Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Hamilton wants to see McLaren “in the mix with us this year”

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton is hoping McLaren are back at the sharp end this year.

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Is Toro Rosso-Honda going to be the surprise of the year?

I’m just happy that it’s a positive start on a new partnership for Honda and Toro Rosso.

McLaren and Honda was a gamble which didn’t pay off, involved management changes, strategy changes and when things like that happen it can easily make it difficult to see the wood through the trees. It’s unfortunate but let’s not forget the issues Renault had, not too dissimilar to Honda, albeit Honda’s were worse, now with the running seen on the first day Hulkenberg and the Renault look good as do Red Bull.

I really do hope Toro Rosso have a good season and that it gives the Red Bull team in general a difficult decision to make come the end of this season, although if the Honda engine is good enough for the Red Bull team to be in at least podium contention I can’t seen them not going fully with Honda.

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

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50 comments on “Hamilton wants to see McLaren “in the mix with us this year””

  1. I didn’t understand the ‘Racefans (Facebook)’ thingy. Should I re-activate year long abandon useless social media again so I could read two paragraph post?

    And it leads to Racefans FB account, not the post its-self. You guys need to link it right to the post not letting your users scramble the page to find it out which one. It’s like making me find the one single tweet by giving me your twitter address.

    Better yet, you actually could embed FB post directly in the article just like twitter status.

    1. i dont even hav a fb account

    2. I also noticed this. Maybe it is Mr Racefans that’s been interviewed by Facebook. Or the other way around. Anyway, it does not reveal the source.

    3. I don’t like those facebook links at the top either, @keithcollantine.
      Leave the social media stuff at the bottom, and only include it if is an original post.

      1. It is an original post.

        Maybe Keith should try to find a new place to post them, as it seems some people are blocked out of the content for various reasons.
        Yesterday there was also a similar link and it worked fine, this one for some reason just re-directs to Racefans’ Facebook page

      2. only include it if is an original post

        That link, like the other Facebook ones which have been in the round-up recently, were all to original material which we obtained while at the F1 test this week.

    4. @ruliemaulana Apologies the link in here was wrong, it shouldn’t have been to the page, it’s been changed now.

      1. @keithcollantine Thanks for the polite answer to a harsh comment :)

  2. JohnnyRye (@)
    2nd March 2018, 1:19

    The cynic in me thinks Hamilton wants to see McLaren do well this year because it’s it would help his contract negotiations.

    More competitive teams gives Hamilton more bargaining power, and if Hamilton is available I have no doubt McLaren would be open to having him even with Lando Norris waiting in the wings.

    1. I think you must be a real cynic … where did you dream that one up, I would have thought being 4 x WDC is all the bargaining power he needs.

      1. It’s irrelevant how many WDC’s he has if Mercedes knows that none of the other big teams will take him (next to their current driver).

    2. @johnnyrye Why would Hamilton ever want to return to McLaren? He left for a reason (basically the team’s mismanagement) and that was when they still had Mercedes engines. Their current package is not nearly as promising, given that they are still massively under-powered.

    3. @johnnyrye Don’t think so, I think it’s mainly about the history of the team and Hamilton’s history with McLaren. You ought to sound supportive of a British team, and as a fan you want a tighter field. Nothing out of the ordinary I think, just typical filler or incendiary questions.

      Cotd I’m happy that there’s hope for Honda, it’s no secret RB have been eyeing Honda for 2 or 3 years I remember seeing RB sponsorship on Honda bikes (not riders) a while back. Maybe it wasn’t just that Honda failed McLaren, maybe Honda were actively looking for RB. In the end I say hope because you never know when the company might pull the plug.

      1. Why be supportive of a team because its British? Makes no difference where tbe teams from.

  3. To answer the question;
    In short, there is at the moment a 30/40% chance they actually levelled with McLaren. So… yes.
    The only sure thing is that they have established reliability, maybe even 7 races but 4/5 for sure = that is exceptional by itself if you believed all the ”experts”. The problem of this week is that due to the combination of the weather, the track surface and the new tyre performance ranges, the margin of error is a little big this year. They have a good in-season record but the next week will be all-revealing. Normally the first week of testing is ~60% accurate. They seem to be 4th to 7th. Can’t make it any more bold then this.

