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Ver la versión completa : Porqué Marlboro dejó de patrocinar a McLaren



red5isalive
28/05/2012, 13:01
Todos recordamos los McLaren blancos y rojos, es una imagen del imaginario popular sobre la Fórmula 1, pero creo que no todos sabemos porqué Marlboro finalizó su contrato y su patrocinio con la casa de Woking.

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Los inicios

Fue en la temporada de 1974 cuando McLaren firmó su asociación con Marlboro, contando con Emmo Fittipaldi y Denni Hulme en sus filas. No conozco los datos del acuerdo, pero seguro que fue una jugosa asociación para el equipo de Woking.

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Y esta asociación duró fructíferamente desde 1974 hasta 1996, año en el que Marlboro decidió dejar la Fórmula 1 como sponsor principal de un equipo (siguió en Ferrari donde estuvo como patrocinador durante muchos años, pero en Ferrari sus logos y colores ya no eran tan visibles como en los McLaren.)

Hubo tiempos muy felices para la tabacalera americana y el equipo inglés, como los campeonatos de Lauda, de Prost o de Senna, y siempre contaban con un campeón mundial en sus filas por lo menos. Fijaos que cuando Ayrton entró en McLaren ya estaba allí Alain Prost, que ya había sido campeón mundial, y cuando lo hizo Alain, McLaren contaba en sus filas con otro campeón: Niki Lauda.

El inicio del fin

Corría el año 1992, y McLaren que había dominado el año anterior, veía como el equipo Williams sería el rival a batir ese año. Habían estado compitiendo con ellos para ganar en 1991 y al final Ayrton Senna y McLaren fueron los vencedores, pero eso no iba a repetirse en 1992.

Los resultados de 1992, hicieron que el motorista Honda dejase de proporcionar motores a McLaren y se retiró de la Fórmula 1 para el año siguiente (1993) con lo que eso creó una crisis en el equipo Mclaren que debió avastecerse de los motores Ford V8 que en años anteriores habían llevado equipos como Benetton, bastante peores en rendimiento que los motores V10 Renault, o los V10 y V12 que Honda había creado para Mclaren.

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En 1993 el McLaren Mp4/8 poco pudo brillar frente al coche más tecnológico que se recuerde en una parrilla de Fórmula 1, el Williams Fw15C. Dotado de muchas ayudas a la conducción, Alain Prost (ex-McLaren entre otros) ganó su cuarto título mundial para el equipo de Groove.

Pero.... retrocedamos un poco hasta mitad de 1992. En 1992 el piloto que estaba arrasando era Nigel Mansell, que finalmente iba a coronarse campeón mundial de Fórmula 1 junto a "su" equipo, el equipo Williams, para el cual ganó 28 de sus 31 victorias. En esa época Frank Williams le ofertó rebaja de su sueldo para el año siguiente y "Il Leone" decidió no aceptarla.

Viendo el coche con el que contaba Mansell, Renault y Elf suministradores de motores y "brevajes mágicos" llamados gasolina para el equipo, pusieron presión para que Alain Prost (que pasó la temporada 1992 en blanco, sin subirse a un Fórmula 1 y en 1991 acabó substituído en Ferrari por declarar que el coche era "un camión") se sentase en ese coche en 1993. Pero no era el único que estaba llamando a las puertas de Williams. Ayrton Senna se ofreció a correr para ellos gratis.

El final de esta historia es que Nigel Mansell no quería volver a encontrarse en el mismo equipo con Alain Prost (con quién ya compartió equipo en 1990 en Ferrari) y Alain vetó a Senna prohibiendo que el brasileño se sentase en el segundo Williams Fw15 durante 1993.

Alain, que había firmado para 1993, dejó paso en 1994 a que Ayrton Senna pudiese entrar en el equipo Williams.

El Fin de Marlbo con con McLaren

Estamos en 1994, McLaren debido a las bajas en la parrilla de Nigel Mansell (corriendo en la IndyCar y algunas carreras para Williams), de Alain Prost (retirado) y Ayrton Senna (desgraciadamente fallecido), cuenta con dos pilotos como Mika Häkkinen (quién años después sería dos veces campeón con este mismo equipo) y Martin Brundle, y cuentan con el motor Peugeot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peugeot) A6 3.5 V10 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V10_engine) para equipar a sus McLaren Mp4/9.

