. Not all of the time, mind. Northern Ireland is ace and most of the folk that live there are lovely.

One day, in the Republic of Ireland, just over the boarder, I was at a cross roads with a few other marshals. This cross roads was dangerous! It was in an ever-so-slight right hander at the bottom of a big hill that the cars would proceed down. Spectators started to gather in a field just in front of this cross roads. As the road builders had just laid asphalt straight over the other road to make the junction, there was a huge bump at these cross roads. It was clear, even before a car had run, that this junction was dangerous. The spectators refused to move.

As the stage sweepers begun to check the course, we could see that the bump over the cross roads was unsettling the cars. Even the cars that weren’t setting any times. The spectators saw this too. The whooped and cheered as the out of control cars nearly crashed through their hedge lined field. They still refused to move. We were pleading with them. All we got was a sarcastic two-steps-back.

Some of the cars were your box standard Ford Escort mark one and two rally cars. At the top of end of the times sheets was older, retired machinery from the World Rally Championship. Cars that were a couple of years old. Still very fast!

As the stage wore on, the inevitable happened. One of the leading cars bounced over the hedge and ploughed straight in to the field of spectators. My blood has never run so cold.

How no one was killed, I will never know. But the car was on top of a lady for the longest time as they tried to rescue her. She had a broken leg. As far as I know, that was the only injury. Amazingly lucky, but amazingly stupid.

Later in the day, they ran the stage backwards. A BMW 3 series lost control over this cross road and rolled up the hill, finally crashing in to a small farm house. The driver’s arm had gone through the netting on his window and was sticking out of the car during each roll. I’ve never seen such a broken arm. It was hanging like a piece of string with a weight tied to the end. His car also nearly hit spectators that refused to move.

Spectators can be their own worst enemy.

That was the last rally I ever did…
Andy (@Andybantam)

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  • 83 comments on “Brown predicts fifth win-less season for McLaren”

    1. Not surprising, but if they are coming out before the launch and saying things like this (and considering McLaren usually tend to big up their cars), 5th at best is probably what we are looking at.

      1. They’ll still beat Williams who will be more likely 9th.

        1. I agree, compromised line up, bad aero development of late but Williams still has good budget, that’s a strength. Williams wants equality as if Williams was Sauber or SFI, Williams is still in okay condition for 2017 because budget is so important on a big rule change and increasing costs of new cars and development.

        2. So McLaren will beat the team that comes 9th ….. so that I’ll be 8th then …. To be honest, I’ve been sick of the “This is out year”, “We are the only team that can beat xxx”, “We have the best chassie” that comes out of McLaren each winter, let alone the fan’s blind faith that McLaren deserve to win races more than other teams on the Grid and the other teams (like Williams) who have done a great job with less resources don’t deserve to do the same …. nice to hear a McLaren boss playing down expectations and waiting to see what happens on the track (rather than telling us how great it’s going to be)

      2. I agree. It’s rather depressing to see a team that usually talks up it’s chances of fighting for a championship concede defeat before pre season testing has even started. 2017 has a massive regulation change, and if a team like Brawn, which was dead last in 2008, could find a silver bullet for 2009, then it should be inspiration for any other team to do so.

        I guess it just goes to show the shambolic state at McLaren currently. All key personnel have left, Honda realised it’s mistake 2 years too late and at the helm, a Marketeer heads his first racing venture. I think Alonso released a statement yesterday, where he said they shouldn’t write off anything yet, but Brown releases a reality check statement of no wins for another year at least.

        Personally, I don’t think they’ll get a podium this season either. My bet is that Alonso finishes the 1st day of his pre season test, and walks straight to the Mercedes garage to talk about a drive for 2018.

        1. I wish people would stop bringing up Brawn. First of all, they cheated.
          Yes, “within the regulations”, regulations that Ross Brawn himself helped draw up.
          Second of all, HONDA used over a half a billion USD to develop the new car for 2009. That’s the only reason Brawn GP had anything to take to the track.

