News and views on motorsports

Thursday, May 13, 2004

McLaren's new base opened

This story by Autosport today tells of the official launch of McLaren's new Technology Centre. It reminded me about a comment Niki Lauda made some years ago regarding Ron Dennis and McLaren. If I remember correctly it had something to do with the fact that Ron is now very busy trying to build empires rather than focusing on the racing team.

I couldn't agree more. Building the albeit superb F1 supercar, building enormous motor homes, constructing a shiny new Tech Centre, assembling the new SLR Mercedes. I mean that has got to take his focus on the most important matter of all. The Formula 1 operation.

I hope this nonsense will stop soon. Look at the diabolical start to the season so far. McLarens used to battle for the wins. Now they are making hard work of finishing in 10th when they do finish. Something is dreadfully wrong with this team. It cannot be due to a lack of funds what with Mercedes pouring enormous resources into the team.

At least Toyota is doing something about its current problems. Race after race, fans are promised by the drivers, Ron Dennis, Norbert Haug and all the rest that "hard work" will continue and improvements will come and B spec machines constructed. It's starting to get very stale. McLaren have been failing their drivers for years now. And that's very sad to see. Yeah, hard work. They certainly seem to be making hard work out of things.

I think a new technical director could be the answer. Clearly, Adrian Newey is running out of ideas. His reputation as the best technical director in the business is fast becoming history. The Brawn - Byrne combo is certainly proving time and again that there are better solutions out there. To be fair, Adrian had in the past indicated that he would retire from Formula 1 soon. After being retained by McLaren after the Jaguar affair some years ago, he indicated that he would be retiring in a few years. That few years has already come. Exit visas and permanent gardening leave are imminent. Or should be at any rate.

In conclusion, I just say again to Ron Dennis. Stop all these big grandiose plans that have nothing to do with Formula 1. Cut back the marketing crap. Concentrate on the team. You are seriously disappointing all your fans.

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