McLaren rebuild ongoing; Honda partnership progressing well

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McLaren chief operating officer Jonathan Neale has explained how McLaren still has a long way to go before it will be back at the front of the field.

After the team’s worst campaign in thirty years last season, the British team appeared to be back on song in 2014 when it secured a double podium finish at the opening round of the season in Australia.

However, since then, the team has slipped back into its 2013 rut. Both Jenson Button and new driver Kevin Magnussen have struggled for pace, but Neale explained how the recovery process is a lengthy one.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do internally to rebuild on the difficulties we have last year,” he said. “It’s well known that we’re actively strengthening the team at the moment. Eric [Boullier] and I and Ron [Dennis] are working hard to make sure we return ourselves to the performance of where we should be as quickly as possible, but it’s a tough job.

“There’s no easy way through this. There’s a lot of culture change going on, there’s a bit of strengthening of the team, there are some tough things to do, but we’re coming back.”

McLaren is currently in the last year of its deal with Mercedes before switching to Honda engines in 2015. The deal is thought to be the final factor that will take the team back to the front of the grid, and Neale shed some light on the progress being made there.

“There’s a lot of work going on in Tochigi and Sakura at the moment with Honda on the power unit,” he said. “They are responsible for the power unit including the ERS in its entirety. We are responsible for the chassis and the systems integration piece.

“Hardware is running, the clock is running and time is short and I think there is a lot of work to do before we’re ready for January of next year.”

BMW confirms IMSA, WEC GTE line-ups for 2018

BMW Motorsport
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BMW has confirmed its driver line-ups for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns.

In an announcement made at its end-of-year Sports Trophy event on Friday night, BMW firmed up its roster across its factory WEC team and its customer RLL Racing IMSA squad.

Two of the 2018 BMW M8 GTEs will enter the WEC next year, joining a hotly-contested GTE-Pro class that already features Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ford.

BMW factory drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk will share the two cars across the 13-month ‘super season’.

The quartet will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

In IMSA, the RLL Racing team will once again field Sims and John Edwards, who will be joined by the incoming Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn.

BMW also confirmed on Friday night that Tom Blomqvist would see out the Formula E season with its Andretti-affiliated team, having been benched for Kamui Kobayashi in Hong Kong.