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.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski