Some people are fans of McLaren. But many more people are NOT fans of McLaren. This 2019 Oppositelock team preview is for those in the latter group. This is also a poor knockoff of Drew Magary’s infamous and inflammatory yearly NFL previews. Read all the previews so far here.
Your Team: McLaren
Your 2018 results: 62 points, 6th in the standings. How the mighty have fallen. This team with the might of Woking behind it and 8 total championship wins was somehow the worst of the Renault powered teams. This team that should have been fighting for wins has spent the last several seasons fighting for points. While trapped in the abusive relationship with Honda they could proclaim, “we have the best chassis of the field.” Well they most certainly did NOT in 2018. No, folks, not even with the almighty Fernando Alonso and future ace Stoffel Vandoorne could they accomplish anything higher than a 5th place race finish.
Your Car: MCL34
Good news, it’s still orange and blue, just as McLaren’s should be. Everything about this car is new. Including the sponsor A Better Tomorrow.
Your Team Principal: Zak Brown, the famous pop-country singer is back for another year after taking up the reigns following the ousting of Ron Dennis. Zak is a former racer who started a motor sports marketing company. Those responsible for the car this year are engineering director Pat Fry and performance director Andrea Stella Artois.
Your Drivers: Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris
Replacing Spanish racing god Fernando Alonso is Carlos Sainz Jr. Carlos is the son of professional rally driver Carlos Sainz. He was brought up as Red Bull Jr. until the Austrian company loaned him out to Renault for a season. With his energy drinks deal over with, young Carlos was set free to to venture out on his own. Then Renault signed Daniel Ricciardo leaving the Spaniard without a home. McLaren immediately signed him on when it became apparent that Fernando had had enough of F1. Sainz brings with him both experience with Renault and a grudge against Red Bull.
Lando Norris is a young British lad that McLaren groomed to be the future of the sport. He was promoted to the big leagues after the young future of the sport, Stoffers Vanporn flamed out and got out qualified every event of 2018 by Alonso. Norris brings with him his studies and homework that must be completed or the headmasters will be deeply disappointed in him, resulting in no pudding that night.
What’s new that sucks: FIRE! A new oil/gas supplier and fresh (not)tobacco money. A Better Tomorrow is British American Tobacco’s version of Mission Winnow. Everything about the car is new, and they brought over new engineers because it was clear that the old guard needed to go.
What’s always sucked: McLaren hasn’t sucked this bad this many years in a row since 1981. The corporate culture that set in during the dreadful Honda years seems to have stuck around, with little blame being put on the whole package and lots of blame on individuals and parts.
What might not suck: Hopes are high for this team, as they should be at least in the top 5 every year. They have the engineering excellence and racing talent that they should never be this bad, yet somehow, here we are.
Next up: Haas