McLaren: Reports of 2018 Mercedes deal are “wrong”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: McLaren racing director Eric Boullier denies reports the team will switch back to using Mercedes engines in 2018.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

Ahead of his fourth race, has Lance Stroll demonstrated he would have been better off doing F2 instead of F1?

Imagine how much quicker he’d be had he raced an F2 car, and imagine how many more points Williams could be scoring with Wehrlein alongside Massa.

A season as an official reserve incorporating an F2 campaign and plenty of testing with enough certainty of a 2018 deal to warrant the advance payment of daddy’s financial services would have been ultimately best for both parties.

Williams don’t lose points to an unprepared rookie, Stroll gets to develop away from the burning scrutiny of the paddock and can make a better impression when he finally does get his chance.
WilliamB (@William-brierty)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ccolanto, Mike Weilding, Oliver and Jake Kilshaw!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jacky Ickx put his Ferrari on pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama today in 1972.

April on F1 Fanatic

A selection of F1 Fanatic’s top reads from last month which you might have missed:

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

29 comments on “McLaren: Reports of 2018 Mercedes deal are “wrong””

  1. Aha, Eddie Jordan has got out of his submarine again.

    1. He has been right every once in a while. Of course, he is not the only one predicting this. The longer it goes on, the more cause for this kind of speculation.

      As the McLaren denials increase should we believe them more, or less? Hmmmm…

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        30th April 2017, 1:21

        You know the old saying right? “You can never confirm a rumour until it’s officially been denied.”

      2. Duncan Snowden
        30th April 2017, 1:46

        It’s possible EJ doesn’t have the full story. If McLaren and Mercedes have agreed an option for next season to be activated should Honda fail to hit a specific target (say, before the summer break… which is how that might have popped up in what he’s heard about it, because, let’s be honest, it just doesn’t ring true that a team, not even one in McLaren’s situation, would even consider changing a modern hybrid PU midway through the season) then they could both be right in a sense: Jordan is wrong on the details, but McLaren does have a “deal” with Mercedes.

        The more I think about it, the more plausible it sounds. Even Boullier’s rather odd choice of words, “I am very confident to tell you…” makes more sense in this context. Okay, it’s not his first language, but that isn’t actually a denial. He’s confident, but not certain. It sounds to me more of a statement for Honda’s benefit that he has faith they’ll hit the target, whatever it is.

    2. He’s got one half of it correct already.

  2. Say what you want about Stroll, but compare him with Stoffel. Sure the situations couldn’t be more different, but Stoffel has never, ever been anywhere close to Alonso since the season started. Kevin suffered the same when he started alongside Button in 2014. And I rate them both much higher than Stroll.

    Give him a chance. Palmer’s now on his second season and he’s been crashing and failing all the time while his team mate gets in the top 10. Same with Gutierrez back in the day.

    1. Considering Stoffel’s engines sometimes just fails just because one of the engineers didn’t look at it in a polite way. He’s barely had a weekend were he’s done the entire FP1 to FP3. He doesn’t get enough time to feel the car or track.

    2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      30th April 2017, 2:37

      Considering Stoffel has had 5 engines changes in less that 4 races I don’t think it’s comparable at the moment. Every race so far there’s been an issue with the car or worse it didn’t even start. Hopefully he gets a clean grand prix in Russia.

    3. It’s difficult for me to see Stoffel being put there as a comparison to Stroll when you look at Stoffel’s mind blowing success in the junior categories and then Alonso recently saying that he rates Stoffel very highly and we all know how talented Alonso is. If McLaren-Honda get their car sorted to an extent where points are genuinely reachable, I think we’ll see Stoffel fighting with Alonso for those points.

      As for Palmer, I hope he’s replaced by Sirotkin in the near future because he’s done nothing to prove he can do good in the long run. Same thing with Ericcson. Hope Giovanazzi replaces him cause Marcus isn’t the real deal at all

    4. Oh, are we Stoffel bashing?
      BEFORE raceweekend one started, he was a week behind the others in test mileage.
      The guy doesn’t know the car, since it breaks down if frowned upon.
      In Australia he needed to reboot the damned flight computer mid-crash. But he reached the finish line, while counting the gears in his head, since the display was tired. Alonso just parked the car.
      Hi didn’t know the Chinese track, other than simulations, and the whole Friday went up in smog. Had fuel flow issues in qualifying, and fuel pressure issues ended his race.
      Bahrain: Stoffels FP1 ended halfway due to car troubles, which also costs him half of FP2 since the mechanics aren’t used to work on the car :p Once he got out of the garage, the car ran troublefree for less than 10 minutes. FP3 was OK-ish, but qualifying with poor brakes harmed him. What can I say about his race? Didn’t start.
      Russia: FP1 a few minutes and FP2 late to the party due to engine replacement, Race starts from the back for sure due penalty points, so no need to give it all in qualification.
      And you’re one of those claiming Lewis was unfairly handicapped last year? Are you serious?

  3. Im going to ask this question. F1 dstarts clamping down on engine oil burning and Mercedes start loosing their advantage. Did Merces use fuel burning to get their advantage throughout?

    1. or have Ferrari copied it?

    2. NairobiF1, whilst there have been claims to that effect, I don’t buy it given that most of those restrictions actually kicked in back in mid 2016 (with the regulations being tightened up from the Canadian GP onwards) – their performance advantage didn’t exactly diminish in the latter part of 2016.

      Furthermore, Mercedes still has a pretty substantial performance advantage over the rest of the field – even with Hamilton being a bit off the pace, he was still over 1.2s faster than Ricciardo in qualifying. Apart from Ferrari, Mercedes’s performance advantage seems to be just as big as it was in 2016, if not even larger in some cases.

