Having secured their first points finish of the season in round six of the championship in Monaco, McLaren were quick to downplay there chances in Canada, round seven. It proved correct as both cars ultimately ended up retiring from the race and the team and Honda came in for a lot of criticism.
Many jumped at Alonso’s radio message during the race where he argued the point of saving fuel, wanting to go racing instead, after listing all the problems with the car.
It doesn’t help that people constantly refer to the last time the two were in Formula One together during the late 1980s and early 1990s. I would however urge those people to get that partnership out of their minds since when that partnership was signed for the 1988 season, Honda had been in the sport since the early 1980s and had already been challenging and winning championships with the Williams team. McLaren at the time had recently come out of a dip in the early 1980s after creating the TAG-Turbo engine which had helped turn the team’s fortunes around and had guided them to championships in 1984, 1985 and 1986.
Compare that to McLaren and Honda of 2015 where Honda have returned from a six year absence from the sport, having quit at the end of 2008 and have entered at a time where even established engine manufacturers such as Renault, who have been in the sport since the early 2000s, are struggling with the new V6 Hybrid Turbo engines. McLaren, on the other hand haven’t won a championship of any kind since 2008 and haven’t won a race since 2012, a far cry from 1988 when they had won three races the previous season and had won a title two years prior.
Most people have known before the start of the season that the McLaren-Honda package had issues, and that it would take time to get them resolved. Yes, you would expect a team with the resources that McLaren have, to make progress but surely the idea that all of those issues would be resolved seven rounds into the 2015 season is misguided. As the team’s current drivers were quoted as saying, patience is required.