Respected insiders are not expecting McLaren-Honda to shine in 2015.
With the Japanese engine maker Honda returning to the sport this year to revive its iconic collaboration with the British team, it has notably struggled so far simply to run its compact and complex turbo V6.
McLaren-Honda managed to secure arguably F1’s best driver – Fernando Alonso – to spearhead the project, but not everyone agrees that even the Spaniard can be a silver bullet.
“Fernando is a driver who could have taken five world titles, but he has made some bad decisions with teams,” Livio Oricchio, a veteran Brazilian correspondent, is quoted by the Spanish daily AS.
“In 2007 he left a team at the top to go halfway down the grid, and now he’s back with a team where he knows he will have to wait to win. That’s his fault,” he argued.
Oricchio added: “I do think they (McLaren-Honda) have all the potential, especially with Alonso, but this year I think they cannot win. In 2016, probably yes.”
Sharing that view is another of F1’s top journalists, the Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt.
He said: “Fernando is the best, but of course he also needs a good car.
“McLaren will give it to him, along with Honda, but not this year. Mercedes is still at a much higher level, then there’s Ferrari and Williams and Red Bull.
“McLaren? Their time will be 2016,” Schmidt added. (GMM)