Este año McLaren no alinea a ningún piloto Top, a ningún campeón mundial, por primera vez en muchos año (diría que décadas) y eso hace que Marlboro frunja las cejas.

En 1994 Nigel Mansell vuelve a la F1 y hace varias apariciones como invitado, y comparte el coche de Senna, el Fw16B de Ayrton, con un joven escocés llamado David Coulthard. A pesar que Nigel logra ganar en Australia en la última carrera del año, y que se siente confiado que de seguir en Williams para 1995, eso no será así.

McLaren firma con Coulthard para 1995, pero Williams rescata el contrato, y se queda con el escocés. Entonces en 1995 Mika Hakkinen no tendrá como compañero a David, y Marlboro esta poniendo presión sobre Ron Dennis para que fiche al único piloto campeón Mundial que hay en la parrilla, su "amigo" Nigel Mansell.

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Ron Dennis es reacio a fichar a Nigel, nunca lo ha valorado como es debido, e incluso en 1985 en la fiesta de la FIA dónde Nigel fue presentado en sociedad como piloto Williams, se atreve a hacer chístes sobre el piloto inglés, haciendo referencia que Williams había fichado a un mal piloto (bueno.... ese "mal piloto" le robó algunos triunfos a su escudería.....), pero finalmente debe hacerlo por la presión de Marlboro quienes tienen un contrato con McLaren dónde se especifíca que McLaren debe contar siempre con un campeón mundial en sus filas. Y así es como Nigel recala en Woking, mientras la mayoría de los aficionados, prensa, y especialistas, no lo ve claro.

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1995 es una temporada extraña, McLaren con el Mp4/10 apuesta fuerte por una aerodinámica rompedora y firma una asociación ganadora en un futuro, se hace con los motores Mercedes, pero hacen un coche lento y bastante pobre. Además, la resolución tardía del "Caso Coulthard" y del fichaje de Mansell hacen que el cockpit del Mp4/10 sea demasiado estrecho para un piloto de 1,85 metros de altura y 80 kilos de peso. Así pues McLaren debe trabajar para crear una evolución de su coche y Mansell se pierde las 2 primeras carreras del año.

Para más inri, El motor Mercedes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes_AMG_High_Performance_Powertrains) FO 110 3.0 V10 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V10_engine) que equipa el McLaren Mp4/10 es lento, y poco potente, no será recordado jamás por ser el mejor motor de la Fórmula 1.

En Imola cuando va rodando 5o en los puntos, Eddie Irvine intenta un movimiento pero el irlandés no se percata que Mansell le cierra la puerta, y le revienta el neumático trasero derecho, esto hará que Nigel solo pueda acabar 10o en su carrera de debut en esa temporada.
Su compañero Mika Hakkinen acaba 5o, posición en la que debería haber acabado Nigel, mostrando que el potencial del coche era esa quinta posición.

En el GP de España de 1995 y después de haber criticado duramente el propulsor Mercedes, Nigel nunca se encuentra a gusto con el coche, y no logra más que salir al final de la parrilla, y unas vueltas después, decide abandonar. Al poco rato, Nigel y McLaren llegan a un acuerdo para rescindir su contrato, y el piloto del segundo McLaren será Mark Blundell (piloto de pruebas de McLaren).

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En 1996 McLaren hace realidad su deseo de fichar a David Coulthard, y es entonces cuando Marlboro viendo que McLaren ya no es el equipo competitivo de hace un tiempo, y que no cuentan con ningún campeón mundial y parece que no tienen intención de hacerlo ya que cuentan con dos jovenes promesas en sus filas, decide rescindir su contrato con el equipo McLaren de 1997 en adelante.

Aquí el McLaren Mp4/11 el último McLaren con los colores de Marlboro:

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No hay que olvidar, que en la época (1996-1997) la ley anti - tabaco europea ya daba unos primeros pasos muy firmes y como la Fórmula 1 en aquella época aún desconocía mercados como China, Abu Dhabi, o la India, y se corría principalmente en Europa, este hecho también ayudó a que la decisión tomada por Marlboro fructiferase. Luego se hicieron "main sponsor" de Ferrari a quién siempre habían patrocinado, pero ya jamás volvimos a ver los coches blancos y rojos pintados con los logotipos de Marlboro.


Por Daniel Gonzalez.

