Life is full of disappointments, but not many have been as crushing as the story of the McLaren Honda Formula One team. The return to that partnership conjured images of the Senna-Prost glory days, but it mostly meant DNFs, engine failures and Fernando Alonso’s sad, dead-looking eyes. But for 2018, things will be different! Hopefully.
Behold the MCL33, McLaren’s F1 car for 2018. It’s notable for a lot of reasons: a return to the iconic papaya orange livery, a nice dash of purple or violet blue thrown in for good measure, the inclusion of the cockpit halo like all new F1 cars, and most importantly, Renault power. This is the first time in McLaren’s five-decade racing history that one of its F1 cars will get a powerplant from the French manufacturer.
The return to McLaren’s most important historic colors wasn’t taken lightly. McLaren chief Zak Brown told gathered reporters today of the team’s desire to “improve [their] fortunes” and return to respectability for 2018.
They have almost nowhere to go but up. Since 2015, the team’s Honda engines have been plagued with reliability and power problems, and last year it finished ninth in the constructors’ championship with zero podium finishes overall. It has been a tremendous waste of Alonso, a fan favorite and easily one of the best drivers in the game right now, just one who’s been hobbled by a deeply lackluster car.
I’m eager to see if the McLaren Renault era will be different.