    2 weeks ago I mentioned in the same prediction of Mercedes being 1st (can’t be fanatics really questioned that, oh wait a few did), what would RBR and McLaren do?
    The answer seems to be: RBR just improved their aero to 2nd best and Renault improved their PU, but – just like I predicted – it seems Renault finally made RBR competitive only to be it themselves too.
    McLaren seems to have been lying about the chassis. The pattern is too strong. Alonso has done it again. It looks like they have the worst chassis of the Renault PUs. That is unacceptable. Although I expected it – Ron Dennis looks to be right, again. All the journalists that provided hit pieces about Honda should get sued if it turns out the actual gap between Honda and McLaren is indeed 1 place in the WDC now, but more importantly, the new gen of F1 fans should be very sceptic of them in the future.

    1. McLaren seems to have been lying about the chassis. The pattern is too strong. Alonso has done it again.

      Please explain this statement

      1. @francuis – yesterday, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes were simulating race, and McLaren wasn’t able to have the same pace as Ferrari or Mercedes. But McLaren was using hyper-soft and ultra-soft tyres, whereas Mercedes had mediums.
        We obviously don’t know the fuel loads, but it looks like McLaren are far from the two top teams. You could argue that Renault intentionally decreased the power output of their engine to make sure that everyone will not have problems during testing. And that’s why McLaren weren’t more rapid on softer tyres (hyper-soft => ultra-soft => super-soft => soft => only now medium) than, say, Mercedes. But Mercedes themselves could also decrease the power output.
        So why McLaren were so slow? We don’t know the difference between the tyres. But let’s say there’s 0.5 sec difference between each closest pair of tyres. So, hyper-soft must be 2.5 sec faster than medium. But McLaren were still slower than Mercedes.
        All I’ve said is a speculation, and everything may change during next week tests and in Australia. For now, I’d rather think that McLaren were self-assured that their chassis is the best.

        1. I can’t understand why Mclaren has so many haters. Most of you guys are waiting in the corner for Mclaren to fail and start to brag about it. I am just happy because at last we have some testing going. The only thing to blame Mclaren is because they only blamed Honda for the past 3 years, but it was obvious that they did many things wrong. A powerful and reliable engine though is No1 . I just hope that one more team is added to the top ones or at least to close the gap.

          1. Because they wasted Jenson and Fernando years !!!

          2. dio – I am not a hater of McLaren. I simply tried to understand what is going on. I actually want McLaren to succeed after three years of disaster.

        2. I think you are reading far too much into what was a very disrupted 1st test. We all know that you cannot read too much into testing at the best of times and it is certainly far too early to be making bold statements about performance based on the little factual information known so far.

        3. @sviat I don’t think many were expecting Mac to be up there with Mercedes and Ferrari.

        4. Sviat, the problem with your hypothesis is that even the teams themselves haven’t the faintest idea what sort of performance differential there really was between the tyre compounds, given that they were operating in conditions that are so far outside of the normal ambient temperatures they usually race in.

          Some teams suggested that, when the temperature is that low, the compound itself is effectively redundant given the main challenge would be maintaining tyre temperature when the track temperature is about 30-40ºC lower than normal – being able to heat up the tyres would make a far larger difference.

          Even in the best of circumstances, the headline times are very rarely that useful anyway – I’ve seen it pointed out that, over the past decade, the WCC winning team has only ever set the fastest time about 20% of the time.

          1. anon – I agree. Probably, I am too pessimistic.

      2. @francuis
        Sviat explained it decently but I want to add that Horner and Tost both mentioned McLaren was just upping the wing and tricking the vortexes (said in very simple English) at certain circuits to show good apex speeds but lack even more top speed so that it could be blamed on Honda.

