Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The end of the Ron Dennis Era

This is a shock development, McLaren has ditched Ron Dennis, the most influential man in the teams history, from Alain Prost to Ayrton Senna to Lewis Hamilton, this man was a scion of everything about the sport, both good, and bad.

The firing of Ron, for what ever reason given by McLaren, is not going to give them some magic boost, teams do not suddenly perform better by ditching the leader of the team. In fact, evidence suggests the opposite, from Bernie Ecclestone to Ross Brawn, team leaders who go away from the team they're leading, usually take quite a bit with them, and they definitely see a drop in performance. Brabham definitely suffered as Bernie became detached from that team, and was no longer that much of a problem for the F1 competition after 1987, and Ross Brawn speaks for himself, Benetton, Ferrari, Brawn F1, all three teams definitely had worse seasons after Ross disappeared, especially Benetton and Ferrari, the 96 season for Benetton took them from first place in both championships, to just third, and Ferrari, well you might say Kimi won the 07 Championship, but unlike during Brawn's time, especially 2000-2005, it was won by a single point and if McLaren had not been disqualified from the Constructors championship, Ferrari would have only won said championship by a point there as well. Then Brawn F1, which gave us the outstanding performance of Jenson Button, and it was only a single season team. I could mention a couple other driver/owners as well, Jackie Stewart was a definite plus for Stewart Racing, and today might have been a prominent team on the grid, Jackie gives his reasons for selling the team, and they were justifiable, but the fact is Jaguar Racing was no hit wonder. Bruce McLaren is another, though we tragically lost him, McLaren had a bad season in 1971 after he was gone from the team, and it took some revolution type stuff  and heroic driving that set those drivers apart from so many others, to bring it back. If Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda left Mercedes for 2017, I would expect them to take some kind of hit based on these teams listed here.

Now how do teams do better season by season, they do it by getting better aero, better engines and a better car, not to mention making sure you have excellent drivers and a pit crew that can pull a tire change in less than 3 seconds. F1 has recognized this, the points system on improving cars, has went out the window, now teams can upgrade at will. The way the FIA got the cost down was the best way possible, make the engines last upwards of 5 or 6 races. Reliability is the new battle in F1, and it will see teams try to make 78 laps on an engine, like a thousand miles is on a normal car, typical and not really much impact. But teams will take advantage of this, and McLaren was in a perfect position to really do just that, but now Ron is gone, and the visions of the 1988 season might very probably disappear for even longer.

Do not take this blog post as some tirade against McLaren, they're one of my two favorite teams, Williams being the other. I simply feel as though this was a mistake, and from the outside looking in, one that might cost em some of the 75 points or more if they do another points finish in the final race for 2017. I really do hope I am wrong, I hope they suddenly come out like gangbusters and win 10 races next season, but I simply do not know and I am even less certain with Ron out.

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