          1. Really? I wasn’t aware Brawn were found to have cheated. What sanctions were placed on them?

          2. Cheated? Really now? Brawn had brought up the diffuser issue to the technical group way before they implemented it on the Honda/Brawn. And although Honda put up a decent amount of resources for the development of the 2009 challenger, Brawn was cash strapped for most of the 2009 season, and had only one sponsor at the time they started the season.

            You need a more valid excuse for McLaren’s failures rather than making unfounded and untrue statements like ‘Brawn cheated’. Honestly, I would be thrilled if Mclaren ‘cheated’ and found a silver bullet instead of sulking in a depressed room with a glimmer of hope to make in to Q3.

          3. @uneedafinn2win, actually, between the three different prototype cars that Honda produced and the unraced KERS unit that Honda had also developed, Honda’s net expenditure for the 2009 season is thought to be closer to about $1 billion.

            @todfod, what I find a little odd that story is the fact that the idea of the double diffuser didn’t originate at Honda – it actually came from the Super Aguri team, with engineers at Super Aguri bringing that information to Honda when they closed. If Brawn did bring up that topic – we only have his word for it that he did – then the meeting must have been relatively late in the year.

            As an aside, Toet, formerly the head of aerodynamics at Sauber, has put forward a rather convincing case arguing that, although the concept may technically have been legal, the way that every team implemented the double diffuser was almost certainly not legal.

            1. So Honda spent money on an engine and KERS unit which was never raced and a car designed around that engine and KERS unit and that money being spent to no benefit of the team is relevant to Brawn winning the championships how?

            2. @jerseyf1, I brought it up to give an idea of the magnitude of the investment that Honda had put into the car that became the Brawn BGP001.

              I should also add that you are wrong to assume that all of the development work in those areas was abortive work, since there were elements of the research work into those other conceptual designs which did carry across into the development of what became the BGP001.

              For example, research work on the front aerodynamic package from the other concept cars were used to refine what became the BGP001 and to rule out other development avenues – they were used just as much to evaluate what offered the least potential for performance gains, the knowledge of which was then utilised by Brawn, as what offered the most potential gains.

          4. Brawn did not cheat. Brawn noticed a loophole in the regulations, pointed it out to the FIA, the FIA refused to classify it as a problem, and as a result, Brawn, Toyota and (I think) Williams all showed up with cars utilizing the double diffuser.

            1. Agree no cheating. During the new rules Brawn told the FIA of the loophole and they did not close it. I think contreversy was some top tems askes Charlie Whiting as it was an obvious loophole and he said not legal but Brawn asked someone in FIA whi said it was legal hence the anger from some teams. Brawn was clever to know who to ask.

      3. @mashiat
        I think it’s really weird for Brown to say something like that. Did they screw up so badly during development that they already know there’s no hope for 2017? Is he playing mind games with us? Might he be suffering from depression after spending a few months at Woking?

        Whatever it is, it makes little to no sense to talk about your own team’s perspectives like that unless you know something’s so terribly wrong that you need to lower the expectations early on. Can’t really wrap my head around it.

        1. I think Brown is sandbagging – or at least minimizing expectations. A MOUNTAIN of money has been poured into the McLaren Honda project, and at the very least I expect them to be much improved on last season. Another year without a podium (at least) and things will start to look very bad for McLaren – I doubt Honda will want to go more than another year or two tagging along at the back.

        2. I actually think that their expectations aren’t completely horrible, but the new management team just goes about things differently.

          Instead of talking about how much they will be winning and on the podium, they set the bar low for expectation and hope to surprise by doing better than that.

          But i still think that McLaren will have to be glad to get near the podium this year. Who knows what reliability they will have (afterall, Honda did change the engine quite a bit for this year), and for the chassis, whe have heard them say they are good there, the last 5 years beg to differ.

          1. @bascb I really hope they have taken a leaf out of Red Bull’s book by setting the expectations very low. Doubt it, but the first day of testing should tell us already.

