Jenks on...

McLaren-TAG, 1984

I am probably biased, and Ron Dennis and John Barnard will say I don’t understand, but I think that the R&D department of the Porsche factory has dominated F1 in the way they have with most things to which they’ve turned their attention.

I am not discrediting McLaren International, nor their drivers Alain Prost and Niki Lauda, but if Brabharn. Williams or Lotus had been smart enough to get Porsche to build an engine for them the outcome could have been the same. But that is not to say that it would have been the same if Osella RAM or ATS had used Porsche expertise. Full marks must go to Dennis for approaching Porsche to ask if they could design and build an F1 engine for his new team, and to Barnard for providing the chassis in which to install it and to the rest of the McLaren team for making the whole thing so successful.

With Marlboro backing supporting the main structure of the team. Dennis needed more backing to finance the engine project, for Porsche are an engineering business firm and utilising the knowledge and expertise of their research and development centre at Weissach costs a lot of money. This he found from the sympathetic Mansour Ojjeh. the head of Techniques d’Avant Garde, which is a Paris-based firm of Saudi Arabian origins. Dennis and TAG formed the firm TAG Turbo Engines which was responsible financially for the Porsche F1 engine.

Throughout the season it’s been obvious that there are no weak links in the McLaren team. In whatever aspect you look at they are immensely strong cars, drivers, management, tyres. sponsorship, appearance, publicity, and above all. engines whereas most of the other teams are lacking in at least one department.

Yours DSJ