What to do About McLaren / F1

I had never really understood why people would get out of bed to watch a game of rugby at three o’clock in the morning. When I was at school (pre-internet days) Monday would have the inevitable dissection of Sunday’s match and much talking about watching the All Blacks live at the early hours. Not being a rugby fan, I just didn’t get why they bothered, especially as the All Blacks often won so much. That was until I really started following Formula One (F1) in the late 90s’ when it appeared live on TV in New Zealand.

The problem with watching F1 live in New Zealand is that most of the races start around midnight. If I want to watch the full race without knowing the result I have to either watch it live, recorded and before work in the morning, or wait until the evening and avoid any media / internet throughout the day. My preferred schedule for many years, until 2017, has been to start watching at five o’clock in the morning, finish at seven am and still get to work on time.

2017, was the first time I didn’t set the alarm for that early Monday start for the night and European races. I lost interest. Mercedes had a bit of a fight on their hands and the cars looked better however the “sport” for me wasn’t “doing it”.

Aside from the predictability of the racing, over complicated cars and lack of on track action, McLaren was having another poor season with Honda.

I’ve been a McLaren fan (even a Team McLaren Member) for many years,  and seen the highs and lows, which are part of any sport however when Ron Dennis was outed and Honda had another rubbish power unit my patience was tested. In fact the leaving of Ron Dennis and the way it happened, from the view of an outsider, almost caused me to give up following McLaren and F1 completely. Poor performance was just the icing on the stale McLaren cake. If Fernando Alonso would rather race the Indy 500 than Monaco then I’d rather watch that series and Scott Dixon races there of course.

Since the 2018 season started, the racing has been more entertaining so I’ll give F1 a pass, so far. McLaren have of course switched to Renault and have yet to really get it together. Indeed, if not for Brendan Hartley racing for Toro Rosso, I’d give F1 a miss and just catch the highlights and the excellent news on pitpass.com.

Regarding the switch to Renault, I can see why McLaren ditched Honda however to not go to Mercedes instead was a mistake in my uneducated opinion and McLaren might as well stayed where they were with Honda. Nothing against Renault however why not go for the top power unit?

McLaren are probably the most frustrating team in sport to follow. They have all the right ingredients but can’t seem to bake a decent cake. Should I just ditch them and follow someone else?

Following Ferrari would be like following Manchester United in the English Premier League. Better to stick with Chelsea regarding that comparison. Willams? Switching from one looser to another isn’t that appealing. Then again, Williams can only go up from where they are now. Or out.

At the moment  I think I’ll follow Hartley (who needs a decent result, and fast), Toro Rosso / Red Bull and leave it at that. I don’t know who said it but apparently the Olympics, Football, and motorsport are the most nationalistic sports.

F1 and McLaren have been through odd slumps before however I’ve been optimistic that things would come right. Now, I’m not so sure and really am struggling to be enthused, or care. Maybe that is just a symptom of getting older.

There is a lot of time for something more productive when not following racing at all. I’m struggling to see the point in getting up early to find out the inevitable.


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