            1. I wouldn’t want to rely on that first day of testing, remember when they were fastest only to later discover that they had a suspension element mounted the wrong way round … @mashiat :-)

        3. First rule of Marketing, under-promise, over-deliver.

          1. agreed. I can still remember a 2014 interview where Ron said how Honda were going to win their first race back to F1. It still makes me laugh at the arrogance.

            1. “…a piece of jewellery…” :)

      4. Yusuke Hasegawa said that Honda’s approach with their new design is “Very high risk”

        They should be careful with their predictions, and that is exactly what they are doing, I see no problem whatsoever

    2. Amazing COTD, one of the best we’ve had!

      1. I agree, fascinating first-hand experience there

    3. Would Vettel really leave Ferrari at this stage? His tenure there would then be seen as abject failure, and I don’t think he’d want that sort of legacy following him around. His move there was painted as a childhood dream trying to do a Schumi…..and so far he has even failed to do an Alonso. Besides, would he even want to partner Hamilton at Merc? I doubt that very much judging by the way he lobbied for a ‘past his prime’ Kimi to be retained.

      1. The answer to both your questions lies in car development.

        Why would Vettel leave? The team he joined is long gone and they have no technical leadership or vision. Recent rumors are the SF15 was so structurally weak it needed to be detuned. Epic failure if true.

        It takes 3 years on average to turn your team around technically. Vettel should leave.

        He lobbied for Kimi for the same reason. Any F1 fan worth his weigh knows Kimi is one of the last true development drivers and any cchief technical officer would be foolish not to recruit Kimi during rebuilding phase. If you want to know how to make your car go faster you ask Kimi. If you fail at executing on his advise, that’s your failure.

        That’s Ferrari. That’s not going to change. Especially with the joke of a technical director currently running the team.

        No F1 driver is afraid of another F1 driver, otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

        Vettel is afraid of being stuck in a going nowhere team, every F1 driver is afraid of that. That’s why Lewis left mclaren, fear.

      2. Not to mention the way he fled RBR when Ricciardo arrived.

        1. Peewood – Vettel did not “flee” RBR because of Ricciardo.

      3. Although people really glorify Vettel’s red marriage, it honestly looked like the best option for him after he had been beaten by Danny the season before. I don’t think he can match the performance of Schumacher and Alonso in sub-par Ferraris, and neither car Ferrari match the Newey rocket ships that Vettel is used to.

        The best option for Vettel is to move to another dominant team in a contracted #1 role. But let’s face it, Red Bull have 2 better drivers in their line up, and Hamilton could beat Vettel as convincingly as Danny did in 2014. My bet is that Vettel won’t join Mercedes until Hamilton has left the team, and there’s no way he’d risk equal status at Mercedes to lose another inter team battle.

        1. @todfod

          Vettel’s red marriage

          Did you mean: ‘red wedding’? ;-)

          1. Hahah.. I Intentionally avoided Red wedding because of some potential backlash ;)

            1. Mr. Todfod, Did any driver from any team having performance differential to Mercedes took any fight with them apart from occassional blip. I am curious to know, please share. May visit history as well

        2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          14th February 2017, 10:41

          @todfod Very good point. My thoughts entirely.

        3. I have no doubt that Vettel thinks much more highly of his own abilities than some armchair pundits do. Rosberg ponders that Mercedes would be wise to consider SV for 2018. I’m sure Nico is correct. And I’m sure Mercedes will do exactly that. But I’m also sure everything is to play for yet while we don’t know where the cars stand amongst each other and what will evolve throughout the season that might affect drivers’ motivations to stay or leave their existing teams.

          So if Ferrari is still floundering throughout the season and SV sees no reason to believe that will change for 2018, then he’ll be on Toto big time, assuming of course Mercedes is still desirable, which most assume they will be. It’s rubbish to claim SV would be afraid of LH or needs some contracted number one status somewhere.

          1. @robbie

            It’s rubbish to claim SV would be afraid of LH or needs some contracted number one status somewhere.

            Vettel doesn’t join a team on equal status, you should know that by now. Anyways, I would think Vettel loves his legacy, and wouldn’t risk getting beaten again. He’s had enough of a rough time with Danny in 2014, and a washed up Kimi gave him a good run for his money this year. I’d expect him to join with Bottas as #2 in the other seat.