WAC
28/05/2012, 21:44
Marlboro ingresó como patrocinador de equipo en 1972 con B.R.M.

http://thumbnails74.imagebam.com/19271/abde3e192708478.jpg (http://www.imagebam.com/image/abde3e192708478)

Mientras McLaren era patrocinado por Yardley, los que mantuvieron auspicio en un coche en 1974 y en otros dos con los colores de Marlboro

http://thumbnails73.imagebam.com/19271/da35f1192708489.jpg (http://www.imagebam.com/image/da35f1192708489)

Y en 1997 antes de adoptar el plateado de Mercedes, McLaren volvió brevemente al naranja de fines de los 60s

http://thumbnails71.imagebam.com/19271/9b39f3192708483.jpg (http://www.imagebam.com/image/9b39f3192708483)

red5isalive
29/05/2012, 00:21
Gracias por el aporte WAC :D

yorch
29/05/2012, 16:36
Excelente artículo, me ha gustado mucho.

red5isalive
29/05/2012, 19:08
Muchas gracias Yorch ;-) :abrazo:

Es de cosecha propia :D

red5isalive
31/08/2013, 16:50
Un artículo interesante sobre el drama de Mansell y McLaren



http://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/header.jpg





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Hear Nigel Mansell talk to the BBC's Tony Jardine about his problems during the 1995 Spanish GP, before Murray Walker makes a prophecy that actually turns out to be true:"Well I think Nigel Mansell was being as diplomatic as he could be. One does wonder whether he's going to get fed up with the whole thing and opt out of it."
(MP3 format, 3.39MB, 1min 29secs)Hear 1980 World Champion Alan Jones chatting with Darrell Eastlake on Australian TV and giving his opinion as to why the Mansell-McLaren relationship came to a sudden end:"If things didn't go 100% Nigel's way I could see this happening. ... I don't think Nigel's prepared to lay it on the line for something that isn't going to do him justice. ... Nigel's philosophy right now would be, 'Been there, done that, I'm not going to stick my neck out in something which isn't going to do the job for me'."
(MP3 format, 3.02MB, 1min 18secs)

It was January 1994. The great Alain Prost had just retired from Formula 1. His nemesis Ayrton Senna was leaving McLaren - the team which had become all but his spiritual home - and joining the all-conquering Williams squad. The undisputed best driver in Grand Prix racing was going to the best team. Meanwhile, McLaren boss Ron Dennis was contemplating a new engine partnership with Peugeot and a pair of drivers with not a single win between them.Was Dennis worried about the lack of an A-list driver with winning experience in his line-up? What about 1992 champion Nigel Mansell? Having left F1 in a huff after his title success with Williams, Mansell swept all before him in Indycars to become the first (and only) driver to claim both championships in consecutive years. Would Ron consider bringing Nigel back to Formula One? His answer was blunt: "I would never have anyone driving for McLaren unless I understood them - and I don't understand Nigel Mansell."
Fast forward 12 months, and the F1 world was a very different place. Senna had perished at Imola. Michael Schumacher had pippedDamon Hill to the world title in controversial circumstances, after an equally acrimonious year. Neither driver had yet truly filled the void left by the big guns of the past decade. And McLaren had endured a trying year, and was divorcing Peugeot to embark on a new partnership with Mercedes-Benz – the start of a relationship that endures to this day.
And Mansell, having found his second year in Indycars much less satisfying than his first, had actually been back in F1. In the interests of introducing some star power, Williams and Mansell had temporarily let bygones be bygones, and Nigel had taken over the second Williams in four Grands Prix, at Magny-Cours, Jerez, Suzuka and Adelaide. He had generally been off Schumacher and Hill's pace, but he had managed to seize pole in Adelaide and captured the win after the title contenders had collided.
It begged the question: what could Mansell achieve in a Williams in 1995, given a full season and proper pre-season testing to acclimatise himself? Nigel seemed keen to find out for himself, and expected to be signed on for the following season. Following the victory celebrations, he had left Adelaide cheerfully saying to the Williams crew, "Looking forward to next year, guys!" But forFrank Williams and Patrick Head, it was not such a straightforward decision as to who would partner Hill in 1995.
Should they go with Mansell's experience and bravado - but also his sensitive personality - or should they opt for the young Scotsman David Coulthard, who had stepped up to the daunting task of making his debut in Senna's place before Mansell had made his comeback, but who had proven himself to be fast and hassle-free? Coulthard represented the new generation - talented, professional, media-savvy and motivated. By contrast, Mansell was old school.
Head could see the difference. Back in October 1994, Mansell had made himself unavailable for Williams' test at Jerez. According toPeter Windsor, the tech chief muttered: "With that sort of commitment, we're wasting our time. We'll look elsewhere for 1995."And yet, Williams dithered in signing Coulthard up. A deadline to take up an option on the Scotsman came, and seemingly went. Unsure of where he stood, David jumped at the chance to partner Mika Hakkinen at McLaren Mercedes.



