5/10 was the verdict from Ron Dennis after he was asked about McLaren’s 2016 season of occasional points finishes. The team were supposed to catapult into at least podium contention after a 2015 teething season between the renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, but Dennis remains rightly unsatisfied.
This season, McLaren have only managed three double-points finishes, with the team’s best result occurring in Monaco with Fernando Alonso coming across the line in 5th. The Spaniard currently sits 11th in the Driver Standings with 42 points and Jenson Button is 15th with 19 points. Alonso has had some good performances this season, but he remains 13-points shy of Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren-Mercedes tally of 55-points back in 2014. If anything, this stat alone highlights the lack of progress from a transitional perspective between Mercedes and Honda supplying the engines.
Ron Dennis said,
“We’re just not good enough. We are here to win races and we’re not winning races — but we are going in the right direction.
Our new engine is running on the dyno now and that’s several months earlier than our engine last year. We are well advanced on the car and making really good steps. As everyone will have been telling you, the cars will be four, maybe five to six seconds faster, and I think that’s when the great drivers will start to excel.”
– Ron Dennis
The partnership will surely come under huge strain if the Honda power-unit becomes a hindrance in 2017 given the heavier focus on aerodynamics. McLaren are a team built on successful chassis design, what a missed opportunity next season will be if the power-unit continues to pin them back…
After a disappointing Japanese Grand Prix, Button said it all with,
“I made a poor start – the [power unit] components in the back of the car were all-new, so I got massive wheelspin and was therefore somewhat left behind on the start-line. Then it was really difficult to get past the Manors – they’d started the race on the Option tyre, and I was on the Back-Up, so it was hard to make a move stick.
I eventually got past them though and, despite racing with the backmarkers, I still had some fun out there – a few little battles – but we were a long way behind the points-scorers.
It’s been a very tough weekend – it’s a shame that Suzuka is our bogey track because it’s our second home. Still, we have to take the rough with the smooth: we haven’t been quick here, but we hope to be quicker at the next race.”
– Jenson Button
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 9, 2016
The team have made a vast improvement on last season which ended with only 27 points and a spot behind Sauber in the Constructors, but really, this still isn’t the McLaren that we or even they can be satisfied with.