Are McLaren going to be the new Williams?

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    Loup Garou

    I don’t think so. I expect 2014 to be only marginally better for McLaren, perhaps a bit like 2009 when they won a couple of races. But with the arrival of the Honda engine in 2015, things will start looking-up. I do not expect it to be like 1988 from the word ‘go’, but I think the old partnership will soon show positive results.

    I have a feeling that this forthcoming McLaren-Honda partnership is one of the reasons Sebastian Vettel extended his Red Bull contract by only one year. By the end of 2015, he (and everyone else) will have a good idea about the direction in which the partnership is going and so if he is planning to leave Red Bull (which I think WILL be the case) he will have a few options – Ferrari, McLaren and maybe Mercedes.


    I find it very interesting that a lot of people here are defending Mclaren saying they have only had one bad season. Let’s see, when was their last constructors championship win? 1998? Adrian Newey designed car? For a team with such huge backing and resources not to mention good drivers, this is a dismal result. Yes Lewis won them a world championship in 2008, but since Ron Dennis left in 2009 so has all the direction. There is no point is having a fast car if you don’t have a good team or reliability, so to answer the original question, yes Mclaren is already heading down the path of the being the new Williams, especially with Whitmarsh and co leading the way

    Lucas Wilson

    Good point funky. McLaren through away the championship last year.


    Yes McLaren have squandered their potential, which means they have not achieved results which they should have. But no, that is not necessarily the same as falling towards obscurity.


    So, Whitmarsh isn’t a particularly good leader then? Imo, he was brilliant _with_ Ron Dennis and Dennis’ “old” management team in Mclaren, until 2009.

    And, it’s been mentioned several times already, but Mclaren as a companyhas more legs to sand on – therefore their focus is a little bit less on F1-operations compared to 6 or 10 years ago. I think they will be back (…) — as a comparison to football they are F1’s arsenal or liverpool (remember the thread here..). An old team (compared to the recent bunch), had a lot of success in the old days, but are still going fairly strong. And most of all, they are thinking long-term -that’s (almost) just positive for the team itself, but not so much for current drivers.

    (*edit1; ….still going fairly strong in the sense that they are not in any very chaotic situation, financially or even considering the results. One can after all make it much worse in F1. But, as mentioned by those above me, McLaren has done it surprisingly bad for a whole decade considering the resources they have.)

    Loup Garou

    Ferrari went through a very bad patch from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s, the only exception being Prost’s good run in 1990. It was not until Schumacher joined them that things started looking up. Likewise, I feel that McLaren can and will bounce back and the return of the Honda engine could be just the fillip they need.

    Iestyn Davies

    I like the parallels drawn by @kingshark, and you could add an iconic partnership breaking up – Montoya/R.Schumacher and Hamilton/Button.

    But I think McLaren are in a slightly stronger position as a semi-manufacturer and Honda are a lot bigger than Cosworth. Driver-side they could still give us Alonso-Button or Magnussen-Vandoorne in a few years, so that is very open. But I think McLaren are almost too big to fall – their budget is $100m more than Williams, and they employ between 100-200 more people. They have lost Mercedes, but are just big enough to sustain themselves probably in 4th/5th place if need be until another Manufacturer (Honda) comes in.

    Williams might have kept the same budget as their competitive but been overspent by other manufacturers, then taking away their prize money – think BMW Sauber, Toyota, Honda, Jaguar/Red Bull. You could argue that, with better engines over the Cosworth period, that Williams could have brought in a lot more money and hence stopped such a decline. But, this would have been a lot more risky, and they only tried it with Toyota for a short time when they realised this. With some luck Rosberg could have won the crash-gate race. But all these gains were lost by Nakajima not scoring any points with a competitive 2009 car, and thus more lost prize money.


    @Mads Williams flywheel technology is also on all the London buses.



    No one in his right mind was expecting Williams win the championship with Cosworth. At best it was a small hope, but Renault/Ferrari looked so unbeatable at that time for anyone to take Williams’ chances that seriously.

    Ferrari and Renault looked no more “unbeatable” then than Red Bull and Mercedes do now.

    Besides, Williams already had a long time of obscurity before those years. McLaren has only had a year off by now.

    Williams were championship contenders in 2003, had an off-season in 2004 (though still won a race, and were much stronger than McLaren in 2013) and scored a handful of podiums in 2005. What “long time of obscurity” are you talking about?

    Plus the fact Williams was losing talent and money each season, while McLaren has increased both, and will further increase next season.

    You base this on what? Williams had the 2nd biggest budget in Formula 1 back in 2004, second only to Ferrari.

    Their cases are far less similar than you’re making them out to be.

    I don’t think so, but that’s only my opinion.


    Wow Kingshark, that’s amazing. Did Williams really have the second largest budget in 2004? If so, that doesn’t augur well for McLaren. The problem here is McLaren have just been off the scale this year. You can’t even say they’re the fifth fastest team at the moment. Probably seventh/eighth.

    If they fare any worse next year, and their car sales don’t take off, it could be curtains. I hope Dennis comes back at year end.


    I think that people are getting too worried about this. I’m not going to pretend that this hasn’t been an awful year by McLaren’s standards, but they have a good aero department, let’s not forget that last year they built the fastest car overall. Yes, it was plagued with reliability, but they do have the potential. So long as they figure out how they went so far in the wrong direction, then they can come back a lot stronger next year, and especially the year after.

    If anything, with the rule changes, it gives them a chance to start next year off very well aerodynamically, with the possibility of a great engine to boot. I’m still hoping that Ross Brawn will come to McLaren, because I think if anyone can sort out the technical issues with the team, it’s him.


    Straight question: Honestly – is Martin Whitmarsh a not-so-good leader figure?? And/or; is he too much of a ‘theorist’ in contrast too a Brawn/bouliier/Dennis/Horner/Todt??

    In other words….., that mr Whitmarsh is at his best in a sub-top level position, f.ex besides somebody, like he was Dennis’ right hand man… :-/


    McLaren tend to blow hot and cold, they have throughout their history. As recently as 2006 they didn’t win a race all season after winning 10 GP’s (and in true McLaren style, no world championship) in 2005 and then were arguably the class of the field in 2007/2008. They will be back I’m sure.


    From this months F1 Racing Magazine (February 2003) – they’ve looked carefully at the different teams’ various outlays and made (conservative) guesstimates at how much they could be spending.

    Ferrari – $443.8m
    Williams – $353.3m
    McLaren – $304.6m
    Toyota – $290.4m
    BAR – $225.1m
    Renault – $206.8m
    Sauber – $119.5m
    Jordan – $79.2m
    Jaguar – $78.8m
    Minardi – $39.6m


    In 2003, Williams had a budget of over 350 million US dollars, that is twice as big as McLaren’s budget in 2012.

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