F1: 3 people McLaren is depending on in 2019
Having aimed high in their first year with Renault engines, McLaren got 62 points at an average of $3.23m/point and finished sixth in the 2018 championships.
Having set themselves the target of challenging Red Bull and Renault, they fell short by quite a few fractions of seconds a lap. Technically, they finished behind Force India after their points were wiped off due to them slipping into administration; and then being rescued by the Lawrence Stroll led consortium.
With a fresh set of regulations next year, this is yet another chance for the British constructor to bounce back if they can find the right ideas and the right people to execute them. Weirdly, two of the three people they would be depending on are not yet fully involved at the Surrey factory.
Meanwhile the third is desperately trying to get more sponsorship to be able to better compete with the leaders on equal foot financially.
McLaren has Bahraini money to fall back on but nothing compares to sponsor money that only comes from better performance on the racing circuits. The crucial year of 2019 has the team banking on these three people to get them out of the mess and challenge.
#3 James Key
McLaren have high expectations from their incoming Technical Director James Key, who they managed to entice from Toro Rosso.
So eager were they to bring him on board as soon as possible that at the point, Lando Norris was being considered to be loaned to Toro Rosso as barter in order to facilitate a shorter gardening leave for Key.
Given their troubles with the car this season despite a change from Honda to Renault engines, it is quite understandable too.
CEO Zak Brown believes the team’s incoming technical director should be able to join early enough to be able to contribute to the development of MCL34, who said
[Regarding] James Key, we are in active discussions. I would characterise those discussions towards the end of coming to a positive conclusion for all parties (McLaren, Key and Toro Rosso).
Key is expected to be at the McLaren Technology Center in Woking, but not to design the car from its earliest stage, for that has been in the works since June 2018.
He would, however, be there for the further upgrades through 2019 and finally mastermind the 2020 car.