After a stressful season in 2018, one in which their partnership with new engine suppliers, Renault, failed to show results, McLaren are working hard on developing their car for the next and have been assured by the French engine manufacturers about better power generation.
“They are telling us that they are very pleased with their winter progress,” said McLaren CEO, Zak Brown. “They have found a lot of kilowatts, and think they will be in the ballpark.”
“It is not appropriate for me to quote the numbers they have given us, but I think they feel they are going to be very competitive next year.”
McLaren had issues of their own too, failing to overcome a wind tunnel issue, which gave them grief for the whole season. They could not seem to fix the issue and it subsequently hampered their plans to start development on their 2019 car early.
As expected, the ever ambitious Fernando Alonso was frustrated by the lack of pace from his McLaren. The Spaniard had hoped to end his final season in F1 on a high, at least challenging for podiums, if not for race wins or championships, but it was not to be.
Brown also did not get his hopes up too soon, knowing that it may yet take another season for the McLaren to truly challenge the front-runners. “There is a lot of cautious optimism, but we clearly don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We have done that before and we are not going to make the same mistake twice.”
The Woking-based team have decided to field a youthful line-up next season, with British youngster, Lando Norris, and Alonso’s protege, Carlos Sainz Jr. This is indeed a bold move because Sainz has only been in F1 for four years and Norris is a rookie, which means that the rate of development may be slow without inputs from an experienced driver like Alonso.