(I know I’m not sticking to the “technical” order, but hey I’m doing an order of importance or something approaching that)
A team that needs to move it’s focus back to the racetrack. If they can manage to control the politics they will in with a chance of winning both world championships.
Lewis Hamilton steps up to become team leader (not that McLaren has such a thing technically). There have been conflicting reports written about whether Lewis will be good or bad without traction control. I personally think he’s going to go well. As far as I see it traction control protects less than perfect drivers and when you look at some of Lewis’ manoeuvres last year you’d have to admit he had supurb car control. This could be his year. And despite many people saying that it will be harder this year because people expect more of him I think again he’ll be ready. It’s not as if he didn’t spend half a season leading the world championship last year.
Heikki Kovalainen replaces Alonso yet again and hopefully he can make the same progress. The lack of experience in this team in theory should be balanced by Pedro de la Rosa, but he’s seemed a bit put out over the winter. Heikki is the ideal candidate for the number 2 slot. Rather like Massa he’s very good but perhaps not “special”. That may be being a bit hard on him, but I’m not sure he’s world championship material. I think he’ll keep Lewis honest but support him when he needs to.
If, as is rumoured, Ron is on the way out then the team will be totally distablised. But even if he isn’t just having to deal with all of the press, the racism business and so on must have slightly distracted them at this most crucial time. They have a very focused, very fast red car to beat and that’s not going to be easy. There were fewer mechanical problems last year by such a long way that it’s hard to criticise them at all, but this number needs to be down near zero a bit more.
Will almost certainly end the season in first or second place.