Toto Wolff had the fore­sight long ago to se­lect log­i­cal tech­no­man­age­ment peo­ple with the abil­ity to del­e­gate. The re­sults are as bla­tant as those tro­phies lin­ing the fac­tory’s re­cep­tion.

Red Bull, how­ever, have slipped back­wards. The three wins in 2014 should have been con­verted into four or ve this year, but only in Hungary did they show the pace to ri­val Mercedes or Fer­rari. Re­nault, in look­ing for im­prove­ments, found only un­re­li­a­bil­ity in the win­ter tests; and those fail­ures have led to less rel­a­tive power on the road. Still the prob­lems con­tinue, and com­pound­ing the is­sue is the slight su­pe­ri­or­ity of the Toro Rosso chas­sis over the RB11.

Yet none of this com­pares with the dis­ap­point­ment that has been the rst six months of the McLaren-Honda re­union. Top McLaren man­age­ment blame Honda, cit­ing a power deciency of at least 150bhp; engi­neers on the shop oor pri­vately con­cede that the chas­sis lacks down­force and ac­counts for at least half the prob­lems. What is clear is that the MP4-30 is not the most prac­ti­cal pro­to­type and that McLaren’s con­fus­ing man­age­ment sys­tem lacks the dis­ci­plined au­toc­racy that char­ac­terised the Honda eras of John Sur­tees, Pa­trick Head and Ross Brawn. The pos­i­tives are that McLaren benet hugely from Honda’s com­mer­cial strength as a team spon­sor – and that, tech­ni­cally, Honda will get it right in the medium-term. Are McLaren max­imis­ing the pow­er­house that is Honda, though? Would another team al­ready have ex­tracted more from one of F1’s great­est en­gine com­pa­nies? Though rhetor­i­cal, these ques­tions re­main cur­rent.

Clock­wise from right: Mercedes are top of the pile; McLaren-Honda are strug­gling with power de­fi­ciency; win-free Red Bull have slipped back­wards; and Vet­tel is keep­ing Fer­rari in con­tention

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