McLaren fails FIA tests and may miss Jerez which prompted Dennis takeover

17 January, 2014

Martin Whitmarsh with Sam Michael

Martin Whitmarsh with Sam Michael

In the aftermath of a disastrous 2013 season for McLaren, Ron Dennis has engineered his return to the helm as CEO with the mandate to return the Formula 1 operation to its winning ways. The catalyst for the moves at Woking appear to have arisen after the team’s 2014 car failed the FIA tests which may force the team to miss the first test at Jerez.

Reports in Italy indicate that the MP4-29, designed by Matt Morris, is behind schedule due to failing the mandatory FIA crash tests.

This implies that the online presentation scheduled for 24 January will not feature the complete and ready to test MP4-29, but rather a mock-up of the 2014 car.

McLaren’s  response to queries by Grand Prix 247 was: “At this time of the year it’s normal for all teams to be pushing everything to the limit in an effort to extract the most performance, and crash tests are no different. McLaren will pass all the tests prior to track running.”

McLaren factory (File Photo

McLaren factory (File Photo)

This could fulfill Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier’s prediction that his team will not be the only outfit to miss the opening F1 preseason test at Jerez which starts on 28 January.

Meanwhile Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh could exit McLaren in the wake of Dennis’ coup d’etat, while the likes of managing director Jonathan Neale and sporting director Sam Michael could also be heading out the door or face redeployment within the organisation.

Dennis is reportedly seriously courting out of work Ross Brawn to lead the team into the future, which includes a return to Honda power in 2015. Brawn has deep ties with the Japanese motor manufacturer, while McLaren have ambitious plans – which go well beyond Formula 1 – for their reunification with Honda. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.


  • Tamburello_1994

    How the mighty have fallen . . .

    Dennis needs to break the bank to get Ross in there to try and right this ship. Anyone could have a down year, But this is getting embarrassing.

    Missing Jerez? That’s just awful.

  • ismail ali

    Mclaren is Rons life and blood a good time to step in and steer Mac F1 to winning ways Ross B would be ideal man for team principal

  • matthew

    Um… caterham passed the test, why can’t mclaren? I knew their troubles would carry into 2014! They’re starting to become as pitiful as lotus!

  • Marcus

    Should it not be MP4-29?

  • Ross Brawn Did Not Do So Well At Mercedes

    Well looking back at the past few years it seems Ross Brawn did not do so hot at Mercedes and ended up getting caught breaking the rules with the illegal Mercedes test.

    If not for Mercedes threatening to pull out of Formula One they would have been banned from the 2013 constructors championship. This is the number one reason you do not want manufactures involved with owning teams.

    As for Ross Brawn, he failed at Mercedes by producing a series of dogs for cars. I guess if McLaren wants a car that eats up its tires than Ross Brawn is the right man for the job. Me thinks Ross Brawn has become long in tooth and Formula One has passed him by.

    McLaren would be better off looking someplace else for a team leader.

  • The Pessimist

    McLaren’s on track performances went downhill during MW’s tenure.The 2014 car failing FIA tests is just unacceptable and shows the team which is in the sport for more than five decades in a very negative way, high time MW and SM are shown the door.

  • AFA

    Ross Brawn did a very good job at Mercedes! Did you really expect him to go there and win the championship on the first season? The team was nowhere to be seen for decades. Change takes time and this year, even though the car was difficult to handle, it was a very good car!!

    Re McLaren, I cannot believe they failed the FIA test!! That’s horrible! What on earth have they been doing for the past 3 months? Whitmarsh may have been a friendly team principal, but as a leader he failed miserably! He “lost” a top notch driver, a very good technical director and a bunch of other good engineers because of the treatment they got and the failure to win anything! And amid his many incompetent decisions, he also brought the King of Incompetence to the team, Sam Michael!!! The man has brought gloom to every team he’s been too and you sign him praising his abilities and vision and successes? WHAT successes???

  • matthew

    I’m not entirely sure why my comments keep being deleted. All I’m trying to say is that caterham passed the test, why can’t mclaren? If the safety of the car is not good enough, how poor will the cars performance be?

  • matthew

    If the safety of the car is not good enough, how poor will the cars performance be?

  • matthew

    If the cars safety is not good enough, how poor will the cars performance be?

  • Eevel

    Ross Brawn didn’t do do well at Mercedes????!!!!!!
    What kind of a joke is that?
    They beat Ferrari to second in the championship last year in what was only their fourth year in F1!
    How is that ‘not so good’?

