McLaren Hiring Lando A Mistake - Printable Version

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McLaren Hiring Lando A Mistake - ExoPaul - 03-09-2018

McLaren yet again forgoing experience to choose a rookie driver is yet another example of where the team is heading (clue: backwards). 

Other teams such as Red Bull have used smaller teams to groom drivers, concentrating on letting them gain a year or more of experience with a smaller team before considering them suitably experienced enough to be worthy of a top drive, but with Williams and McLaren they seem to be doing the opposite and are looking to recruit from the inexperienced talent straight out of the box hoping they gain themselves an instant Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen, but it rarely ends this way. 

Ask a few of their previous drivers over the last 10 years, names like Heikki Kovalainen, Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen or Stoffel Vandoorne, how they have got on during the inexperienced early years driving for McLaren, or how they are performing better now they have that experience and moved on to other teams (or formula). Experience is worth a half second a lap! 

That is where I feel this new driver pairing of Sainz and Norris is going to be a flop. The car has already been declared a bad chassis and if Alonso and his moans are to be believed the car is not improving. Vandoorne never had any experience to develop a car, let alone one with a Honda/Renault engine that is brand new to the team to know what felt right and what didn't, and Alonso clearly over-drives the car with his huge talent so it makes it seem that upgrade packages may be working when realistically, they probably were not. 

Lando Norris is just too inexperienced and needs to be in a filter team gaining a year of experience in Formula 1 before given a driver with a top team (not that McLaren can be called a top team any longer) while Sainz should have been a 2nd driver to someone that has the experience of driving a front running team or has regular podiums/wins under his belt. To put Sainz in 1st Driver place when he has only ever driven for poor teams and been outclassed by teammates isn't going to help them judge the car and how it is performing. 

But having Sainz and Ocon, for example, as equal drivers mixing up both their experiences and talent would have been a better solution. Or hiring someone like Raikkonen as 1st and Sainz as second so a clear race winning World Champion with experience of Ferrari and race winning McLaren cars would have given strong development to the car. But instead we have a "potentially talented but rarely seen" Sainz and an unheard of Norris leading the McLaren fightback to the front while a real quality talent, with a fair few races of experience under his belt Ocon is sliding out the F1 door into obscurity. 

I don't expect McLaren to do well in 2019, or even the next few years. I think Williams with Stroll and Sirotkin have shown that talent is no match for experience in this day and age of F1, and until these teams start hiring the drivers that have it, they are never going to be anything more than an "also ran" team. Sainz is their last hope of success, the pressure on his shoulders is extreme because if he fails over the next two years and grows frustrated and walks like Alonso did, then they literally have no talent left on the grid they can realistically acquire, and then that happens, they will never seriously achieve a fight back to the front in the next decade or longer.