Formula 1 mid-season review: McLaren

Formula 1 mid-season review: McLaren

9 August 2014 – As the Formula 1 fraternity enjoys the summer break, GPUpdate.net takes the opportunity to analyse team and driver performances over the first 11 rounds of the 2014 season. In the latest instalment, we look at a modified McLaren, featuring the return of Ron Dennis plus the arrival of Eric Boullier and Kevin Magnussen.

McLaren: 6.5/10

It was all-change at McLaren ahead of the 2014 season, with Ron Dennis ousting Martin Whitmarsh to return as Group CEO and former Lotus team boss Eric Boullier arriving in the new role of Racing Director. There was also an alteration to the driver line-up, with the highly-rated Kevin Magnussen getting the nod to join Jenson Button after Sergio Pérez failed to live up to expectations. But despite burying the podium demons of 2013 by recording a double rostrum at the opening race, it has so far been another disappointing campaign for the Woking-based outfit. One could argue that this stems back to the bold call to effectively scrap the fastest car on the grid at the end of 2012 in favour of a radical design for the following term. Not only did the car miserably fail to live up to expectations, it took up valuable resources as the majority of the grid switched full focus to 2014. Whilst McLaren has the best engine powering its new machine, it is again lacking downforce, something Button and Magnussen have been vocal about throughout the season. Button himself admitted that the squad's strong performance at the first round in Australia was largely down to getting on top of the complex Energy Recovery Systems faster than its rivals, which soon found the relevant gains to surge clear. Since then, results have been hard to come by, with mid-range points finishes only enough to keep it on terms with Force India in the Constructors' battle. Realistically, fifth is the highest placing McLaren is looking at this year, with Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams a long way down the road. One eye will already be firmly fixed on 2015, when Honda returns as its engine partner…

Jenson Button: 7/10

For a former World Champion, back-to-back seasons in relatively uncompetitive machinery is bound to cause frustrations. But Button, dealing with the recent death of his father John, has remained dignified. After the highs of Melbourne, he has ploughed through some much tougher weekends to end the first half of the season a respectable eighth in the standings. After a perhaps surprising public hurry up from Dennis in the wake of the Austrian Grand Prix, he responded well to qualify on the second row – amid wet weather conditions – at his home race, before converting it into a top four finish. Two further points hauls followed in Germany and Hungary, with the potential for more at the latter round had it not been for McLaren's weather forecast trouble. If Lewis Hamilton was still at the team, you have to wonder if there would have been a few more podiums with his gung-ho approach, but Button is coping well. Unless one of the big guns escapes from a contract for 2015, it would be sensible for McLaren to hold on to its lead driver. It also ties in neatly with Honda's return, a brand Button is well accustomed to.

Kevin Magnussen: 7/10

Magnussen entered Formula 1 on the back of his dominant Formula Renault 3.5 title win. With that came pressure. He delivered a sensational debut performance to finish on the podium Down Under, suggesting that he was ready to cope with everything that would be thrown at him. But the following races have been slightly more challenging. Collisions with Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen became a recurring theme, while Boullier later admitted that the Dane had been hit by the "rookie syndrome". So used to winning in his junior categories, where machinery is equal, it has come as quite a shock to be fighting in the midfield. He has gradually gotten his act together, though, impressing during qualifying at the Red Bull Ring and Hockenheim and going on a steady run of points finishes. Crashing out of the final shootout in Hungary shows that there is still a fair amount to learn, but his outright pace and commitment to the cause has been impressive. Having invested so much time in his development, it would be foolish for McLaren to question Magnussen's involvement next season.

Do you agree with GPUpdate.net's ratings? Join in the discussion via the Facebook panel below

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Tuesday 6 December 2016

  2. King 'feels happy' with Manor F1 displays 15:14

    King 'feels happy' with Manor F1 displays

    Jordan King says he "feels happy" with the performances he delivered during his pair of Formula 1 practice outings with Manor in…

    F1
  3. Video: Vettel, Räikkönen at Finali Mondiali 14:02

    Video: Vettel, Räikkönen at Finali Mondiali

    Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen put on a show at the 'Finali Mondiali' at Daytona.