  • RBC

    Merc’s 4th year in F1… Well the team was BAR, Honda, Brawn then Merc so about 15 years in F1. Brand new wind tunnel and a second wind tunnel. 4 technical directors. Hardly a new team. I’m just glad Lewis left that sinking ship for Merc. He must be laughing so hard about that.

  • rvsp

    good chance for mid field teams like SFI and sauber to get a lot more points… lotus already without captain(kimi) now mclaren cant able to find hole in their ship…

  • matthew

    I apologise for my repeated posts, something must have glitched, they kept disappearing.

  • Taskmaster

    Without a doubt the Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher trio were remarkable. Brawn as team principle, not so much – excepting the 2009 fluke-by-rules exploitation. Lately, he’s exhibited uncharacteristic strategic errors, poor in-season development progress, myopic focus on useless gimmicks and an inability to consistently field two reliable cars. 2013 was better, but hardly supports his media reputation as genius. Not a great choice for McLaren as team principle. Tech director along side a strong designer, driven by a superior driver, perhaps. But McLaren doesn’t have a strong designer or superior driver to team with – hardly the dream situation that Brawn succeeds under.

  • MightyK

    @Ross Brawn Did Not Do So Well At Mercedes:
    Helllllooooo. He brought them from behind to finish 2nd in the Constructors’ Championship. His results record in this sport are second to none. Get him in there McLaren.

  • jl

    just remember jenson Win the championship with BRAWN GP

  • JGN

    What a shambles, the sooner McLaren get rid of Sam Michael the better, what has he done for the team? apart from nothing, and Martin Whitmarsh’s comment in early 2013 that the MP4/27 over performed towards the end of 2012 were unbelievable, He should have been shown the door. What ever the cost, get Ross Brawn ASAP.

  • Robin ducker

    Whitmarsh and Michael should be concerned. As a fan I hope they are dog meat for a Rottweiler named Ron.
    Seriously this is a disgrace and Denis had no choice. The bad news is that miracles don’t happen overnight….it will take time to recover from these guys inane meddling.

  • gary muss

    we need to get back up there you will gey my support every time

  • gary muss

    will get my support

  • Dr. Azlan

    McLaren hired Minardi ex-engineers.

  • No to Brawn

    Gee Mercedes bought the championship winning Brawn GP team and went down hill. If not for the illegal Mercedes test they would not have finished second this past year and may not have even finished forth.

    Brawn’s days are behind him.

    As for how long the team has been around the current Mercedes team is a descendant of the Tyrrell formula one team. It then became British American tobacco (BAR) which became Honda and then became Brawn GP before falling under the ownership of Mercedes.

    It was hardly a new team.

  • WestMclarenMercedes

    McLaren with Ron has my support. Get ross no matter what!

  • A41202813GMAIL

    GO, 44 !

  • Tom Riddle

    GO, 69 !

  • RBC

    Ron doesn’t need Ross. He can eat Sam Michaels for breakfast without skipping a beat. I hope his first step is to apologize to Lewis for treating him like crap. I expect Lewis to wipe the floor with McLaren this year.

  • Hawk

    @RBC
    I don’t which page you are reading from. Ron never treated Lewis like crap at all. Lewis himself said Macca’s salary offer was slightly better than Merc. And recall Ron made Lewis and Lewis knows that and respects him. It’s like you saying Fergie treated the likes of Beckham and Ronaldo like crap.

  • RBC

    @ Hawk,

    Ron Denis said to Lewis “We can’t match your existing salary in the current economic climate, we have to lower it.” That was WELL reported in the media and Ron confirmed it.

    That statement to Lewis by Ron was made before Merc came along and made Lewis a real offer.

    THEN Ron came back with a better offer. But he STARTED trying to screw Lewis into accepting a LOWER salary than Button.

    It’s called knowing your topic. You seem to know 50% of what was said, not 100%. Do some more research next time.

  • J@z

    A lot of people seem to be jumping to conclusions based, not on objective facts, but their own prejudices and preferences.
    Brawn’s best years may or may not be behind him, only time will tell, but there’s no question that he has been very successful in F1, at Ferrari MS would not have been the most successful F1 driver ever without Ross’s support.
    When Honda withdrew from F1, largely because of a lack of success, Brawn took the team over and succeeded in enabling Jenson to win his World Championship in their first year as an independent team. Then he took a very uncompetitive Mercedes at the start of last year and helped turn it in to the second most successful team after the all conquering RBR.
    With or without Brawn, let’s hope McLaren get their car’s crash resistance sorted before the start of the season, even if they miss Jerez.

  • DickDastardly

    haha mclaren are so hopeless. there best people have all left.

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