When a seasoned commentator and former Formula 1 driver like Martin Brundle speaks, one has to pay attention to his wisdom. The 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans winner has made a pointed observation about two of his former teams - McLaren and Williams. The two British teams are two of F1's most successful outfits, claiming 17 constructors' titles and with two decades of stellar performances in the 80s and 90s.
However, 2012 was the year that both won a race - with Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button. Since then, they have been caught out in the V6 turbo-hybrid era. McLaren endured a torrid 2015, finishing ninth and Williams was dead-last in 2018. The fall from grace has been calamitous for both.
The Brit believes that circumstances and politics have led to both the constructors in a void between the work teams and their B-teams. Speaking at the Autosport International Show, Brundle said:
"The problem with Williams and to an extent McLaren is they are outside where you need to be these days in Formula 1. You either need to be a manufacturer team or a Haas and Toro Rosso-style B-team with the hand-me-downs. That leaves a void in the middle where Williams and McLaren find themselves because they're not works teams and they're certainly not B-teams."
The success of Oxfordshire based American Team Haas has led to them being criticised by F1 sides like McLaren who believe that their working relationship with Ferrari and Dallara, who supply them with as many parts as possible under the regulations. Brundle realises the situation that it creates for independent teams like Williams and McLaren who have to invest heavily in R&D to stay ahead, while other B-teams are just handed parts.
Every F1 team now believes that it is impossible to win without being a works outfit and there are just 4 ( Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault) of them currently. Brundle, now a pundit with Sky Sports believes that a new template needs to found for the future; and that a way must be found to protect independent teams against such relationships, with B-teams gaining an undue advantage.
"We've only got 20 cars on the grid. You've got to look after your maverick billionaires, you've got to look after your manufacturers as well. There's got to be something for everybody."