http://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/pic01.jpghttp://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/pic02.jpg


At this point, Williams decided that in fact they did prefer Coulthard over Mansell after all, and went to the Contracts Recognition Board to fight for the young Scot's services - and won. Nigel had not only suffered the slight of Williams publicly demonstrating that they did not want him by pursuing Coulthard through the CRB, but he was out of a drive for 1995 having anticipated that the second Williams seat was going to be his. It was also an affirmation that the new guard was taking over, once and for all.That was, of course, unless Mansell snatched the McLaren seat that Coulthard was now unable to take. McLaren had had a lean year in 1994, but with their resources and pedigree, who would dare bet against the partnership with Mercedes becoming an instant success? Besides, in true "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" style, what better opportunity for him to avenge Williams' decision to prefer Coulthard, but to join McLaren which was equally keen to avenge the fact that Williams got to keep the Scot?
Nigel started leaning that way in early January 1995. A few years later, writing a diary account of his involvement with Mansell over the years, Windsor described discussing Mansell's intentions with former driver manager John Thornburn in these terms: "John Thornburn is on the phone. He's as staggered as I about Nigel's inclination to drive for McLaren. He is the wrong driver for the wrong team at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. It will not work in a million years, despite the millions of dollars."
Windsor had reason to be sceptical. Mansell teaming up with Dennis, the man who a year earlier said that would never be signing the Englishman? There was Ron, on the one hand - businesslike, somewhat grey, but controlling and team-oriented to the point of keeping his drivers' trophies. On the other hand, there was Nigel - larger-than-life, and at his best when a team's attention, affection and efforts were focussed solely on him as that team's superstar. One could not imagine a squad big enough for the two of them.
But that did not seem to deter Marlboro, McLaren's title sponsor. Whilst Mercedes preferred a lower-key driver in Christian Fittipaldi while it was sorting out its engine, the cigarette manufacturer wanted a World Champion in McLaren's driving ranks. Prior to originally signing Coulthard, Dennis had tried to nab Schumacher - the only other option - and even met with him in a room in an Adelaide pub. But Michael had re-signed for Benetton, and so Marlboro pushed for a Mansell-McLaren marriage.
And so in January Mansell visited McLaren's headquarters at Woking, and the clash of personalities with Dennis became apparent immediately; Ron would later describe their first meeting as "catastrophic". But business was business, and the negotiations continued. Nigel asked for US$15m for one year which even Marlboro was not prepared to stump up; Mansell settled for US$10m instead. There were other stumbling blocks in the form of Nigel's personal sponsorships, but these were overcome.
In the end, the final sticking point was over $100,000, which ultimately Dennis and Mansell agreed to donate to charity. To illustrate the extent of the negotiations, Martin Whitmarsh recently told MotorSport magazine that McLaren driver contracts are usually 50 pages, but addenda - depending on the driver - could add to it: "if I were signing Heikki Kovalainen it would be 50 pages, if it were Jenson Button it would be 52, if it were Nigel Mansell it would be 57, if it were Lewis Hamilton it would be about 60 ...".



http://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/pic03.jpghttp://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/pic04.jpg


