It's been a disappointing start to the new Formula 1 season for McLaren with performances falling short of expectations. With this they have already taken action by restructuring the management of their team. This move is seen as a positive step as they look to quickly regain lost ground and get back on track, before it becomes too late.
As things stand, Fernando Alonso is currently placed sixth in the championship standings, behind the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. However, second driver Stoffel Vandoorne is down in 11th after only picking up 6 points so far this season. There are also serious concerns that McLaren have really struggled to match the pace of the Red Bulls', who are seen as their direct competition.
The move by McLaren to restructure their management set up sees current Executive director Zak Brown as the man tasked with overseeing the team's F1 programme. With this, he will now have the new title of chief executive of McLaren Racing. This also means that the team's racing director, Eric Boullier, will report directly to Brown going forward.
This is likely to increase the pressure on both Brown and Boullier as they take on more responsibility than before. Brown will have to oversee the on-track performance of the team, while still fulfilling his other duties such as bringing in fresh income via sponsorship deals. Boullier will have to ensure that the performance of the cars on the track improves over the course of the next few races.
When compared with the Red Bull, the McLaren has so far been around a second slower per lap. Both cars currently use the same Renault engine, with McLaren switching after a disappointing period using Honda engines. It's believed that there have been delays to car development which step from reliability during pre-season testing, with Fernando Alonso describing it as "crucial" that these matters are overcome over the next couple of months.
Things seemed to come to a head in Bahrain after Alonso and Vandoorne qualified in 13th and 14th respectively. It's believed that Boullier skipped the usual post-qualifying press conference in order to attend an emergency debrief with the the team after disappointing performances in qualifying. Alonso spoke in Boullier's absence and insisted that the new parts that were coming would address the problems the cars had.
McLaren have undergone quite a shake up over the last year or so. Long time boss Ron Dennis quite after being told that he would have to give up his positions at the company by shareholders Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa of Bahrain and Mansour Ojjeh. McLaren wanted a more streamlined management structure, with Sheikh Mohammed and Ojjeh part of an executive committee.
McLaren are certainly not favourites to win the Drivers or Constructors Championship titles, with Hamilton and Mercedes favourites to win both at most popular online betting sites like Unibet. However, the move is to ensure that the team starts to think about seriously competing with the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in the near future.
They'll certainly be hoping that the changes to the management of the Formula 1 team will pay off over the course of the next couple of months. With new parts on the way, it will be up to the team to get things right, rectifying the mistakes that have cost them so far. The pressure is really on now for Zak Brown and Eric Boullier as they oversee the on track activities.