            1. @todfod Provide evidence that KR does not have equal status to SV at Ferrari. ‘Wouldn’t risk getting beaten again?’ What a silly notion about an F1 driver, let alone a 4 time Champ. He has nothing left to prove. He like all drivers just needs the car. And have you not been paying attention to Mercedes? They don’t do the number two thing.

            2. Mercedes doesn’t, or more specifically, Lewis really doesn’t ask for #1 status, which is why we see him actually racing teammates like Alonso, Button and Roberg over the years.

              You clearly haven’t been paying attention to Seb’s favouritism at Red Bull, or the fact that Raikkonen is always given an inferior strategy to Vettel at Ferrari. When have you seen Kimi battle Seb really hard on track? And are you seriously suggesting that Ferrari have changed their philosophy of focusing around the #1 driver?

              Vettel is a 4 time WDC and a great talent, but to suggest that he would go in to Mercedes and up against Hamilton without anything to lose is just ridiculous.

        4. RB better drivers? The grin has 4 race wins to 4 titles. No comparison. 3 years in Red Bull to do this. 2014 was more whose car would break least. But like Hamilton fans say about last season. Max has potential to do what Schumacher did and be head and shoulders above his fellow drivers so The Grin may have to run away a zero time world champion.

      4. I think the year with RIC in RB is more damaging for Vettel’s reputation than his stint at Ferrari. It is rather clear (to me at least) that both Alonso and Vettel did their best, unlike their Ferrari. Sure they had their weak races, but the scuderia is having a weak decade so far…

      5. Well, but none of us even Know whether Hamilton is staying on at MErcedes, do we @blackmamba. So I can really see Vettel considering jumping ship when it becomes clear that Ferrari have again failed to exploit the rules shake-up to get to the front.

        Will it happen? Hard to tell. But it is not all that inconceivable

        1. Yeah given that LH spent most of 2016 accusing Mercedes of conspiring against him, it could well be his seat that comes open for 2018. It’s not impossible for an SV/FA pairing at Mercedes speaking from the standpoint of how the contracts lie right now with LH, VB, SV, FA all needing new contracts for 2018.

          1. actually @robbie Hamilton is contracted through 2018 as well at Merc so he has got 2 years left on his contract. If they wanted to get rid of him they would have to break the bank to pay him off. And ask yourself 1 question ….. Why would Mercedes want to replace Hamilton with Vettel? It couldn’t be nationalist tendencies otherwise they would have drafted Pascal in instead of Bottas.

            1. @blackmamba My mistake…thought he was contracted only through 2017. No I don’t think they would break an LH contract. Just not convinced they’ll want to retain him once his contract does run out.

          2. Robbi

            Mercedes want results. They wish to dominate. Given they certainly have screwed up on multiple occasions via either reliability or strategy regardless of driver but seemingly more to the expense of their first champion (you know the feckless, irrational one who somehow wins most of the races) the one that has stayed and honoured his contract despite these occasional problems? Well I am pretty sure your going to be really annoyed at his next pay packet. There won’t be anyone on the grid by then with his level of experience and battle hardness even if he does not win another championship, bar Vettel and I just do not see that employment or no further wins as likely.

            I know your views Robbi but to suggest LH did not have a justified issue with how the team behaved at certain points in the last year (don’t even mention Monaco 15) not least the generally accepted appalling orders in the last race? You would seem to be picking on an aspect of his behaviour that is the least concern. He speaks as he sees it. (no I do not condone all he does but I do not blame him in Abu, Austria or other races just because he needs to be somehow grateful for sharing a fast car when his keeps breaking down)

            Rosberg dumping them in a mess after all they did to secure his win would seem a far worse crime frankly.

            Anyway, we have had this argument before and have different views but I am pretty sure that if LH stays with Mercedes, they will renew his contract at the end of 18 and I very much, providing the results keep coming, and that his desire is still there, that your prediction will bear fruit even if you want it to.

