Ramirez hopes McLaren has ’patience’ to rebuild
"The car is probably better than last year"
Jo Ramirez says he hopes McLaren has learned to be ’patient’ as it aims for better results in 2019 and beyond.
The famous British team has struggled ever since the beginning of the Honda era, including the switch to customer Renault power last year.
McLaren has had a more positive start to the 2019 winter season, and now former team coordinator Ramirez says he hopes the team can exercise "patience" as it rebuilds.
"The car is probably better than last year, although if you think about it that is not very difficult," the Mexican told Spain’s AS newspaper.
"It’s a new project, two or three years minimum, to start to take some podiums. So we hope that everyone has the patience that they did not have with Honda."
Indeed, after the McLaren split, Honda made steady progress with Toro Rosso in 2018 and might now be ready for race wins with Red Bull in 2019.
"Yes, this year it (McLaren-Honda) could have worked out," Ramirez said, "but Honda took five years and the relationships were lost.
"Wasting a driver like Fernando Alonso for four years was a shame, and nobody expected it after the great years we had in the 80s," he added.
As for Alonso’s replacement, Ramirez puts his support behind Carlos Sainz.
"He is very motivated and very focused," he said. "He already lives in Woking and as a driver he is very good.
"Lando Norris? I do not know how he will go. He is too young and lacks a bit of charisma and drive, so I hope it’s not another Stoffel Vandoorne.
"Those drivers want to get to F1 but when they do, they stop there. These days the drivers are too young," Ramirez added.
As for the 2019 pecking order, he confirmed that Ferrari appears to have the lead.
"I am surprised that Mercedes has been so slow," said Ramirez, 77. "But you never know what they are hiding.
"Ferrari is very fast and the atmosphere has changed a lot with Binotto," he added. "They are all smiling, and that’s something we didn’t see last year."