All the haggling had taken a month, but in early February at the launch of the MP4/10 Mansell was revealed to the world's press as a McLaren driver alongside Hakkinen and test driver Jan Magnussen. Asked what salary he had ultimately agreed to, Nigel half-joked: "I think whatever it is, it isn't enough. I think you can ask other drivers if someone's getting too much, and you'll never hear them say yes, because they're risking something very valuable, which is life." Typical Mansell hyperbole, perhaps.The Mansellisms continued: "If I had done badly in the last races last year, I wouldn't be here now. I'm one of the most honest drivers out there. I'm very honest with myself. ... I can't stop the fire from burning. All of the motivations are there for me like never before. If I'm on the wrong side of 40, then I'll carry the banner for the over-40s. If you're fit enough, strong enough, if the motivation is there, if you do taste it, sense it, want it, all those things - to walk away from that kind of situation would be wrong."
It was terrific theatre, and Dennis played his part. When asked how he would get on with his star driver, the Ronspeak started flowing: "In our first meeting, I got what I generally regard as Nigel's public image. It is real, it's not a manufactured thing. It is real and important, especially to the media, but it isn't what I would call the real person." Ron then described Mansell as having a split personality, but that the real Nigel was the person who had become a karate black belt and an excellent golfer.
Whoa, the revelations! It wasn't exactly clear how that was meant to enlighten the world as to who the real Nigel was, and if anything it seemed a backhanded compliment. Perhaps Ron betrayed his true feelings when he also said: "Nigel has a degree of explosive nature about him, and he'll probably lose control a couple of times, which is very counter-productive from an emotional standpoint." Cue more awkwardness. The tension - between Mansell and his doubters, between Nigel and Ron - was palpable.
Everyone loved the drama. Never had the phrase "marriage of convenience" been more appropriate. Journalists started betting that the partnership would soon be heading for the divorce courts. Other teams were guffawing smugly that they would not have to face such internal distractions. Patrick Head warned McLaren stalwart Jo Ramirez, saying: "I can't tell you anything about Nigel because you'd never believe me - you actually have to live the experience."
But Mansell - ever the polariser - still had his believers. Chief amongst which was none other than Murray Walker, who even boldly predicted that Nigel would win the 1995 world championship! Even Nigel was talking up his chances, saying at the launch that if the car went as fast as it looked, then McLaren would be in the pound seats. Well, I guess the Moustachioed One had never exactly been the doyen of style. Clearly he was overlooking the fact that the MP4/10 was one of the stodgiest-looking F1 cars ever built.
Not only did it look cumbersome, with its ungainly engine cover mid-wing and swollen-yet-pointy nosecone, but Ilmor would also have its work cut out getting the Mercedes engine up to speed. To make matters worse, the package was late in being completed and McLaren only had a limited opportunity to test at Estoril during the pre-season. There Nigel must have cast envious glances towards the Williams, in which Hill had set the pace with a 1min 21.77s.



http://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/pic05.jpghttp://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/pic06.jpg


Hakkinen, on the other hand, could go no faster than 1min 23.73s. Mansell himself only just managed to dip into the 1min 23s when he lost control coming out of the sweeping final corner and glanced the wall. But that was not all. Nigel found that he simply could not fit comfortably into the car, due to his driving position which involved sitting very close to a small 24cm diameter steering wheel. He was all forearms and elbows, literally muscling a car around a track.The MP4/10 was simply not wide enough to give him enough elbow room, and an unhappy Mansell who felt as though he wasn't being fully accommodated - both literally and figuratively - was bad news for the team. Rather than try to make adjustments to an existing chassis, McLaren considered that it had no choice but to return to the drawing board and fashion a brand new chassis for Nigel that was only 2.5cm wider, but enough to give him the latitude he felt he needed.
There was no time to get this done before the season opening Brazilian and Argentine GPs, so Mansell was forced out and McLaren drafted in Mark Blundell to take his place. The first MP4/10B was amazingly built in only taking 33 days but at the cost of an estimated 200,000 pounds, and even Nigel was impressed at the rapid turnaround. The B-spec car was not only wider, but it also sought to dial out some of the car's deficiencies that McLaren had already identified.
And those deficiencies were many. Hakkinen and Blundell had been well off the pace at both Interlagos and Buenos Aires, although both had finished in the points - but lapped - in Brazil. Mansell and his MP4/10B were rushed in for the San Marino GP, but Nigel was downbeat about his chances: "This is the pinnacle of motorsport and no matter who you are, to think you can step in and compete with the world's best without any practice or preliminary running, you just can't do it. I don't expect much from Imola."
Mansell's state of mind didn't improve when he landed in Italy. Ramirez recalls the story of how he had arranged hire cars for the McLaren drivers to be picked up at the airport, as had been the team's usual practice. When Nigel arrived at the circuit, he shouted his displeasure at Ramirez: "Do you know what it's like to arrive at a small airport in your private plane, be inundated with autograph-hunting tifosi, and then be asked to sign for the car? This is not good enough." He was entirely serious, too.
Taken aback, Ramirez told Dennis about the incident, and remarkably Ron revealed that it had not been the first time that Mansell's unique perspective on life had been on display in his short time with the team. "But don't take any s*** from him, Jo," Dennis reassured his team manager. "This is a McLaren team and he has to work with our system. I'll back you up 100 per cent of the time." Trouble in paradise was not taking long to eventuate; for once the doom-mongering pundits were proving to be right.
Mansell's caution about his chances on the track was well-founded as well. On his first lap of acclimatisation on the Thursday (the extra day having been allowed given the changes that had been made to the Imola circuit), Nigel lost control at the Variante Alta chicane, and as he spun he instinctively went for the clutch to engage a gear ... only to hit the brake instead, such was his unfamiliarity with the fact that the McLaren only had two pedals. Having stalled, he was forced to wait until a tractor pulled him off the circuit.



