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Which McLaren driver will win their TMW?
Poll ended at Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:53 pm
Lando Norris 27%  27%  [ 6 ]
Carlos Sainz Jr. 73%  73%  [ 16 ]
Total votes : 22
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:53 pm 
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The fourth (and final) team to head into 2019 with an all-new line-up is McLaren, and they're the focus of our fifth TMW predictions poll.

It was another challenging year for McLaren who, despite switching from Honda power to Renault, still managed to finish no higher than 6th in the WCC (and that was only by virtue of Force India losing the points they'd gained when Lawrence Stroll's takeover went through). They were comfortably the slowest of the three Renault-powered teams and endured another season without so much as a podium finish. The upshot of it all is that Fernando Alonso has ended (definitely, probably!) his F1 career, while Stoffel Vandoorne was dropped after two seasons in F1.

It means that McLaren's line-up will be comprised of their latest big hope for the future, Lando Norris, and ex-Toro Rosso and Renault driver, Carlos Sainz Jr.

Sainz moves to McLaren with a career-best finish of P4, achieved in Singapore in 2017. 2018 was his best year in terms of points finishes, ending a total of 13 races in the top 10, albeit ultimately ending up with 1 point less than he had in 2017. He's a former Formula Renault 3.5 champion, but was passed over in the Red Bull young driver programme twice - initially when Max Verstappen was given a Toro Rosso seat before him, and then again this year when Red Bull decided to promote Pierre Gasly rather than the Spaniard after Daniel Ricciardo chose to move to Renault. You could argue that he's a good fit for McLaren right now - a driver with a decent amount of experience who is still relatively young, who like the team is eager to demonstrate he can deliver better results than he has up until now.

For Lando Norris, the first goal must be to carve out a longer career with McLaren than other young drivers have managed in recent years. Stoffel Vandoorne was dropped after two seasons while Kevin Magnussen was only afforded one, having himself replaced Sergio Perez after the Mexican's debut season with the team. Depending on their relative competitiveness, Norris' fortunes might also be compared to those of fellow F2 graduates George Russell and Alex Albon. Ultimately though, it'll be how he stacks up against his experienced Spanish team-mate that dictates whether Lando Norris has the chance to go on and enjoy a career that is even 10% as successful as what Lewis Hamilton (who, let's be honest, is who any young British F1 driver is going to be compared to) managed, or if he simply becomes the latest in an increasing line of young drivers McLaren have tossed to the side.

Sainz isn't hyped anywhere near as much a Max Verstappen or even a Charles Leclerc, so a poor performance against him won't do Norris any favours, while for Sainz losing to a rookie could have a similar effect on his career. Which will come out on top in 2019?


Completed Polls
Racing Point Force India: Sergio Perez 87% - 13% Lance Stroll
Sauber: Kimi Raikkonen 88% - 12% Antonio Giovinazzi
Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat 60% - 40% Alex Albon
Williams: George Russell 75% - 25% Robert Kubica

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2019: 11th | 2018: 5th | 2017: 6th | 2016: 8th | 2015: 2nd | 2014: 15th | 2013: 17th | 2012: 11th


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:27 pm 
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Should be an easy win for Sainz. I like Norris, and I do believe he has great potential, but I personally feel he's in F1 a year too early and still has far too many rough edges to match a driver like Sainz early in the year. His goal should be to come out on top more often than not by the end of the year, not to actually finish ahead on the season.

Unfortunately, since Sainz is quite badly underrated I'm sure people will criticize Norris very quickly if he looks slower early in the year.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:50 pm 
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I think Norris has a real chance. He called his Formula 2 season his worst ever single seater season so I feel there is a heck of a lot more potential to unlock.

Carlos Sainz is pretty solid but hasn't proven to be anything special. He'll start the season stronger than Norris but I expect Lando to have his number by the summer break.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:24 am 
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Seeing how his Friday morning test results last year depended on whose car he was driving, I would say it will now depend on which driver the team is most eager to please.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:52 am 
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Fiki wrote:
Seeing how his Friday morning test results last year depended on whose car he was driving, I would say it will now depend on which driver the team is most eager to please.

The car, or which driver he was being compared to? He was slightly faster than Vandoorne in Spa, and noticeably slower than Alonso in Japan. That's not really enough data points to draw any conclusions from, but I certainly don't find it hard to believe that both of those could be true without the car distorting the picture.

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TOP THREE CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): Champions in 2015 & 2018 | 2nd in 2017
AUTOSPORT GP PREDICTOR: 2017 USA & P-F1 Champion | #2 in the world in 2017


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:34 pm 
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BMWSauber84 wrote:
I think Norris has a real chance. He called his Formula 2 season his worst ever single seater season so I feel there is a heck of a lot more potential to unlock.