        Of course that may be lying as they’re potential suppliers if Honda doesn’t buy STR but themselves, but it must be said that Tost doesn’t B.S around as reputation and Horner applied the same trick a few times in the past decade. ”The Alonso has done it again” is that I kept saying last year, it’s a fact customers don’t win titles, they may win a very select few races, but no titles, and Alonso is known in the paddock for being such a good sponsored driver (legacy of defeating Schumi) that every team he joins make hasted decisions pure on his emotions = hence the team always ends up worst.
        1. He could’ve won in 2007, but couldn’t handle Dennis liked Hamilton and blackmailed McLaren only to make Kimi WDC.
        2. He left at McLaren for 2008, and Hammy won, therefore as I view him as equal to Hamilton in terms of quality (never get it twisted), he wasted 2 WDCs.
        3. He got offered to join RBR before 2010, declined (mostly for money), RBR wins 4x.
        4. He got offered to join Mercedes thereafter, rejected, same thing happened.
        5. He goes to McLaren after Ron Dennis wants to become a works team, Honda screws up, he pressures them to leave after Ron is outed, and he looks (not sure yet) to be worst Renault-powered car.
        It’s not even back luck at this point, you’d be rich if you bet against him in favour of his former teams by now.

    2. McLaren has always overstated the magnificence of their chassis. They’re only lying to themselves.

    3. 2 weeks ago I mentioned

      just like I predicted

      Why don’t you start your own site, @xiasitlo.
      You will probably have noticed that many regulars here dislike the way you are trying to make your points (blowing your own trumpet and disparaging comments about others).
      I even agree with you every once in a while but dislike your style. It’s a bit like Trump in politics.

      PS the Mexico performance (fast in corners, slow on straight) was all about a superior Honda engine masking a poor chassis :p

      1. Or it could just have been McLaren loading the car up with downforce which would make it look that way. They have already stated that they refused to run lower downforce (as Redbull have often done) at Hondas request to give them more straightline speed.

      2. And yes, of course I know first week etc, if McLaren turns out good, I’ll be the first to say it as I don’t support any team blindly, etc etc etc.

        Until you make an account Evogoni, and I can locate/follow you, I’m not reacting to you any-more. Just a PSA, don’t care if you read it here, it’s the one and only time I’ll say it. And the reason for my style is the fact that even when I write less bold or more ”politely” and people like @peartree and I make comments, we get ganged up by ”white-accounts”, with personal attacks, when the facts we write aren’t lies or speculation and every-time we mention this the comments gets deleted.

  4. Oh and question from the forum;

    The $1,9 billion of Liberty needs to redistributed. Short answer.
    All the problems; the important of aero, the competitiveness of new teams, the too complex hybrid PUs, the track action of the circuits, the steward system, they can all be solved if you invest more in those things. I keep saying buy and rebuild the circuits (I say leave DRS able to open all the time if we can’t extend some circuits because of MotoGP), distribute the price money like the BPL, ground-effects like Indycar and WEC used, hire actual former F1 stars as full-time stewards.
    The majority of fans don’t know (….), in the last survey the fans asked for refuelling, customers cars(!) and multiple tyre suppliers.

  5. I’d be OK with a mid-March slot for the Australian GP only if the race calendar remained as condensed as it is now.

  6. The imediate benefit of the McLaren finishing in the points is it takes from the others seeking the championship points too. Might be a close year so any points kept from the opposition gets you there sooner. During the season the teams in the championship hunt will all have moments of dominance but the Mercedes will remain strong each and every race. So the benefit of McLaren grabbing any points ultimately makes the championship easier for Lewis. The Ferrari chance is more about reliability and keeping things within reach. It would be a surprise
    to not see Lewis win ten on the way to number five

  7. There’s been very little (as in: none) non-F1 news lately, @keithcollantine, something I thought was supposed to actually go the other direction with the new website.

    1. @damon there’s an F2 driver in round up

    2. @damon Formula E tomorrow…

  8. Guys, after those winter testing i really like how halo looks on cars. And in my opinion Mercs has ugliest implementation of it, as it really stands out on their car. But on ferrari or toro-rosso it looks great :)

  9. Oh wow! I got comment of the day! (Cheers Keith)

    For McClaren it’s a matter of time, but everything looks good at the moment for them. But I watched the McClaren 4 part film they did on the 2017 season (On Amazon Prime) and I must admit i’ve got mixed views about them as a company…

  10. The McLaren chassis was overstated because very few people can stomach the idea Alonso gets more out of a car lap after lap than anyone else.

