Formula 1

McLaren-Honda: A Year to Go, Not to Go

In contrast to Daniel Ricciardo’s difficulties, which have dominated the first half of 2022, McLaren has had a peculiar year thus far.
Their performance on the track has perhaps experienced the most ups and downs of any team on the grid, with neither vehicle even close to the points in Bahrain before Lando Norris took a podium result in Imola just three races later.
A turnaround of P15, P7, P5, and P3 in the first four races is impressive.
Even though the MCL36 has occasionally been rather competitive, they have only accumulated half as many points as they did at the same period last season (81 compared to 163).
Their inability to recreate Norris’ extraordinary streak of never finishing outside the top five in the first 11 races of last year—perhaps making him the true Mr. Consistency instead of George Russell—with their 2022 challenger is a major contributing factor to their stuttering start.
Although Alpine presently shares their points total, they are in in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship after only four more points were added to their 2021 total after 11 races last year.
In this instance, McLaren has moved rearward while remaining in the same spot.
However, there has also been an emotional seesaw with team CEO Zak Brown publicly stating his driver’s contract has “mechanisms” for an early exit and then fully committing to keeping him until 2023. They have done a good job of quietly going about their business despite this, with the attention on Ricciardo possibly serving as a good distraction to their relative lack of points.

The line of drivers waiting to join the team has been placed on hold for the time being, regardless of whether or not this has worked to encourage Ricciardo, which it looks to have done.
In retrospect, that statement sparked rumors that would have given the team needless stress at difficult times.
However, in their current situation away from the circuit, everything appears to be falling into place for them, and they appear to have done everything correctly.
The team received a fresh capital infusion, and they seem to have continued to grow ever since.
The list could go on and on, with the McLaren Racing brand entering IndyCar, Extreme E, and Formula E from next year, Norris and Ricciardo being incredibly well-liked and marketable, and signing a plethora of new sponsors, selling and re-renting their Woking base for a further financial injection.
Their driver lineup is growing in stature as well; it now includes Alex Palou, Colton Herta, and Pato O’Ward, all of whom were within the top five in the IndyCar standings last season, with Palou winning the title outright.
This demonstrates that the team has many promising possibilities for the future in a variety of championships, and the infrastructure within McLaren appears to be among the strongest in Formula 1 right now.
Despite their relative troubles compared to 2021, McLaren still enjoys a great deal of support, and given that their long-term goal is to be competing for World Championships once more by 2024, it appears like their current condition is setting the stage for something truly exceptional.
They will find it worth the wait if there is short-term suffering that results in long-term gain. But for the time being, taking possession of fourth position back from Alpine will have to do.
A fascinating moment lies ahead.