            1. And there you go propagating that same misguided sentiment that reliability is some guarantee and was within Merc’s control, and the only alternative to that MUST be conspiracy.

              Stayed and honoured his contract? Sure. While also threatening to quit, and while dragging the team through the mud all the way. And you wonder why they didn’t go out of their way to help him screw Nico in the last race? Perhaps there wouldn’t have been an order for him to speed up had he not told them ahead of time he wouldn’t do what he ended up doing. Perhaps if he hadn’t immediately assumed that unreliability could only mean conspiracy. Perhaps if he hadn’t had a hissy fit in Spain. Threatened some tell-all in 10 years time. Then maybe they would have kept mum when he tried to back Nico into danger.

              Interestingly in your last paragraph you’re not even sure LH will stay at Merc to see his contract through but yet Nico is the criminal that has left them in some supposed mess. Time will tell. Maybe by now LH has apologized for being the handful he has been via the media. Let’s see how the season goes. Let’s see if Bottas gives him a little bit of difficulty and LH has a technical problem, such that he’ll go off again in public, or have another hissy fit in private. Let’s see how entitled LH still is, or if someone has brought him back down to Earth. More of the same rubbish from LH and they’ll gladly get their results from other drivers and let him go be entitled somewhere else. He just won’t be worth the headache of having to publish letters defending the whole staff.

              Odds are though that VB being the one not engrained in the team will be starting relatively on his hind foot, although the cars will be new to all, so LH shouldn’t have too much difficulty this year. I just wonder if the damage has already been done. Perhaps if he grows up and is no longer prodded into ridiculous accusations borne from tensions in a difficult and unique rivalry, they’ll want to keep him.

              What did that Merc principal say (I forget his name) when the phone rang and he saw it was Toto…’What now, about Lewis?’ Turned out it was about Nico that time.

            2. Nico is the criminal that has left them in some supposed mess

              Erm, isn’t that true @robbie? Even Lauda said that: “Rosberg made us look dumb now”.

    4. and Hamilton could beat Vettel as convincingly as Danny did in 2014

      No way Hamilton could beat Vettel like you say. That would mean Rosberg could beat Vettel and I don’t believe that for one second. When Vettel had the most dominate car, he was absolute perfection. When Hamilton had the most dominate car he would makes some idiotic mistake every 3rd race.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        14th February 2017, 10:53

        It’s so hard to quantify and causes many contradictions but although I think Hamilton is the best driver, nothing will ever be smooth sailing with him. I think the only person that can beat Lewis Hamilton is Lewis Hamilton. Many may say this means other more complete drivers are ‘better’ but personally I just see a flawed genius with unparalleled natural talent. I see Lewis and Max as similar naturally talented freaks, I see Alonso and Ricciardo as the drivers with unbelievable overall ability that would probably be the first drivers I’d want on my roster if I was a team owner. Vettel and Rosberg are perfect storm drivers, if you give them the perfect ingredients they will deliver like robots week in week out, but they need the best equipment and environment, their abilities are honed and worked at rather than natural.

        1. @rdotquestionmark

          Completely agree with your grouping of drivers. Although, I don’t think Rosberg was really that much of a perfectionist when the car was perfect.

          I think Hamilton is the kind of driver that can step it up when he has intense competition from his teammate and performs at his best, Seb on the other hand, is best when he doesn’t have competition from his teammate. Alonso will perform at his best regardless of the situation.

          1. Nah Alonso is past it, that’s why Ferrari dumped him. He is difficult to work with and de-stabilising for any team he joins. Most would take Vettel over Alonso every day of the week.

      2. Lol…of course Vettel managed to deliver 4 in a row given he was driving against the mega talent that is Mark Webber, the guy who couldn’t even come second in the championship even in the dominant Red Bulls. Lol….the first time Vettel faced any stiff competition he got walloped and trounced off to Ferrari to seek shelter…lol…

        1. Most drivers would love, as a reward for getting ‘walloped’, a drive at Ferrari. Most drivers aspire to be at Ferrari. Hindsight is 20/20 but the thinking at the time was that FA may have left there at the wrong time and we debated for months who made the better decision between he and SV.

