Season Preview: Mclaren

Team: Team McLaren Mercedes
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya
Chassis: MP4-21
Engine: Mercedes V8
Tire Supplier: Michelin
Home Base: Woking, England

Key Staff:
  • Team Principal: Ron Dennis
  • Third Driver(s): Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett (Note: Following a 2004 rule change, teams who finish in the top four the previous season are not allowed to have a “Friday driver.”)
  • Chief Designer: Mike Coughlan
  • Engineering Director: Paddy Lowe

    2005 Rear View Mirror
    Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya
    Points: 2nd (Raikkonen), 4th (Montoya); 2nd in Constructor’s Championship
    Best Overall Finish: 1st (occurred 10 times) by Raikkonen at the Grand Prix of Spain, Grand Prix of Monaco, Canadian Grand Prix, Hungarian Grand Prix, Grand Prix of Turkey, Grand Prix of Belgium, and the Japanese Grand Prix and by Montoya at the Grand Prix of Great Britain, Grand Prix of Italy and Grand Prix of Brazil.

    2006 Analysis
    In what was the most surprising announcement of the winter break, McLaren announced that they had acquired the services of reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso for the 2007 season. Right behind that declaration as far as shock value was concerned was the somewhat stunning defection by Adrian Newey to Red Bull Racing.

    With all of that news occurring, how could this team concentrate on the impending season? Very easily, if you consider what all the off-season moves mean heading into the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship.

    Dennis still has a world-class organization surrounding him, so while the loss of Newey was disappointing, this team has more than enough engineering know-how to be able to move forward. As a plus, Newey’s genius is still a part of this team as he stayed to finish the MP4-21 prior to his departure.

    On the driver’s side, the move has already begun to clear up the future of this team, making both Raikkonen and Montoya hungry to prove the team ownership group that they were wrong in hiring the World Champion.

    Final Prediction
    Despite the defection by Dennis and some other key personnel from McLaren, this is still a high caliber team that could easily be at the top of the championship standings at the end of the year.

    In order to get there, however, a few things must have improved from last season. The number one problem the team suffered from, reliability of their car, must be upgraded or else they will continue behind Renault -- as they were throughout 2005. If winter testing is worth anything, this team continues to have a long way to go in this department. Also, Montoya must stay fit throughout the season and prove that he is worthy of such a great seat at this team.

    Look for the Finnish and Colombian driver to muscle their way to the top if necessary in order to improve their stock as they look for new teams, as it appears neither one will stick around to call Fernando Alonso a teammate. Whether this combination of drivers, which many consider the strongest on the grid, can bring back a championship or two is still in question. If the car improves, there is no doubt they can win both the Constructor’s and Drivers World Championships.

    Previous 2006 F1 Previews
  • Super Aguri
  • MF1 Racing
  • Toro Rosso
  • BMW Sauber
  • Red Bull
  • Honda
  • Williams
  • Toyota
  • Ferrari

    Up Next
    A preview of Renault

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    Grand Prix of Brazil

    @ Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Sunday, November 24, 2013

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