McLaren triumphs in revived Montreal F1 teams’ raft race

McLaren ended its long victory drought in Formula 1 on Saturday night when it triumphed in the resurrected teams’ boat race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

McLaren triumphs in revived Montreal F1 teams’ raft race
The McLaren raft team celebrate victory
The McLaren raft team celebrate victory
The McLaren raft team celebrate victory
The Haas F1 Team team's raft entry, cardboard cut-out Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
Raft race preparations

As F1’s new owners Liberty Media and Red Bull moved to rejuvenate an event that had been a regular in Canada until the late 1990s, all teams apart from Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India entered the fun.

Joined by a host of rival teams including one from the FIA, one led by F1’s sporting chief Ross Brawn, one from fans and one from F1 commercial chief Sean Bratches, the event drew a huge crowd including team personnel, media and fans.

Teams were given raft building kits and had an hour to create their vessel before the start.

Overseen by F1 race director Charlie Whiting, McLaren’s effort – helped by Olympic rowing medallist Tom Stallard, who is Stoffel Vandoorne’s race engineer – led from the start and was dominant on the race across the Olympic rowing lake and back.

Second place went to Toro Rosso with Sauber coming home third.

McLaren’s success comes against the backdrop of its current struggles in F1 where it has faced a difficult three years with Honda engine.

Joking afterwards, just a few days after Fernando Alonso said he would only stay at McLaren in 2018 if the team triumphed before September, racing director Eric Boullier laughed: “We won. Fernando now has to stay…”

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