Cars

Formula 1: This is how McLaren drove back to winning ways

The second most successful Formula 1 team of all time is celebrating again: After eight years, nine months and 18 days, McLaren ended the longest dry spell in team history. Daniel Ricciardo’s win at the Italian GP (his first since Monaco 2018, the eighth overall) is the first McLaren win since Brazil 2012 (by Jenson Button). It is the 183rd victory for McLaren in the Formula 1 World Championship.

McLaren’s longest losing streak to date was three years, eight months and 25 days (James Hunt Japan 1977 to John Watson Great Britain 1981).

Experience Formula 1 with the SKY Supersport Ticket

On the positive side, Lando Norris even made his 48th double victory in second place, the first since Canada in 2010, when Lewis Hamilton triumphed ahead of Jenson Button. Between Canada 1968 (Denny Hulme before Bruce McLaren) and USA-West (John Watson before Niki Lauda), McLaren even had to wait 15 years for a double victory.

Resurrection after McLaren’s descent

“I’ve been on the team for three years now. We have been working towards that since then, ”says Lando Norris happily. The Briton is still waiting for his first GP victory, but second place was at least his fourth podium this year. He is fourth in the overall ranking.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has had a difficult time so far and was clearly slower than Norris until the summer break. “But we knew that he was a winner,” explains team boss Andreas Seidl. “That is exactly why we brought him into the team.”

It is the resurrection of a traditional team that went through stormy times. They began at the end of 2009. In the wake of the financial and economic crisis, one manufacturer after another dropped out – from Honda to Toyota to BMW. Mercedes also had to reorganize its Formula 1 involvement. As a long-standing McLaren partner, the German car manufacturer was successful – thanks to Mika Häkkinen and Lewis Hamilton, it even won three drivers’ titles.

Separation from Mercedes as the starting signal for the crisis

But Mercedes wanted more – a real Silver Arrows team like in the 1950s. But the egocentric personality of Ron Dennis prevented that. When Dennis announced his own sports car at the same time as the new Mercedes SLR at the end of 2009, the break was perfect. Mercedes bought the Brawn team, which had surprisingly won both world titles in 2009, and turned it into a works racing team. With that, McLaren was just a customer team.

With that the descent began. In 2010 Hamilton still had title chances, but the traditional British team kept slipping. Team boss Martin Whitmarsh had to go, Dennis took over the command himself again. When the current 1.6-liter V6 turbo hybrid engines were introduced in 2014, it was clear to Dennis that McLaren could no longer become world champions as a customer team. The engine and chassis must be designed in one piece. McLaren found an old and new partner in Honda.

Unlike in the 1980s and 1990s, when the combination with Ayrton Senna became one of the most successful in history, it came to a disaster: the Honda engine was unreliable and weak, the relationship was broken. Fernando Alonso and McLaren etched in unison against Honda. After three years and ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship, the marriage was divorced and the War of the Roses ended.

Renault, as a temporary solution, made McLaren stronger again, but it was only the “comeback” with Mercedes this year that brought McLaren back on the road to victory.

Formula 1 in the overview at SKY Q

ABMS knows: Team boss Andreas Seidl, the director behind the Porsche LMP1 Le Mans victories from 2016 to 2018, had the plan from the beginning to work again with Mercedes because he saw the cooperation as one of the most important building blocks to return the road to success.

The first victory in almost nine years proves him right. In two years at the latest, McLaren-Mercedes wants to drive for the World Cup again. It would be the logical consequence.

All 20 Formula 1 race winners for McLaren

1. Ayrton Senna 35
2. Alain Prost 30
3. Lewis Hamilton 21
4. Mika Häkkinen 20
5. David Coulthard 12
6. James Hunt 9
7. Kimi Raikkonen 9
8. Niki Lauda 8
9. Jenson Button 8
10. Denny Hulme 6
11. Emerson Fittipaldi 5
12. John Watson 4
13. Fernando Alonso 4
14. Gerhard Berger 3
15. Juan-Pablo Montoya 3
16. Peter Revson 2
17. Bruce McLaren 1
18. Jochen Mass 1
19. Heikki Kovalainen 1
20. Daniel Ricciardo 1

Formula 1 on TV

Formula 1 will run at Sky in 2021. The station is setting up its own TV station for the new era: Sky Formula 1. Here there is motorsport 24 hours a day. All training sessions, all qualifying sessions, all races always live and without commercial breaks. Sky also broadcasts the Formula 2, Formula 3 and Porsche Supercup races. The program also includes historical races and special programs. You can find more information here

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button