McLaren needed deal with major carmaker – Whitmarsh

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McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said it was crucial for the team to agree a new engine deal with a car manufacturer.

The team announced last week it will reunite with former engine supplier Honda in 2015.

“McLaren needs to be supported and teamed in a full works effort with a major automotive manufacturer,” said Whitmarsh at a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.

“We’re going to be doing all we can to win races with Mercedes this year and next, but inevitably moving to Honda in 2015 gives us a bedrock of being one of the big teams.

“It ensures that in the long term we have the resources, the correct structure and focus, to be successful.”

Whitmarsh added the switch between engine suppliers, which will come after the first year of F1’s new engine regulations, will be “a tough challenge for the team”.

McLaren and Honda won their first race together in the 1988 Brazilian Grand Prix and their last race together in the 1992 Australian Grand Prix. During that period they amassed 44 wins out of a possible 80, four consecutive constructors’ championship victories and four drivers’ titles won by Ayrton Senna (three) and Alain Prost (one).

Driver Jenson Button will be reunited with Honda having used their engines between 2003 and 2008.

F1 2017 driver review: Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen

Team: Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 2
Podiums (excluding wins): 2
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 168
Laps Led: 133
Championship Position: 6th

Max Verstappen rise as a once-in-a-generation talent continued through the 2017 Formula 1 season, even if reliability issues meant we were made to wait for his best form to arrive.

Verstappen stole the show in a wet-dry Chinese Grand Prix by charging from 16th to seventh in the opening lap before ultimately finishing third for Red Bull, yet he would not grace the podium again until the Malaysian Grand Prix at the start of October.

A combination of power unit problems and on-track clashes saw Verstappen retire from seven of the 12 races in the intermittent period, with incidents in Spain and Austria being avoidable.

Perhaps most embarrassing of all was his stoppage due to a power unit failure in front of a grandstand swathed in orange at the Belgian Grand Prix, a race tens of thousands of Dutch fans had attended to cheer Verstappen on.

But when Verstappen got things right, it was – as he frequently quoted – simply, simply lovely. There was plenty left in the tank, as proven by his sheer domination of the races in Malaysia and Mexico as he took the second and third wins of his career.

Perhaps even more impressive was Verstappen’s victory over Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the qualifying head-to-head battle this year, an area the Australian has traditionally been strong in. Verstappen outqualifed his teammate 13-7 – it wasn’t even close…

All in all, Verstappen once again proved that on his day, he is one of the finest talents to grace F1 in recent years. With the right car underneath him next year, a title fight is certainly possible and will be the target – but there is always room for improvement.

And that is the scary part: Verstappen is only going to get better and better.

Season High: Dominating in Malaysia after an early pass on Lewis Hamilton.

Season Low: Crashing out on Lap 1 in Austria.