Carlos Sainz is pretty solid but hasn't proven to be anything special. He'll start the season stronger than Norris but I expect Lando to have his number by the summer break.

His worse season because it was the highest level of competition he had faced thus far?

There's levels to this, he was able to breeze through each level until he reached F2 were perhaps his inexperience was exposed and now he jumps into F1 were he will be even more inexperienced.

It points to a driver that is not really ready for F1 and even though Sainz reputation took a bit of a hit last year I think he will have too much for Norris in his rookie season.

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PF1 Pick 10 Competition

2013: 5th Place
2014: Champion
2015: 3rd Place
2016: 4th Place

2017: 9th Place
2018: 7th place
2019: Currently 16th

Wins: Canada 2018, Abu Dhabi 2017
Podiums: (8)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:06 pm 
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Sainz should have the edge over Norris. I'd echo the sentiment that Norris in F1 at least a year early. His F2 season was all over the place and while he's clearly a talented young driver, he definitely needed another year (at least) before making the step up to F1. However, yet more McLaren mismanagement meant they'd put themselves in a position where they had to give him a seat or risk losing him, so not only have they had to promote him before they really should, it has also meant they've had to cut ties on Vandoorne. Maybe they would've made that decision regardless of whether they had to promote Norris or not, but it's just another example of McLaren getting simple things wrong.

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Pick 10 | 1st x3, 2nd x3, 3rd x8
2019: 11th | 2018: 5th | 2017: 6th | 2016: 8th | 2015: 2nd | 2014: 15th | 2013: 17th | 2012: 11th


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:20 pm 
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Jenson's Understeer wrote:
Sainz should have the edge over Norris. I'd echo the sentiment that Norris in F1 at least a year early. His F2 season was all over the place and while he's clearly a talented young driver, he definitely needed another year (at least) before making the step up to F1. However, yet more McLaren mismanagement meant they'd put themselves in a position where they had to give him a seat or risk losing him, so not only have they had to promote him before they really should, it has also meant they've had to cut ties on Vandoorne. Maybe they would've made that decision regardless of whether they had to promote Norris or not, but it's just another example of McLaren getting simple things wrong.

I think that's a bit harsh on McLaren, really. Given the choices you've presented it seems they were between a rock and a hard place. I agree they've messed up on the engineering side but the driver situation is just a consequence of that to be fair. If Vandoorne had stepped up to the plate then they would have felt secure in keeping him, but is his failure McLaren's fault or his own?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:25 pm 
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I will go bold and saying that Norris will win at the end. They are both new to the car and the team. So, Norris stands a better chance than most would give him.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:06 pm 
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Zoue wrote:
Jenson's Understeer wrote:
Sainz should have the edge over Norris. I'd echo the sentiment that Norris in F1 at least a year early. His F2 season was all over the place and while he's clearly a talented young driver, he definitely needed another year (at least) before making the step up to F1. However, yet more McLaren mismanagement meant they'd put themselves in a position where they had to give him a seat or risk losing him, so not only have they had to promote him before they really should, it has also meant they've had to cut ties on Vandoorne. Maybe they would've made that decision regardless of whether they had to promote Norris or not, but it's just another example of McLaren getting simple things wrong.

I think that's a bit harsh on McLaren, really. Given the choices you've presented it seems they were between a rock and a hard place. I agree they've messed up on the engineering side but the driver situation is just a consequence of that to be fair. If Vandoorne had stepped up to the plate then they would have felt secure in keeping him, but is his failure McLaren's fault or his own?


I wasn't criticising McLaren for dropping Vandoorne, although looking back on the way I worded that post I can see how that might've been interpreted in that way. The point I was trying to make is that someone on McLaren's side agreed to Norris' contract with a clause in it that meant McLaren either gave him a race seat by the end of 2018 or he was free to break the contract and join another team. What would they have done if Alonso hadn't decided to leave F1, and Vandoorne's performances had been much stronger? They would then have had to either drop Vandoorne - who in this scenario is living up to his pre-F1 potential - or let a very good young driver in Norris potentially end up in another team's (Red Bull's, you would assume) young driver programme.

The irony is that Vandoorne's performance making it so easy to drop him has actually allowed them to dodge a bullet, but had they ended up in that situation I mentioned above it would've been another example of the mismanagement within the team.

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2019: 11th | 2018: 5th | 2017: 6th | 2016: 8th | 2015: 2nd | 2014: 15th | 2013: 17th | 2012: 11th


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:01 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
BMWSauber84 wrote:
I think Norris has a real chance. He called his Formula 2 season his worst ever single seater season so I feel there is a heck of a lot more potential to unlock.

