McLaren are entering a critical year in their history. The team are without World Championship success as a constructor since 1998 and it is almost ten years since Lewis Hamilton won the last Driver’s Championship for McLaren. Unfortunately, this run of poor form for McLaren can be traced back to disappointing seasons in 2013 and 2014. They have not won a Grand Prix since Jenson Button took his final victory in Brazil at the end of the 2012 season.
With the unceremonious departure of Ron Dennis, all eyes will be on the man brought in to replace him, Zak Brown. He will need to very quickly put his stamp on the organisation and get an immediate response out of his team. McLaren are now into the third year of their three-year plan to become World Champions once again and it can be safely said that the first two years of their partnership with Honda have been hugely disappointing. There needs to be a serious upturn in their results, and quickly.
Through the 2016 season, McLaren were beginning to challenge for points on a more regular basis, but they were still significantly down on performance relative to the likes of Mercedes and even the Renault powered Red Bulls. Up until now, that performance deficit has been placed on the inadequacy of the Honda power unit. McLaren have stated many times that they believe that the aerodynamic performance of their car is at least as good as the Mercedes, if not better. With the aerodynamic changes being made in 2017, the strength of the McLaren car is about to come under scrutiny.
The bottom line of this story is that McLaren should be a fixture at the top end of the grid. With their star driver Fernando Alonso being joined by young prodigy Stoffel Vandoorne, they have two drivers capable of achieving some excellent results. They need to start providing the tools in order to regain their status as the best in the world.