F1 2017 – The Rookies. Stoffel Vandoorne is another future Champion
Sometimes it takes a bold and ballsy decision to initiate change. The sale of Formula One and eventual removal of Bernie Ecclestone from power is one such decision. The departure of Ron Dennis from McLaren was another.
In recent times, both companies have been seen to be suffering, and the actions of their respective leaders were considered a potential cause. We will see in time whether these decisions have been a success or not.
Zak Brown has certainly got straight to work at McLaren. Utilising all of his expertise in business and marketing to build a buzzing expectation around the unveiling of their new car.
This is exactly the kind of boost the Woking team have needed. There has been a cloud hanging over McLaren since the introduction of their new Honda engines.
A new brand and a new star
Along with the excitement surrounding this new look brand. The imminent debut of Stoffel Vandoorne will no doubt be filling the team with enthusiasm. The boost of a new and exciting young driver is exactly what they need.
Jenson Button was a fantastic driver and top guy, but he was almost too realistic about his prospects. In the twilight of his career, the motivation to push the car beyond its limits was not there.
I cannot imagine Stoffel will be quite so passive. It was evident during his cameo appearance last year. He threw everything he had into that race and came home with a hugely impressive points finish.
Vandoorne will also give team mate Fernando Alonso a much needed kick. The double world champion does not like to lose, especially against a rookie upstart. McLaren will be hoping Fernando gets well and truly fired up.
Vandoorne will join the new generation of superstars
With the team under-performing catastrophically, Stoffel is in a position where it can’t get any worse. Of course, McLaren need to be at the front, winning races, but they can only make progress at this stage. Honda have indicated that their engine is massively improved from previous seasons. If such projections can be believed, the drivers will have chance to actually compete.
I am expecting points and more from McLaren this year. Stoffel has shown already that he is more than capable. He and Alonso could present a real challenge if the car is capable. Vandoorne’s speed is not in doubt. He has proven himself in virtually every feeder category, and impressed hugely in Formula One. The young Belgian looks set to walk straight into a Grand Prix car and compete with the very best.
Fernando must be worried. He won’t have forgotten what happened the last time he partnered a rookie at McLaren. Zak Brown will be hoping he doesn’t have to deal with the kind of fireworks that lit up that particular season.
(Dave Jeffreys CC BY-SA 2.0)
(Dave Jeffreys CC BY-SA 2.0)
((1) Jake Archibald CC BY 2.0)