      Really, it looks more like it is a case of Ferrari having made a big leap in performance more than Mercedes falling back. When you think about it, that is not that surprising – we know that Marchionne has been pumping a lot of extra cash into Ferrari, and in particular into their engine division (Montezemolo suggested, shortly after he left, that Marchionne was throwing an extra $100 million a year into the engine division alone).

      Asides from that, we know that there had been allegations in 2015 that Ferrari was exploiting loopholes in the windtunnel testing regulations when developing parts for Haas, and that the team may have been able to use some of that time to develop parts for themselves. Whilst some thought at the time that might have been used to develop parts for 2016, it now looks more likely that the effort went on developing parts for 2017 instead.

  4. I was reading just yesterday about how Russia had been considering becoming a night race. It’s a shame, because I did a quick image search of the Olympic Park at sunset, and it actually makes the car parks look much better, and the stadiums lit up are stunning.

    It does look stunning in the day time, however if it were me I would have the race ending around, or just after, sunset. That way you get the daylight for the most part, but the dark effect later in the race

    1. The mountains are stunning but the theme park, oh dear

  5. Agree with the COTD, just one thing that puts me on a wonder though… Wonder how much the Stroll money has been a factor for the apparent Williams improvements that have them moving up the grid rather than the direction they were headed the previous two seasons. If the trade-off indeed is Stroll in the seat vs. lack of improvement in the 2017 car, is it worth it?

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      30th April 2017, 5:52

      I’d say his money probably hasn’t played a massive role in Williams improvement as they also acquired new staff like Paddy Lowe in the off season, who is just an absolute gold mine of knowledge from Mercedes, and that in itself is worth more than all the money that Stroll Sr. could possibly throw at them.

      It’s most certainly helped as more money is almost never a bad thing (in F1 at least), but I don’t get the impression that Stroll’s contribution has been the deciding factor.

      1. @tophercheese21, I would have to question whether Lowe really has made a significant impact on the team yet, or indeed any impact at all. Lowe officially left Mercedes in January and, having been on an enforced period of “gardening leave”, only took up his position on the 16th March.

        He may be able to influence the design of some of the components which are bolted onto the car towards the end of the season but, given the lead times to design, produce and test new components, which can be in the order of months for larger design changes, any updates to the car now will have been designed long before Lowe started working at Williams (I believe that, in the past, Newey has talked about it taking between 6 to 12 months for a new designer joining a team to begin to be able to make meaningful changes to the development of a car).

        At the same time it is possible that Lowe may have been enticed by things that could be influenced by the Stroll’s investment in the team, such as commitments to invest in new facilities for the team (as well as the potential for a higher wage).

        Would Williams have been able to go on the recruitment drive that they have done recently without the additional resources coming in from the Stroll family?
        Those staff haven’t had enough time to make any impact yet, but a large chunk of cash hitting Williams’s accounts in the middle of last year? That will definitely have had an impact by now.

    2. I think it’s others moving backwards that’s allowed Williams to move forward

  6. jpvalverde85
    30th April 2017, 2:23

    Eddie is wrong, no deal starts at 2018 for Merc engines (actually will start oct 2017), so…he’s wrong haha

  7. mark jackson
    30th April 2017, 2:49

    @ COTD. Daddy’s check says F1 not F2.

  8. Looking at the speed traps, Honda did ok …Alonso is a joke . What’s he saying? Without the Honda engine he would reign. Yeah right. It’s over son. Retire. 2 seconds, ok. We believe you.

    1. There’s more to straight-line speed than speed traps though

      1. Now the problem with the Honda engine doesn’t seem to be top speed but perhaps drivability and acceleration. The first is definitely an engine/software issue fully in Honda’s hands whereas the second one is a part chassis/part engine issue. The acceleration will suffer if there isn’t enough mechanical grip from the tyre/chassis combo.

        If you read Ben Anderson’s track side notes (on autosport live) from the qualifying and practice, you will see that Honda seemed to be making a lot of software adjustments from lap to lap to reduce the wheelspin at the exit of corners.
        My reading of this situation is that now that Honda has unexpectedly found some reliability, they are able to fine-tune the engines to extract more power. The top speed is proof of that. Alonso’s claim that they are losing 2.5-3 seconds is clearly exaggerated. The total deficit of McLaren to Mercedes yesterday in Q2 was 3.4 seconds. And that could easily have been 2.5 seconds as Fernando was the only one of two drivers to actually not improve from Q1 to Q2. While everyone improved by about 0.5-0.7, Fernando actually became slower by 0.3.

        So, Fernando is basically implying that all the gap is because of Honda and McLaren is the best chassis on the grid. I am sure, no one believes that.

    2. Straight line top-speed is influenced by downforce levels. Less wing gives higher top speeds. The backside to that coin is low speed handling and early acceleration. There is an optimal setting for each car, but it isn’t the same for each car. That’s why Williams is always fast on the straights, while being eaten alive by a ginger-bull…

    3. He’s no joke, Honda sucks…dah

  9. Ferrari fired Alonso. Let’s hope Honda or Renault can deliver for him . Tick Tock, Tick tick.

  10. Alonso: “I think we were quite competitive on the corners.”
    There must be circuits with only corners, and a race next month :p

  11. Roger Krichbaum
    30th April 2017, 22:29

    On the US broadcast, I heard Toto say “Ok to use push to pass for short periods on the straights” during the closing laps. They still have a bit in hand I guess…didn’t see any blue smoke

Comments are closed.