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PATERSON: Will McLaren Honda Improve In 2016?

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When the late Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost drove McLaren Hondas, they were all but unbeatable. Today there are still many questions about the performance of the McLaren Honda team.

Fast forward to 2015, and the team’s drivers, former World Champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, both failed to finish 15 Grands Prix, never mind be consistently in the points positions or in a fight for podiums.

Despite the discussions of possible problems in team harmony, and Alonso potentially taking a break from the sport, many fans are hoping the team can show signs of recovery in 2016.

To address this, the Spaniard gave an interesting insight into testing the new McLaren when speaking to the Formula One website.

“Obviously, we missed one day last week so we’re still short on laps, but at least we complete three days more or less trouble free and we put some mileage to keep understanding the car,” said Alonso.

“Last week, we brought here some new concepts for us in terms of car design and power unit philosophy as well because we had to do fundamental changes on the power unit because we cannot forget that we used 11 or 12 units last year so we cannot repeat that number.”

Going on to discuss the 2016 McLaren in more detail, Alonso believes he will know more about it’s potential in the first race.

“Happy with things so far, in the level of performance we need to wait and see in Australia because there are a little bit of a mix on the times every day with different tyres, different fuel loads and it’s a little bit confusing to read on the times,” he continued.

“I think we improved on the reliability side, on the performance side it’s a question mark, I think we’re still missing some performance and hopefully we can find that for Australia.”

Despite these possibilities, it’s a pressurized environment with the weight of history on their shoulders.

The most dominant season for McLaren and Honda’s partnership occurred in 1988, when Senna and Prost won 15 out of the 16 races, only failing to win when Ayrton Senna crashed into the Williams’ Jean-Louis Schlesser in Monza when leading the race. The team took a further 10 podiums that year with the late Brazlian winning his first world championship.

With the team drifting backwards since 2015 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, left in 2012, the coming season needs to be an improvement.

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement. 

Cameron Paterson

Cameron Paterson is currently studying Media as well as writing for several websites. A watcher of motorsport since 2007, a casual television watch evolved to watching and reading anything related to something with wheels and an engine. A fan of writing, it was a no-brainer about what to do to try and get into the sport.

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