Mclaren Is The Fan Favourite For 2017


The start of the 2017 Formula 1 Season is less than a fortnight away! In fact, pre-season testing times have titillated fans enough to increase the anticipation of the new season even more. Ferrari and Mercedes seem evenly matched, Red Bull Racing a shade behind – but none of the teams are eager to accept the ‘favourite’ tag yet. Ominous much?

Mclaren-Honda’s pre-season testing times have been worse than what they managed in 2016. Are Mclaren now at 2016 levels while the others have progressed to 2017? Speed or no speed, reliable or otherwise, given the amount of humour generated around Mclaren-Honda, they’ll surely be the fan favourite for the season. (The Joke Is On Mclaren)

A Facebook fan post (by Mitchell) suggested that in the Constructors’ Championship for 2017, the Safety Car would finish ahead of Mclaren. Or will Mclaren salvage some pride, speed and reliability to fight with Sauber for the last place on the grid?


Mclaren’s Back-Up: Reunite With Mercedes?

The easy answer is YES – changes in chassis notwithstanding. And reunions are common in Formula 1! Anyway, there’s a spare Mercedes power unit lying somewhere that would’ve been supplied to Manor this year. However, if they do switch a supplier mid-season, they will stand to lose all constructors’ points scored till the switch – which in Mclaren’s case could be nil, or not too many. Basically, a change, even if mid-season might make sense but I doubt it will be considered.

Pascal Wehrlein Beats Fernando Alonso

Stoffel Vandoorne might be feeling extremely relieved or left out. After all, in this barrage of jokes on Mclaren-Honda, he’s yet to be picked on. By the way, Pascal Wehrlein, who skipped the first pre-season test thanks to an injury he picked up during the Race of Champions managed to do more laps overall than Fernando Alonso who participated in both the tests!

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Million Dollar Questions

  1. Will Mercedes unleash extra pace once the season starts and leave Ferrari behind?
  2. Will Mclaren-Honda finish the entire race distance in Melbourne?
  3. Who pays the towing charges, Mclaren or Honda?

Mercedes seem quicker in qualifying trim whereas Ferrari seem faster in race trim. However, testing figures almost never reveal true form. In pre-season testing in 2016, Ferrari were 0.2 seconds clear of Mercedes while in 2017, they’ve managed to stay ahead by 0.3 seconds. But we all know how 2016 turned out to be for Ferrari. Even if Ferrari might have ironed out pace issues, there’s no guarantee (yet) that they’ve ironed out the strategy issues they faced all season long last year.

As for the towing charges, Williams were smarter when they signed up JCB before Mclaren!

We’re On Target For 2017, Say Renault

Here’s the strange thing about PR in Formula 1. Teams don’t end up thinking too much or reading their data before releasing quotes. After a pre-season test where Renault’s mileage was nearly 3,800 kms less than their rivals and when reliability issues dogged their teams, the French power unit supplier said that they are on target for 2017. Strange targets, gentlemen!

Max Verstappen Has A New Party Trick?

Daniel Ricciardo took the Formula 1 world by storm by introducing and then overdoing the ‘shoey’ in 2016. If Red Bull Racing’s social media posts are to be believed, it seems that Max Verstappen might have a new party trick up his sleeve. Will Renault turn out to be Red Bull Racing’s Achilles’ heel yet again?

Formula 1’s Future Is In Europe

After failed experiments under the Bernie Ecclestone-era to expand Formula 1 across not-so-obvious venues in Asia, Liberty Media (Ross Brawn) has said that the sport’s future lies in the traditional races in Europe. The new owners seem to be making the right noises (yet again), is this why Ecclestone decided to not stay on?

Lastly, Liberty Media are doing well to market single seater racing better. They’re re-christening the ladder all the way up to Formula 1. GP2 will now be F2, but with F3 already existing, what will GP3 be called? And by the way, a F2.5 already exists. Time to call the numerologist?

Season 2017, Episode 10

Co-hosted by Mithila Mehta and Kunal Shah, the Inside Line F1 Podcast is a weekly show on Formula 1 that attempts to simplify the sport and business of Formula 1. This show also aims to add some much needed humour to the otherwise serious sport of Formula 1. In 2016, the show has crossed 150,000 listens and is top-rated on iTunes and Audio Boom. The show is available on Kunal’s F1 Blog and partner websites such as Motorsport, Firstpost, NDTVAuto, Sport360, Sportskeeda, Scroll, Talking About F1, Motor Octane and others.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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