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As a result, Mansell lost valuable practice and set-up time, as well as time to get accustomed with his mount, but after he had clocked up more laps later in the day at least he was happy with his broader chassis: "Now I can work inside it. On a couple of occasions I found myself on opposite lock and I managed to keep it under control. With the other car, I couldn't. I must recognise the effort and courage shown by McLaren and its sponsors. Now it is up to me to do the job."However, the reality checks kept coming. At best Mansell was around 0.7s slower than Hakkinen; at worst - in second free practice - he was 2.8s behind Mika. In first qualifying Nigel was 9th, almost 1.2s behind his team-mate and over 2.2s slower than Schumacher's Benetton at the top of the times. With few drivers improving in second qualifying, Mansell lined up 9th for his first race for McLaren, which started on a damp track after morning rain.
The top five on the grid - Schumacher, Hill, Coulthard, and the Ferraris of Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger - plus Rubens Barrichello, starting 10th alongside Nigel, opted to start on wets, whereas all the others, including the McLarens, started on slicks in the hope that the track would dry quickly. Not only did those on wets have the advantage off the line, but Mansell made life even harder for himself when he got away slowly. Rubens was past him immediately.
What's more, the two drivers directly behind Nigel on the grid - Gianni Morbidelli's Arrows starting 11th and Mika Salo's Tyrrell starting 13th – both darted around the McLaren, Morbidelli on the right and Salo on the left. They caught Mansell in a pincer and Nigel, with nowhere to go, clipped the back of the Arrows with his front wing, giving Morbidelli a puncture. The McLaren was down in 13th, just ahead of Jos Verstappen's Simtek (http://www.f1rejects.com/teams/simtek/index.html), and after three laps Mansell was already 31 seconds behind Schumacher.
This was not looking promising. But soon the track did dry; the lead drivers not only pitted for tyres but also for their first fuel stops. Mansell, however, did have one ace up his sleeve: he was fuelled for an extremely long stint. He gradually clawed his way up the order, taking advantage of being on low tanks whilst others ran heavy, and even started to match the times being set by the two Williams and Ferraris up front, Schumacher having crashed out. By the time Nigel pitted on lap 28, he was up to 6th.
Better still, after his stop he stayed there, having effectively overtaken Hakkinen who had stopped on lap 16. Mansell was the lead runner who had started on slicks, and was promoted to 5th on lap 31 when Barrichello retired. But then it started to unravel. Having set his fastest lap on lap 41 - less than 0.3s slower than Hakkinen's ultimate best - Mansell was called in on lap 43 for a nosecone change, due to front endplate damage following the clash with Morbidelli at the start.
That was OK. Nigel would still be in a position to score points, but when he emerged he had Eddie Irvine swarming around behind him. The Jordan dived inside at Tosa; Mansell shut the door, trampling on Irvine's front wing and giving himself a left rear puncture. By the time he limped back to the pits and made his unscheduled third stop, he was back down in 10th, where he stayed for the rest of the afternoon. Hakkinen finished in the 5th place that could well have been Nigel's.



