Eric Boullier has confirmed rumours that McLaren will change livery colour for 2017. With the exit of Ron Dennis, who was vocally opposed to reverting to the British team’s iconic orange, McLaren is now hinting at the change with graphics on social media and its official website. “You will see a change in the colour,” team boss Boullier confirms. “Wait a few days and you’ll find out (what).”
Of more interest to many people, however, is whether the Anglo-Japanese collaboration can be much more competitive in 2017, after two particularly bad years with Honda power. Boullier was quoted by La Repubblica newspaper at a Pirelli event in Turin: “We could be the outsider, the surprise of the season. Honda is working well on the engines and of those who could compete for the title alongside Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, we could be there as well.”
Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo also quoted the Frenchman as saying: “For McLaren it’s a whole new car and a brand new engine, but we are not starting from scratch because we used past experience to make progress.”
Former long-time McLaren driver David Coulthard thinks the key to McLaren’s hopes in 2017 rests mainly with Honda. “McLaren may have done something special with the chassis,” he told the Spanish sports daily Marca, “but we’ll have to see where the Honda engine is. McLaren lost a lot of talent in these years, but I think they’ve kept a lot as well. The fundamental problem they’ve had has been Honda’s engine“.
Even Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said in Turin: “Maybe with all these changes, Mercedes will not be the team to beat and others like Red Bull, Ferrari or even McLaren will be in the fight too.”