F1: Have McLaren Finally Cleared the Hump?

The topic of when the Woking-based team would manage to hoist itself out of the pit of pitiful performance it was in – and that time may be now.

What a woeful time McLaren has had. And yet, after the struggles and frustrations and rumors of a possible split between themselves and Honda, the team has finally found the light at the end of the tunnel. Putting both cars in the points and starting the F1 summer break with no technical issues, the team is beginning to look as if it’s on the mend.

Kerb bouncing. @darrenheathphotographer #McLarenHonda #F1 #HungarianGP

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With a double-points finish on the table, the orange and black team is showing that they’ve managed to put a dampener on the problems that have absolutely crippled them for the past nine races. The result is a marked improvement, but it’s a far cry from where the team wants to be – and where they want to be is still a long way off.

Still, the positive results act as a buoy for the team that seemed lost at sea not so long ago, and even the likes of McLaren COO Jonathan Neale is looking forward to a break from the continuous damage control:

“I’m really pleased for the drivers, the mechanics and everybody back at Woking. It feels like scoring a goal before halftime.

To pick up some points and move ourselves forward is always nice and validate the package. We had a reasonable upgrade program here, all of which has worked and we got ourselves a bit of reliability in the short term which is nice as well.

But it has been a tough first half of the season and I think everybody will be looking forward to a break.” – Jonathan Neale

According to Neale, now that the team has managed to field a competent and reliable power unit, they can put their racing caps back on and dive back into the thrill of the hunt:

“We go from last to ninth. It’s all progress. It’s the thrill of the chase as much as it is the outright winning. It will make victory taste sweeter.” – Jonathan Neale

While the newfound optimism could be infectious, it’s imperative to keep a lid on expectations if McLaren’s sudden surge in performance is just another flash in the pan. It’s not a comforting thought to be sure, but given Honda’s track record so far anything’s possible.

#F1Testing is underway at the Hungaroring. Stoff takes the wheel for day one. #F1Testing

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Whatever happens, it’s clear that McLaren and Honda are in the fight together. Despite it looking like the significantly turbulent weather has passed, Formula One is nothing if not but a competition of development pace. Whatever the once-legendary team may have under wraps for the future, we’ll have to wait out the summer break to find out.