          I envision that SV no longer had the RBR car that he was so accustomed to for so many thousands of kilometres, and that was extremely hard to deal with. An underperforming car that was unreliable as well. You try being happy with a Lada when you been driving around a treasure that’s reliable and on rails for years.

          Along comes DR for whom this piece of junk is the best car he has ever had, in a no pressure situation, and we know what happened. If SV bests DR it’s no surprise. If DR bests SV it’s gravy for him.

          Give DR and SV an apples to apples situation and I’m sure they’d be much closer than SV’s last year at RBR would indicate. He didn’t just suddenly forget how to drive and win. Let’s see DR win 4 WDC’s in a row before we start promoting him over SV who actually has the hardware.

          1. I agree with your analogy but when LH was given very similar in 09 he did not have a hissy fit and storm off. He stayed in the fight. Right to the end and won races.

            And that terrible Lada Red Bull had got the awful result of second in the WCC! And won races. It certainly did not start at the back of the grid for half the year.

            No SV was his own worst enemy and the minute things got a little tough and he only had the second best car. Well, we saw what happened.

            1. Yeah my point is that it hardly felt like a second place car to SV. It felt far different and far worse than that. A little tough? Come off it. Horner was running Renault into the ground for their lack of performance and progress.

              I don’t get your LH analogy. He didn’t come off 4 years of having a car/driver relationship that they all dream of having. They had drastically changed the regs, especially the PU. LH didn’t suddenly have an engine way down on power and a car that felt nothing like his previous 4 Championship years. Sure SV lost it emotionally in that first year of the huge reg changes, which, btw, many said at the time were meant to stop the RBR tidal wave, and many predicted it wouldn’t, until we saw them race in anger. Sure, some of it was on SV, but as I say, you try going from a treasure to a Lada. His skill behind the wheel should be the last thing of question. But drivers are coloured by their car all the time. Suddenly DR was better than a 4 timer, just because he got the seat? Better check how he won the races he did that year, and was SV’s car even running when he did? I’m no fan of SV’s hissy fits, but I sure felt for him that year.

        2. Webber beat Rosberg when they were together so by this reasoning Hamilton lost to someone who was lesser than a driver Vettel trounced?

    5. Is he saying they will consistantly finish in second or third to take the title with consistency? There are sponsers at stake, nobody is going to send out a message like that imo. maybe they are telling there investors the oposite. Maybe they feel really confident about the car and are lowering expectation so they can blow us away. lol. im just kidding, but you never know.

      1. My bet is that they will struggle to make Q3 and have a best finish of 4th.

    6. Welcome to the party Mr. Dallara. You’re not the first one to say so, but probably also not the last one. And clearly not the least one.

      Yeah, the reason F1 went this way was because Red Bull thought they could jump Mercedes with more DF and McLaren jumped on that oppertunity as well as Ron felt they could also make a jump. Ecclestone liked it, Todt was nowhere and Sky was doing the job of telling the public how slow these cars were long enough to numb everyone down into thinking that we badly need to make this change and to make them corner faster again.

      I do think that the cars might look a lot better this year, so that is a win of sorts. I hope to enjoy great footage of cars going fast, and who knows maybe someone surprises us and we get some close racing afterall, despite these changes.

    7. Zak Brown’s comment is probably accurate and realistic, but just very stark when printed in black and white. What he doesn’t say, of course, is why he thinks they won’t win. He’s happy with his drivers, or at least one of them. He must be reasonably happy with his engineering team otherwise he would have had at least informal talks with Paddy Lowe. Is it really just another year of focussing attention on the Honda engine?

      McLaren have been too slow to even consider the thought of sandbagging, so this feels like just setting expectations lower than reality and then flattering to outperform. Perhaps this ties in with his negotiation strategy on finding a new title sponsor for 2018.

