McLaren threatens to quit F1 (Update)

Zak Brown
Zak Brown

UPDATE (GMM) McLaren is threatening to quit F1.

The once-great British team has struggled in its most recent Honda and Renault-powered eras.

Ahead of the crunch meeting with Liberty Media on Tuesday over the 2021 regulations, current boss Zak Brown said F1 in the future needs to be "financially viable" and allow the team to "fight fairly and competitively".

"If it wasn't that, we would seriously have to consider our position in F1," he told the Guardian.

"People throw it out there as a negotiating tactic but this has to be a fiscally responsible, competitive racing team and, if we feel the new rules don't put us in that situation, we would have to review our participation in F1," Brown added.

One sticking point could be that Ferrari is pushing to maintain its position as the most financially favored team.

Brown said: "We all agree Ferrari is the biggest name and should be remunerated as such but not at the level that it is and you also should not be able to put that money into the racing."

So ahead of the March 26 meeting, and the June deadline for the 2021 rules to be finalized, Brown said he is expecting "fireworks".

"It's negotiation but I am optimistic F1 will do the right things and sign up all ten teams and we will have a much better, more competitive F1 from 2021 onwards," he said.

Boullier knew McLaren-Honda would fail

Eric Boullier
Eric Boullier

(GMM) Former McLaren boss Eric Boullier said he realized immediately that the McLaren-Honda adventure would be a failure.

"Already in the first meeting I realized how unprepared they were for the enormous challenge they faced," the Frenchman told the Sokuho magazine.

"I told Ron Dennis immediately that we would need at least three or four years of development to get to the top, but the contracts were already signed and Dennis was sure he could relive past successes."

After three years, McLaren dumped Honda and switched to customer Renault power.

Boullier said: "The current engines are very sophisticated, and only Mercedes was ready to outperform the competition based on years of development.

"The union between McLaren and Honda could not have come at a more complicated time in terms of the technical-historical moment."

Boullier said McLaren's woes were then exacerbated with the switch to Renault power, when the team's 2018 chassis was not up to scratch.

"We realized in April that had completely missed the mark with the car," he said.

"We found serious problems in the correlation of data and no solution until it was too late. In some respects we were less competitive than in 2017, which was difficult to cope with on a level of morale."

Vandoorne not interested in McLaren progress

Stoffel Vandoorne would just as soon forget McLaren
Stoffel Vandoorne would just as soon forget McLaren

(GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne says he did not follow the progress of his former F1 employer McLaren as the 2019 season started.

The Belgian driver was ousted by McLaren and now works for Mercedes, both as a simulator and Formula E driver.

"No, I didn't," he told AS newspaper when asked if he watched how McLaren went in Melbourne two weeks ago.

"Now I work for Mercedes so I know it went very well for us."

Vandoorne said he is happy to be in Formula E.

"This is where I want to be, and where I want to have a strong future," he said.

"HWA will become Mercedes next year and I want to be part of it. That is my goal, to be a champion here."

Vandoorne said the level of driving in Formula E is very high.

"I think it's impossible to say the name of a driver who does not deserve to be here," he said.

"In F1, of course there are very, very good drivers, but also there are some drivers that are, let's say, less good," Vandoorne added.

03/24/19 Though the fate of the sport and its participants will not be sealed at this week's meeting between F1, the FIA and the ten teams currently contesting the world championship by the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, we should have a much better idea of where the various parties stand.

The technical and sporting rules are one thing, and already a number of teams have expressed their 'unease', however it is F1's plans for a total overhaul of the financial side of things where the fun and games should really begin.

Then, other than the scrapping, or serious reduction of the various bonuses, there is the little matter of the prize pot.

While the big guns have admitted that they might accept a more level playing field, others are looking for total parity.

"Once it is leveled, that should accelerate everyone's competitiveness," McLaren boss, Zak Brown tells the Observer, the American citing NFL as a good example.

"F1 has had dominant periods," he adds, "but a great F1 is no one dominates any more. It might mean a team winning two championships on the trot, not five or six."

Looking ahead to Tuesday's meeting, and the package that will be put forward, he says: "For McLaren it has to tick two boxes; to be financially viable and to be able to fight fairly and competitively.

"If it wasn't that, we would seriously have to consider our position in F1," he warns, a 'threat' made previously, albeit for different reasons, by Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Renault. "That's not a position we want to be in.

"People throw it out there as a negotiating tactic but this has to be a fiscally responsible, competitive racing team," he continues, "and, if we feel the new rules don't put us in that situation, we would have to review our participation in F1.

"Revenue distribution should be more balanced, should be performance oriented," he insists. "To a lesser degree than today there should be recognition for your history. We all agree Ferrari is the biggest name and should be remunerated as such but not at the level that it is and you also should not be able to put that money into the racing.

"I am optimistic that everyone will participate," he says of the meeting. "There will be fireworks between now and then, it's negotiation but I am optimistic F1 will do the right things and sign up all ten teams and we will have a much better, more competitive F1 from 2021 onwards."

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