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Afterwards, Mansell declared himself "satisfied to have finished the race and to have done laps in the car", but for once in his life he may have been selling himself short. It's easy to characterise Nigel's time at McLaren as an unmitigated disaster, but his race at Imola had, in hindsight, actually been rather good. From having been well off even Hakkinen's pace in practice and qualifying, Nigel had been in line to beat the Finn and come home as best of the rest behind the Williams and Ferraris.But of course, being best of the rest was not what Mansell had signed up for, and it was not what Marlboro was paying for. What had been a promising performance at Imola was still very tepid compared to the lofty expectations that had driven the Mansell-McLaren union in the first place. Nigel had come to the squad expecting to race a winning car, not to develop one, and it was unlikely that he had the patience or motivation to help the team through its mediocrity.
And so the pressure was on the Spanish GP, where Mansell would have two 10Bs at his disposal, and where Mercedes bigwigs would be trackside to see their star recruit in action. But it began ominously in Friday practice. Schumacher's best time was 1min 24.083s. Hakkinen was 4th but over two seconds slower. Nigel, however, was mired in 14th on a 1min 29.162s. He was behind both Verstappen's Simtek (http://www.f1rejects.com/teams/simtek/index.html) and even Taki Inoue (http://www.f1rejects.com/drivers/inoue/index.html)'s Footwork, and less than 0.4s faster than Domenico Schiattarella (http://www.f1rejects.com/drivers/schiattarella/index.html) in the other Simtek (http://www.f1rejects.com/teams/simtek/index.html)!
That set the tone for the weekend. Nigel was disconsolate: "For this afternoon we are going to change the set-up completely - springs, rollbars, the lot!" By the first qualifying session, Mansell had improved to 12th on a 1min 26.246s, but he was still over three seconds off Alesi on provisional pole, over 1.8s behind Hakkinen (who was 6th), over 0.2s slower than Ukyo Katayama in the Tyrrell and only 0.6s faster than Inoue. There was still a mammoth amount of catching up to do.
Mansell and his engineers made up some of the lost ground overnight. By Saturday morning the Englishman was down to a 1min 24.209s, within 1.8s of Hill's fastest time, and faster than Hakkinen. Nigel thought his MP4/10B was now "a little more controllable", and it seemed as though he and his team-mate were reaching the performance ceiling of the car. After second qualifying they lined up 9th and 10th, Hakkinen ahead by a mere 0.094s.
But what was galling was that Schumacher's pole time was almost 2.5s faster, and the McLaren seemed to be miles behind the Benetton, the Williams, the Ferrari, and even the Jordan. It was going to be another race of trying to make the best of the situation, and a test of Mansell's enthusiasm. Yet again Nigel made a poor start. Within three laps he had slipped from 10th to 15th, behind the Sauber of Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the Ligiers of Martin Brundle and Olivier Panis, and the Tyrrells of Salo and Katayama.
With the Catalunya circuit proving difficult for overtaking as usual, Nigel managed to get past Panis, and also slipped by Katayama after the Japanese driver ran wide at the last corner. He was one of the first drivers to pit for fuel and tyres on lap 15 as part of a three-stop strategy, so he had made little progress whilst running light. The stop also meant he dropped a lap behind Schumacher in the lead, and Nigel was behind the Benetton on the road when he went off at turn 7 on lap 18.



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Mansell had had enough. He pulled into his garage at the end of the lap and promptly stepped out of the car. At this stage Hakkinen was running 4th. In explaining what had happened to the press, Dennis was terse: "Nigel had handling problems, and chose not to continue." Nigel, on the other hand, was rather more willing to download to the press and dump on his team, describing his car variously as "undriveable" and "virtually impossible to drive".Talking to the BBC's pit reporter Tony Jardine, Mansell said: "The car was inconsistent, from understeer to oversteer, but at least you could get around the corner. But when you turn into a corner, and the car doesn't want to turn, that's a problem!" Later on, when he had calmed down a bit more, he commented further: "[The car] is fundamentally flawed. I'm just hoping we will make a big step forward because you have to be able to trust the car. The bottom line is, I can't."
The talk of a big step forward suggested that there was still a future to be had, but that seemed uncertain after the events at Barcelona. The tenuous relationship between driver and team had turned fatally toxic at breakneck speed. In commentary, Murray Walker wondered aloud if Mansell would persist. McLaren stayed on at Barcelona for a four-day test, but Nigel was not there. Tabloid headlines back in Britain screamed, "Mansell Ready To Quit Cock-Up Car!".
The sudden descent into crisis had to be resolved one way or another. Dennis and Whitmarsh went to see Nigel at his Woodbury Park golf club during the week, and Mansell's contract was terminated. Ramirez recalls in his autobiography (Memoirs of a Racing Man) that when he heard the news, he opened a bottle of champagne, such was the Mexican's unsatisfying experience of having to handle the 1992 champion having previously worked with the likes of Prost and Senna.
In typical McLaren fashion, a carefully-worded press release was given to the media to announce the quickie divorce. Dennis said that the team had taken "the most appropriate course of action". He went on: "The performance of the car has not met the expectations of both parties so far this year. Nigel has not felt confident within the car and this has affected his ability to commit fully to the programme." That was, in every way, a masterpiece of understatement.
Mansell, likewise, was quoted in diplomatic terms: "I am obviously disappointed that the relationship with McLaren and Mercedes, which could have achieved so much, has been concluded early. I had expected on joining McLaren that the total package would have given me the possibility to be competitive with the other top teams. I have no immediate plans in Formula One, but have welcomed the opportunity to keep in touch with the team, with whom I have parted on the best possible terms."
Some interpreted this to mean that in fact a rapprochement was possible in the future, but Ron was quick to pour cold water on that suggestion: "I'm sure it's appreciated that the announcement was carefully worded and the door was left open on both sides. It is unlikely to happen for the British Grand Prix, and I'd say it is not on the agenda at the moment. It would be more relevant to the end of the season or the beginning of the next, although it would be difficult to explain circumstances which might lead to it."




