McLaren Seek Change in Fortunes

After just one win in the last seven races, the declining force of the McLaren Mercedes-Benz team travel to their home British Grand Prix at Silverstone in desperate need of a change in fortunes.

McLaren Seek Change in Fortunes

After just one win in the last seven races, the declining force of the McLaren Mercedes-Benz team travel to their home British Grand Prix at Silverstone in desperate need of a change in fortunes.

The once-mighty Anglo-German outfit last triumphed in mid-May at the Austrian Grand Prix, and their only other win this year came in Brazil in April.

Meanwhile, Ferrari have pulled 52 points clear in the Constructors' Championship, Michael Schumacher leads the Driver's Championship from McLaren's David Coulthard by 31 points, while Williams-BMW have emerged as a potent race-winning threat.

But as many of their followers grow concerned at Finnish former champion Mika Hakkinen's wretched run of luck and Briton Coulthard's bold, but vain, attempts to stem the tide of Schumacher's successes, the team remained calm on Sunday.

"At times like this, it's important to remember that through thick and thin we are a team and we all make mistakes," McLaren chief Ron Dennis said. "The championships are not over and we will immediately start to focus on our home Grand Prix at Silverstone."

At Sunday's disappointing French Grand Prix, Coulthard collected a 10-second stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane and, as a result, lost his chance of a podium finish while Hakkinen failed to start because of a gearbox problem.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed, but these things happen. It just seems they are happening to me more this season," said Hakkinen, about whom rumours of retirement have circulated following the birth of his first child and a sense that he is no longer delivering the same commitment he did in his championship years of 1998 and 1999.

Mercedes-Benz sporting director Norbert Haug, like Dennis, attempted to rally the team and keep spirits up as they plan ahead to two critical races, the British Grand Prix on July 15 and the German one on July 29.

Little Mistake

Looking back on Sunday's race at Magny Cours, Haug stressed that he felt McLaren had been fast enough to win it.

"We were on the pace and David showed it," he said. "He made a little mistake, but it was very close. He was speeding at only five kilometres per hour too much. Ralf Schumacher made a mistake at the last race with the white line and this time it was David's turn.

"Otherwise, he would have been in a position to fight for the first places and maybe victory. Our pit-stops were extremely good so we could have done it."

And Haug offered some encouragement to Hakkinen that his luck could change.

"One guy (Hakkinen) scores four points in the first half of the season and then the same guy gets it all in the second half of the season," he suggested. "I would be pleased for Mika if he could get a couple of wins, but it is not realistic. We will see what we can do, and if we can generate enough speed then I think we can win races.

"People can make their judgements, but if he wins the next race then it changes. He has had a problem in some races this season and he needs a little luck and he will be back to normal."

shares
comments
David Coulthard Q&A
Previous article

David Coulthard Q&A

Next article

We need to up our game, says DC

We need to up our game, says DC
Load comments
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022