    F1
  4. Formula V8 3.5 adds 'World Series' to name 12:32

    Formula V8 3.5 adds 'World Series' to name

    Formula V8 3.5 promoter RPM has announced that the series will tweak its name for 2017, adding in 'World Series', following…

    FV8 3.5
  5. Red Bull/Aston Martin tie-up to continue 10:30

    Red Bull/Aston Martin tie-up to continue

    Red Bull has announced that its collaboration with British luxury sportscar manufacturer Aston Martin, centred on the design of…

    F1
  6. Mercedes considering Alonso for vacancy 10:00

    Mercedes considering Alonso for vacancy

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the team is considering Fernando Alonso as Nico Rosberg's replacement, describing him…

    F1
  7. F1 penalties: Who topped 2016's charts? 09:02

    F1 penalties: Who topped 2016's charts?

    Formula 1 currently manages driving offences through reprimands and penalty points, held on individual Super Licences. But who…

    F1
  8. Marchionne: Ferrari has found 'solution' 07:32

    Marchionne: Ferrari has found 'solution'

    Ferrari now has a "solution" to return to the front of the Formula 1 grid, after its win-less 2016 campaign, according to brand…

    F1
  9. Video of the Day: Prema drivers on GP2 05:37

    Video of the Day: Prema drivers on GP2

    Prema team-mates Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi reflect on finishing first and second in GP2.

    GP2
  10. Monday 5 December 2016

  11. French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi 15:58

    French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi

    Organisers behind the returning French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard have dedicated the development to late Formula 1 driver Jules…

    F1
  12. Overview: History of the French Grand Prix 15:12

    Overview: History of the French Grand Prix

    It was announced earlier on Monday that the French Grand Prix will return at Paul Ricard from 2018. GPUpdate.net looks back at…

    F1
  13. French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed 13:41

    French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed

    Formula 1 will again feature the French Grand Prix on its calendar from the 2018 season, with a five-year deal to stage the…

    F1
  14. McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave 12:39

    McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave

    Fernando Alonso will not be leaving McLaren to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, according to…

    F1
  15. Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes 10:32

    Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes

    Pascal Wehrlein says he would feel "ready for the job" of replacing Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, following the…

    F1
  16. Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge 10:02

    Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge

    Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says he expects the team to be in a position to challenge Mercedes for both Drivers…

    F1
  17. Vettel quells Rosberg replacement talk 09:07

    Vettel quells Rosberg replacement talk

    Sebastian Vettel has downplayed speculation linking him to the Mercedes seat vacated by Nico Rosberg, stating that "it should be…

    F1
  18. Norris wins McLaren Formula 1 test run 08:43

    Norris wins McLaren Formula 1 test run

    Lando Norris will receive a Formula 1 test with McLaren after clinching the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC award at a…

    F1
  19. In photos: Where Hamilton lost the title 07:32

    In photos: Where Hamilton lost the title

    Nico Rosberg has been crowned a worthy World Champion, but with a narrow five-point margin over Mercedes team-mate Lewis…

    F1
  20. Video of the Day: Red Bull parallax highlights 05:20

    Video of the Day: Red Bull parallax highlights

    Red Bull presents its 2016 Formula 1 highlights in this parallax video, made entirely from still imagery.

    F1
  21. Sunday 4 December 2016

  22. Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi 16:14

    Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi

    McLaren driver Fernando Alonso completed laps on Repsol Honda's title-winning RC213V MotoGP bike during the Japanese…

    F1
  23. F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity' 15:03

    F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity'

    Formula 1 could end "subjectivity" over corner-cutting if circuits are modified to disadvantage drivers who run off track…

    F1
  24. Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan 14:02

    Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan

    Manor boss Dave Ryan says the outfit's improvement across the past year has been "incredible" but has cautioned that it still…

    F1
  25. Overview: A year with no reigning Champion 13:06

    Overview: A year with no reigning Champion

    For only the sixth time in history, the defending Formula 1 World Champion will not line-up on the grid, with Nico Rosberg…

    F1
  26. Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017 12:02

    Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017

    Lewis Hamilton says he is not fussed by who partners him at Mercedes next season, and that his only request is that he has…

    F1
  27. Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage 11:01

    Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage

    GPUpdate.net looks back at Nico Rosberg's title-winning year with some of Sutton Images' best shots.

