This year, McLaren have been unable to blame a poor engine for their struggles. After announcing the switch to Renault power for 2018, the team promised a step back towards the front. They have scored more points this year than at the same stage last year, but they are still behind teams running the same power unit as them, like Renault and Red Bull.
The problems were evident before the season even started when they were forced to use a modified 2017 spec chassis in testing. There have been more problems as the season has progressed that have held McLaren back in the development race. The team have a wind tunnel problem which means they can't effectively develop new parts before they go on the car. This has clearly held them back in the development race as they have struggled for points in recent races. The team has been forced to dedicate Friday practice sessions to testing new parts instead of collecting data for the race.
In recent weeks, McLaren have taken the blame, and have made management changes with hopes to create positive change sooner rather than later. Eric Boullier was replaced with Gil de Ferran prior to the British GP. McLaren's CEO, Zach Brown, revealed that Boullier's resignation was planned, but insisted that it would take years for McLaren to be fighting with the top teams again.
It will take more than a few management changes to fix the team because the downward spiral might not be over yet. McLaren could lose Alonso at the end of this season due to their lack of performance. Losing Alonso would mean losing valuable experience developing the car and his ability to drag the car into the points when it really doesn't belong there. Alonso seems keen to move to Indycar next season to complete his triple crown bid. Lando Norris is a promising replacement, but he lacks the experience of a veteran like Alonso.
At this point, there aren't any quick and easy solutions. It was a quick fall from the top, but it will undoutedly be a long process. For more news in the lead up to the German GP join F1 Addicts.
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