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"It was the best for both parties," Dennis continued. "We said that unless he could give 100% irrespective of circumstances, he wasn't being honest with himself or the team, and we asked what he wanted to do. From that point we agreed to stop the relationship." Now, this was getting more to the nub of the truth, and with neither Dennis or Mansell able to contain themselves to the pleasantries of the original press release, Nigel fired the next shot in his autobiography released in October 1995."To my dismay, some of the people in McLaren didn't have a clue how to solve some of the problems with the car," Mansell wrote."Until there is some new blood injected, they won't fix them." Dennis retorted: "Nigel was not as quick as Mika Hakkinen, and he did not bring the level of car understanding that was required of him. ... Autobiographies rarely contain the level of self-criticism one should have when reviewing the past. Nigel was a great driver. He should have left it at that."
Mansell's dalliance with McLaren had been a dreadfully sour episode all round, and one which is now something of a footnote in McLaren's history and Grand Prix annals as a whole. Even Murray Walker's autobiography Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken, written in 2002, conveniently overlooked the whole affair. Ever the Mansell admirer, Walker wrote that Mansell had "return[ed] triumphantly to Formula 1 in 1994 where he won his final Grand Prix before retiring from the sport."
In the cold light of day, apart from the personal loathing between Mansell and Dennis and the fact that commercial forces had brought them together despite that, what had made things go wrong so rapidly? For a start, there is no doubt that the MP4/10, as the first product of the McLaren-Mercedes partnership, was a dreadful machine - arguably the poorest in a relationship now entering its 19th season. When Prost himself had a run in the car later in the year, he said that the engine's response was like an on-off switch.
Tony Dodgins wrote at season's end: "The MP4/10 was a very difficult car and, with Mansell's achievements and bank balance behind him, was not what Nigel needed at going on 42." Ramirez in his autobiography concurred: "Admittedly the MP4/10 wasn't one of the best McLarens that we'd ever made, by a long chalk, and we realised it soon after the first test and didn't need a has-been former World Champion to tell us." It called for a tolerant driver with the long-term in mind, and Mansell wasn't that man.
As Ramirez continues: "What we needed was a motivated, experienced driver to help Hakkinen to develop the car, and Mansell wasn't interested in that." Nigel admitted as much himself: "My motivation has always been to compete at the highest level - to win and to mount a serious assault on the World Championship. It quickly became apparent that this wasn't going to happen with McLaren." No wonder Dodgins observed: "Here, surely, was a man that wanted to be in another team and a team that agreed with him."
Mansell's self-focussed, win-or-bust attitude left its legacy, though. Hakkinen admitted: "I've learnt from Ayrton what I should do and from Nigel what not to do. It is quite cruel, but it is more or less a fact." Dennis, scarred by the whole debacle, gave up on relying on past champions and was persuaded to find a young kartist to invest in, even if it was a ten year programme. By the end of 1995 he had found his man, and by 1997 Ron had created a young driver scheme for him. His name was Lewis Hamilton ...




http://www.f1rejects.com/centrale/mansellmclaren/index.html

Es interesante abrir el link por los audios incrustados.