    8. Imho, Alonso may take some podium places in this 2017.

      1. @deadchicken I’m not a McLaren fan, much less an Alonso fan, but the team and the guy need some good milestones for a change. If what Zak (is that his real name? Come’on) is saying is true, we might see Alonso following his fellow Webber to WEC sooner than expected. Maybe to complete this 2017 in WEC and wait for a vacancy in Mercedes in 2018. I don’t see any other way he can reach a third WDC if the top management believes they will be winless again.

        1. If Alonso goes to WEC (I think that it’s plausible and reasonable to expect this move, specially if the McLaren 2017 is a bread toaster like the 2015) the WEC category will gain a lot of fans, stealing them directly from the formula 1.
          I’m saying this because Alonso is important for the audience, just like Vettel or Hamilton he has a lot of fans. Loosing Haryanto and maybe Nico Rosberg is not a big problem, but loosing someone that is beloved by fans like Alo/Vet/Ham could be very dangerous for the brand.
          Eventually, I think that Liberty Media will try to stop his move, forcing him a bit (offering some money through sponsors and using some political influence) to convince him eventually to change team but remaining in f1, for example things just like coming back to Ferrari or going to Mercedes… But at the moment Mercedes seems more interested in Vettel (according to Nico Rosberg’s words)
          Let’s see what happens.

          1. I think, or at least it is my hope, that these new cars will be far more fun for the likes of FA to drive, and that will help him stay in F1 until it is truly time to go and not before. WEC will be there for him even if it isn’t for another 5 years, but once he leaves F1 he likely won’t come back at this stage, so I bet FA himself is hopeful that F1 has become what he hopes from these changes.

    9. Probably an honest response or a way of keeping expectations low so if they were to get a podium finish team morale would go through the roof.

    10. @keithcollantine The mini summary for today’s round up says Rosberg:Red Bull will court Vettel, but the article is about Mercedes. Just thought you should know!

    11. A very wet Monaco or maybe Montreal or a Spa race and there just might be a McLaren on the podium, that too only if key front-runners drop out.

    12. If what he says is true, Alonso would have quit already.

      1. Yeah I wondered that too. Hard for FA or ZB to know exactly where the
        car will stand performance wise, including reliability, but one does wonder if FA would have loved to already be at Mercedes but just contractually couldn’t without it costing him a massive amount of money. And with Mercedes strength during these years it must be hard for any driver who isn’t in a Merc or an RBR to imagine winning a race let alone a season. You’d think FA would already be at Merc if he could. At least from this armchair anyway.

    13. McLaren can win a race, anyone can with luck. Monaco 1996 springs to mind. Maybe he meant they will not win by having the outright fastest car in a race?

    14. Active suspension all the way, infact active aero aswell.

      All active components make cars better at following another car.

      Also all active stuff makes it cheaper for lower budget teams…

      Right now top teams already have aero and suspension that mimics active properties. Giving same results would be straight up active components doing same work for fraction of dev cost.

    15. Brown is speaking the obvious about McLaren. They never had to worry about winless seasons when they had Hamilton.

      1. Or when they had Mercedes. FA is no less capable of winning. Some even still place him above LH in ability. But even the best drivers can only do so much if the car isn’t there, as we all know.

      2. Alonso is as capable of winning as Hamilton.
        In fact, i believe Alonso would hardly have lost a championship to Rosberg the way Hamilton did last year.

        Hamilton said that after Suzuka he went back to the factory to solve his problems with bad starts and after that, it didn’t happened again. But man, Suzuka was the 17th race of the season. His starts were bad since race 1 and it took SEVENTEEN RACES for him to assume something was not fine.

        Alonso would never take this long and lose that many races Hamilton lost because of a single problem.

    16. Is Rosberg going to be in the press each week talking nonsense? I mean, we already had Lauda for that…

    17. Thanks for COTD, @keithcollantine

      As much as I get incredibly frustrated with F1, your website is always peerless in its brilliance. :)

      1. @andybantam That’s very kind Andy, thanks very much :-)

    18. Re: Brown stating that McLaren won’t win any races this year:

      Appreciate the honesty. Better to under promise an over deliver, than the other way around…

    19. Vettel and Bottas at Mercedes in 2019 would be nice…

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