    F1
  28. Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure' 10:30

    Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure'

    Mercedes non-executive Chairman Niki Lauda says he is disappointed by Nico Rosberg's decision to retire and, with hindsight…

    F1
  29. Zetsche lauds 'perfect' Mercedes hat-trick 09:46

    Zetsche lauds 'perfect' Mercedes hat-trick

    Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes' parent company Daimler, has hailed its Formula 1 team after securing the "perfect hat-trick…

    F1
  30. Video of the Day: Lorenzo opens museum 05:26

    Video of the Day: Lorenzo opens museum

    MotoGP star Jorge Lorenzo's opens his new museum, 'World Champions by 99', in Andorra.

    MotoGP
  31. Saturday 3 December 2016

  32. 18:34

    Gallery: Mercedes' Sindelfingen event

    F1
  33. Rosberg would have stayed if he lost title 14:46

    Rosberg would have stayed if he lost title

    World Champion Nico Rosberg says he would have stayed in Formula 1 for another season had he not beaten Mercedes team-mate Lewis…

    F1
  34. F1 paddock pays tribute to retiring Rosberg 13:06

    F1 paddock pays tribute to retiring Rosberg

    Formula 1 drivers, paddock members and the wider motorsport world have been paying tribute to Nico Rosberg, following his shock…

    F1
  35. 11:44

    Gallery: FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Vienna

    F1
  36. Hamilton: Rosberg retirement 'not a surprise' 10:32

    Hamilton: Rosberg retirement 'not a surprise'

    Lewis Hamilton says Nico Rosberg's decision to retire was "not a surprise", despite the newly-crowned World Champion stunning…

    F1
  37. Verstappen receives two FIA Gala awards 09:17

    Verstappen receives two FIA Gala awards

    Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen has been handed two awards at the FIA's Prize-Giving Gala, held at Vienna's Hofburg…

    F1
  38. Video: Rosberg collects Formula 1 trophy 09:13

    Video: Rosberg collects Formula 1 trophy

    The retiring Nico Rosberg receives his World Championship trophy during the FIA's annual Prize-Giving Gala.

    F1
  39. Rosberg crowned World Champion at Gala 09:08

    Rosberg crowned World Champion at Gala

    The retiring Nico Rosberg has been officially crowned as the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion during the FIA's annual Prize-Giving…

    F1
  40. In photos: Rosberg's final F1 race day 08:32

    In photos: Rosberg's final F1 race day

    Nico Rosberg announced on Friday that he will be retiring from Formula 1 as World Champion. GPUpdate.net flicks through…

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: Ferrari's 'Flying Aces' 05:28

    Video of the Day: Ferrari's 'Flying Aces'

    Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen experienced the world's tallest loop rollercoaster at Ferrari World in Abu…

    F1
  42. Friday 2 December 2016

  43. Sato joins Andretti Autosport for 2017 20:05

    Sato joins Andretti Autosport for 2017

    Takuma Sato will make the switch to Andretti Autosport for 2017, completing the team's four-car line-up. Sato, 39, has raced…

    Indy
  44. Latifi on top as GP2 post-season test ends 17:56

    Latifi on top as GP2 post-season test ends

    DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi set the pace as GP2's end-of-season test reached its conclusion at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit on…

    GP2
  45. Overview: Candidates to replace Rosberg 15:08

    Overview: Candidates to replace Rosberg

    Following the shock news that Nico Rosberg will retire from Formula 1 with immediate effect, GPUpdate.net looks at the potential…

    F1
more news