Carlos Sainz is pretty solid but hasn't proven to be anything special. He'll start the season stronger than Norris but I expect Lando to have his number by the summer break.

His worse season because it was the highest level of competition he had faced thus far?

There's levels to this, he was able to breeze through each level until he reached F2 were perhaps his inexperience was exposed and now he jumps into F1 were he will be even more inexperienced.

It points to a driver that is not really ready for F1 and even though Sainz reputation took a bit of a hit last year I think he will have too much for Norris in his rookie season.


He was already more competitive than Vandoorne in practice sessions when the opportunity came. Obviously I'd expect Sainz to be more than competitive than Vandoorne but I think there are good raw ingredients there with Norris.

I'll admit that if my life depended on picking a winner between the safe pick would be Sainz. But I genuinely expect Norris to be outperforming him over the last 5 races of the season if not before.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:04 pm 
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BMWSauber84 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
BMWSauber84 wrote:
I think Norris has a real chance. He called his Formula 2 season his worst ever single seater season so I feel there is a heck of a lot more potential to unlock.

Carlos Sainz is pretty solid but hasn't proven to be anything special. He'll start the season stronger than Norris but I expect Lando to have his number by the summer break.

His worse season because it was the highest level of competition he had faced thus far?

There's levels to this, he was able to breeze through each level until he reached F2 were perhaps his inexperience was exposed and now he jumps into F1 were he will be even more inexperienced.

It points to a driver that is not really ready for F1 and even though Sainz reputation took a bit of a hit last year I think he will have too much for Norris in his rookie season.


He was already more competitive than Vandoorne in practice sessions when the opportunity came. Obviously I'd expect Sainz to be more than competitive than Vandoorne but I think there are good raw ingredients there with Norris.

I'll admit that if my life depended on picking a winner between the safe pick would be Sainz. But I genuinely expect Norris to be outperforming him over the last 5 races of the season if not before.

I'm not sure how much you can read into practice sessions?

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PF1 Pick 10 Competition

2013: 5th Place
2014: Champion
2015: 3rd Place
2016: 4th Place

2017: 9th Place
2018: 7th place
2019: Currently 16th

Wins: Canada 2018, Abu Dhabi 2017
Podiums: (8)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:20 pm 
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Jenson's Understeer wrote:
Zoue wrote:
Jenson's Understeer wrote:
Sainz should have the edge over Norris. I'd echo the sentiment that Norris in F1 at least a year early. His F2 season was all over the place and while he's clearly a talented young driver, he definitely needed another year (at least) before making the step up to F1. However, yet more McLaren mismanagement meant they'd put themselves in a position where they had to give him a seat or risk losing him, so not only have they had to promote him before they really should, it has also meant they've had to cut ties on Vandoorne. Maybe they would've made that decision regardless of whether they had to promote Norris or not, but it's just another example of McLaren getting simple things wrong.

I think that's a bit harsh on McLaren, really. Given the choices you've presented it seems they were between a rock and a hard place. I agree they've messed up on the engineering side but the driver situation is just a consequence of that to be fair. If Vandoorne had stepped up to the plate then they would have felt secure in keeping him, but is his failure McLaren's fault or his own?


I wasn't criticising McLaren for dropping Vandoorne, although looking back on the way I worded that post I can see how that might've been interpreted in that way. The point I was trying to make is that someone on McLaren's side agreed to Norris' contract with a clause in it that meant McLaren either gave him a race seat by the end of 2018 or he was free to break the contract and join another team. What would they have done if Alonso hadn't decided to leave F1, and Vandoorne's performances had been much stronger? They would then have had to either drop Vandoorne - who in this scenario is living up to his pre-F1 potential - or let a very good young driver in Norris potentially end up in another team's (Red Bull's, you would assume) young driver programme.

The irony is that Vandoorne's performance making it so easy to drop him has actually allowed them to dodge a bullet, but had they ended up in that situation I mentioned above it would've been another example of the mismanagement within the team.

Oh I see fair enough if that's what the contractual situation with Norris was then yeah, that would seem to be a recipe for future problems


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:33 pm 
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I voted for Sainz. I don't buy into the Norris hype, to me he didn't look anything special in F2 last year and his title challenge rested heavily on not suffering as many setbacks with the infamously temperamental clutch in the early part of the season. His place on the F1 grid is well deserved, I just don't expect him to beat Sainz who is no slouch.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:03 pm 
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I'm firmly in the camp of those who believe Norris could use another season in F2. I will be surprised if he bests Sainz next year.


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