McLaren set for January 24 launch

Leave a comment

McLaren didn’t win any races, or even score any podiums, in what was a frustrating 2013 campaign. But, the legendary British team may be the first to launch their 2014 challenger. Mercedes has also announced for Jan. 28.

From the team this morning: “We will reveal our 2014 Formula 1 car, the MP4-29, during an online-only digital launch at 12:00pm midday UK time on Friday January 24.”

Whether that will be the first launch of a 2014 chassis is still yet to be determined. But there’s a few things we need to look out for with this launch:

  • The presence of its new title sponsor, with Vodafone out. The 2014 season could be a “stop-gap” season on the primary sponsor role if the Honda power unit presence in 2015 means it has any say on the livery. Alternatively, a new title sponsor for 2014 could carry the brand forward for a long time to come. The 2006 season saw a “stop-gap” livery in-between the departure of West after 2005, per tightened tobacco regulations, and Vodafone’s introduction ahead of 2007.
  • Kevin Magnussen’s presence. The rookie will be introduced in full McLaren guise, beyond just interviews as one of its junior drivers, on this occasion.
  • The car itself. Renderings have made the 2014 cars look awkward at certain spots, so seeing what a 2014 chassis looks like in the flesh will produce its own round of reactions.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.