MCLAREN'S 2015 TRIO: Jenson Button (left) will be paired with Fernando Alonso (right) at McLaren. Kevin Magnussen will be test and reserve driver. Will they score a win for the new McLaren-Honda team in 2015? Image: McLaren
LONDON, England - McLaren must aim for at least one win during the 2015 Formula 1 season as it starts a new partnership with Honda.
That’s according to David Coulthard, one of the Formula 1 team's former drivers.
The former F1 champion team has not won since 2012 and finished 2014 - its final year with Mercedes engines - in fifth place.
TIME FOR CHANGE
Coulthard spent nine seasons with McLaren. He is now a TV pundit and Red Bull consultant and told Reuters that Honda had had the pedigree and time to prepare for a winning return to F1.
"It has to be, as a company that produced championship engines and has turbo technology from IndyCars, at least where Renault and Ferrari are. They can't be worse than that," said Coulthard, “and where Renault in 2014 was good enough to win three GP’s.
"Of course they won't be pitching themselves as championship contenders in 2015 but why would you not pitch for race victories if Red Bull can finish second (overall) with a Renault (engine) that clearly was struggling?"
Mercedes won 16 of the 19 races in 2014. Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo took the other three.
'IN THE MIX'
Coulthard continued: "It takes time to turn the old supertanker - it doesn't turn on its nose - but you underestimate (McLaren group chairman and former principal) Ron (Dennis) at your peril. The goal must be to be to try to win a GP in 2015, not just try for a podium.
"Mercedes will probably still be dominant but Red Bull and Ferrari must be closer and McLaren-Honda has to be in that mix.”
McLaren has restructured its operation, bringing back Spanish double F1 champion Fernando Alonso from Ferrari as team mate to 2009 champion Jenson Button. Alonso had one turbulent season with McLaren in 2007 but those differences have been forgotten with McLaren fielding the most-experienced pairing in the pits lane.
"Fernando still has to be regarded as the drivers' driver," added Coulthard. "It's a marriage of convenience rather than pure love - the cuddly pictures don't fool anyone, do they? - but Alonso is a serial winner and McLaren has been.
"Jenson is a very solid, safe pair of hands and I think it’s the right thing for him to still be there... if all of those ingredients can't make an award-winning cake, there's something fundamentally wrong somewhere.
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