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Eric Boullier: McLaren would be winning in F1 with Mercedes engines

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McLaren Formula 1 racing director Eric Boullier believes the team would be back winning races if it had Mercedes power instead of working with current partner Honda.

McLaren and Mercedes enjoyed a successful partnership in F1 between 1995 and 2014, claiming three drivers’ championships and two constructors’ titles in that period.

McLaren cut ties with Mercedes at the end of 2014 due to the latter’s focus on its factory team, and rekindled its famous partnership with Honda that ruled F1 in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

However, such form has not been forthcoming, with the relationship between McLaren and Honda at maximum strain after a difficult pre-season test period filled with reliability issues.

McLaren’s current race win drought dates back to the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, and it hasn’t scored a podium since Australia 2014.

Speaking to Spanish publication AS, Boullier said he is sure McLaren would be winning races if it still worked with Mercedes instead of Honda.

“I think we would. Yes, we’d be winning again,” Boullier conceded, before admitting that McLaren had to be competitive if it wanted to keep Fernando Alonso on its books.

Two-time world champion Alonso has made his frustration regarding Honda’s power unit clear in recent weeks, and is now in the final year of his McLaren contract.

“He wants to be competitive because he has talent to show the world and to himself,” Boullier said.

“We need to be competitive to keep him happy. If we’re competitive he’ll be happy.

“If not, he’ll take his own decisions.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).