    1. and if we try to counter that, we are biased, anti-Alonso, and we shouldn’t be here because clearly it isn’t the kind attitude a page like racefans needs.

      Also doesn’t suit Big Joe’s idea that all the teams touched by Alonso-Midas haven’t yet found a suitable substitute.

      Am I right or what Big Joe?

    2. BTW you should register to the page, it is half the fun you know?!

    3. Except when Hamilton got more out the same car when they were teamates, or Ferrari being better with Vettel and getting rid of Alonso. Alonso is however current the 3rd most successful driver on the grid but about the 5th best ad he is old now.

      1. What? I’m far from being an alonso fan, but hamilton had an exceptional rookie year and alonso swapped from michelin to bridgestone right that year, causing an off season for him, and vettel so far did worse than alonso.

        Alonso got closer to the championship than vettel with a much slower ferrari than red bull than ferrari was slower than mercedes this year!

        I would say of the current grid, alonso\verstappen\hamilton\vettel are tier 1, ricciardo very close to them and possibly even in tier 1 and then in tier 2 you have the good midfield drivers like sainz, perez, ocon, hulkenberg plus drivers who shouldn’t be in a top car like raikkonen and bottas.

        Hard to say who’s better between alonso, hamilton and verstappen imo.

    4. Well said and very true Joe..

  11. So do we Lewis, so do we.

  12. Yea right – Hamilton wants McLaren to be competitive. He knows there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell McLaren will be with one second of the Merc and that is being optimistic.
    He likes the situation just as it is now – a weak teammate and other than Ferrari, a field unable to get within eyeshot of his machinery.
    The last thing he wants to see is Alonso in equal machinery.
    It’s easy to talk when you know it won’t happen.

    1. @Web Alonso is not in Hamilton’s league and i mean in all aspect. Get of your high horse, Hamilton already beat Alonso despite he was a No2 driver like five or six races, McLaren even gifted Alonso the Monaco race win despite Hamilton faster in all FP sessions so McLaren fueled his car more to benefit Alonso. Alonso is overrated IMO, destroyed by Trulli in 2004, lost to Hamilton etc. Alonso is the one that doesn’t like a strong teammate in the same car that coward. Like i said before, Alonso is not in Hamilton’s league.

  13. @Markp

    More out of the same car? Can you back that up with facts?
    I decided to research the battle in 2007 and found some interesting facts (not opinions).

    First, it appears Alonso was giving Hamilton his setup data until Hungary. How valuable is it for a rookie to get setup data from a 2 time world champion and one of the all time greats?

    In fact, I think it is safe to say Alonso would have finished ahead of Hamilton quite handily. Hamilton recently stated Alonso was the only driver he learned from. Perhaps this is what he is referring to.


    The link below shows the race to race comparison. Very close. Unlike the claim by some Hamilton fans that Hamilton mopped the floor with Alonso. Hardly! Equal number of wins. Hamilton had two DNFs due to crashes – Alonso one.



    In the end I think Hamilton had an incredible year and is truly a great driver. But without Alonso’s help he would have finished behind Alonso.

    1. @Dale Alonso had No1 status for like six races. McLaren benefitted Alonso in Australia cause Alonso couldn’t overtake Hamilton so McLaren did it in the pits for him, Alonso only won Malaysia cause Hamilton was very heavy on fuel and fought off two Ferrari drivers which benefitted Alonso etc. Hamilton was the whole weekend faster than Alonso but McLaren gifted Alonso the race win and screw up Hamilton’s strategy which saved Alonso, without it Hamilton would have beat Alonso easy, hence Hamilton out qualified Alonso and don’t forget that Alonso also took Hamilton’s data, it was not one way traffic. So there was no egual chance for Hamilton to beat Alonso. I get tired of people always overhyping Alonso.

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