If there were no losers in sport then nobody would watch or partake in it. Sport fundamentally revolves around competition, not everybody can be a winner. Those who have previously won before may well lose in the future, and those that are currently losing may well win again in the future. There are also those that win more than lose, and those that lose more than they win. It saddens me to write this, but McLaren have drifted into that latter category.
No longer can we classify this as just a bad spell of results in McLaren’s history. We are rapidly nearing halfway through their fifth winless season in Formula 1. So far this year they have;
- scored no points.
- a rookie who has not been able to show his potential.
- arguably the greatest driver of a generation ready to walk out the door at any minute.
- an engine that has so many issues with it that I can hear the divorce papers being filed as we speak. They are truly a team now cemented at the lower end of the grid.
This is not an article to hate on the once mighty team from Woking. Ferrari and Williams only rival their history and prestige; they have been one of the great teams of this sport. However, past performance is never a guarantee of future success and this has never been truer in McLaren’s case. Honda’s re-attempt at establishing itself in Formula 1 has backfired catastrophically and this time they have managed to take McLaren down with them.
For too long, McLaren have been trying to pass this off as a brief disappointment and that the good times are right around the corner. Perhaps denial hurts just a little bit less than admitting the reality of the situation. Great teams of the sport, such as Tyrrell have stumbled slowly down the grid order until the money ran out and they flickered into non-existence. It is not always simple to recreate the glory days of yore. The slightly wrong shade of orange that the MCL32 exhibits rather ironically sums up their attempt to recreate the magic of the past. In theory it should work. Reality is a cruel mistress.
As far as I am concerned I think this may be it for McLaren, at least as a front running team – and that really hurts to say. It is hard to see where they will go from here. Alonso, in my view, will undoubtedly walk, and I don’t see Honda lasting much longer. McLaren will be left without a world-class driver and be resigned to beg for a customer engine with their old allies Mercedes or maybe Renault. The Woking outfit may well have to accept that they are no longer the giants that they once were.