Technical ECU's & McLaren Electronic Systems


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racecub - Well, Red Bull would say McLaren's ECU cost Webber, wouldn't they?

I'm not sure you can blame losing Vodafone on Whitmarsh - was it not do do with Bahrain, thus it is the fact that Bahrainis own 50% of McLaren that kind of puts him in an impossible situation there.

But, frankly, it is unbelievably poor for McLaren to be losing to a team with a car with "less downforce than last year's McLaren" at the start of the season.
As McLaren supply the ECU's for every team on the grid and have done for a number of years now (I can't remember when they were given the contract.) and it is probably built by a different section of the company not the F1 part and it has worked perfectly tor all the teams for this long if and that is a big if the one on Webbers car failed then not only is it still a very impressive record of reliability it is also has nothing to do with Martin Whitmarsh.....

I'm not sure if is a fair assumption to blame him for everything....
It seem my assumption was correct and the ECU is indeed supplied by a different section of McLaren (MES) going by the post Brogan has just posted so if the buck stops anywhere it would have to be with Ron himself and not Martin....

I still don't think it is a big deal though these things just happen much like Red Bulls Alternator problems last year although that was a much bigger deal...
Sorry Brogan, I missed your post. But RickD, it was Whimarsh who was initially respondied to Horner. Ok so a faceless person gave the final apology :dunno:
Whitmarsh has absolutely nothing to do with MES, MES is a completely different department which Whitmarsh has no say in and no control over.

Whitmarsh only runs the Formula one part of McLaren he is not the CEO of the entire McLaren group....
racecub - As Mephistopheles says, Whitmarsh was asked a question by the press after Horner made a comment about the ECU, he commented as would have been appropriate to the question asked. Now the part of the company that builds the ECU McLaren Electronic Systems (MES) has issued an apology. Considering these units have been in all FIA approved cars for well over a decade and this is one of the first times we know of that there has been a failure. I would say that the reliability of these units was superb and it is unfortunate for Webber (why is it always Webber?), that Red Bull had this issue with a piece of software that is peripheral to the main unit.
Can't remember where I read this pertinent little titbit but the ECU has been redesigned for the 2013 season and there have been "teething problems" affecting some of the teams. If I can find the article again I'll post the link.
Not the article I originally read but here is one similar in scope:

I believe also that the introduction of the standard ECU and awarding of the contract to McLaren was just prior to the 2008 season, and originally for seasons 2008 through 2010. Until the introduction of the revised ECU for 2013 (and in advance of the introduction of the 2014 power units) the McLaren ECU's have been reliable.

I think we should also bear in mind that, whilst MES may be responsible for failures of the device, it is also possible that errors can be made by their customers when they instal and integrate them into their own cars.
As I understand the situation and this maybe the wrong thread to say this but as it is being discussed here then what the hell, Marks ECU needed to be reset during the formation lap and so he had no information concerning the bite point of the clutch and what settings to use, okay that could explain the bad start, although Mark is not a renowned good starter anyway, but once the ECU had been reset then he did have telemetry for the rest of the race and not as some have suggested that he was driving blind for the entire race.

Anyway a top driver should still be able to drive a car without the feedback from his race engineer, just take a look at Kimi he seems to hate the input that he is getting from the pits (Not you The Pits the pits pits. LOL ) "Yes, yes, yes I'm doing all that," and other leave me alone to drive type of stuff, Alonso does this as well. with the "Stop talking to me." and such comments.
Well I mentioned Mark was driving blind, but I was just using Horners words, I'm afraid I have little idea what a faulty ECU would do to a car. I just read about the incident and posted it as a further headache Whitmarsh was having to deal with on top of his other woes. Here's the link to Horners words
I'm not having a go at Whitmarsh over this issue, Red Bull were unfortunate and Horner made the most of it.
The ECU has zero direct influence on the performance of the car it is simply a data collection device the transmission of the data is a separate system...

Er, no, the ECU (Electronic Control Unit, to give it its full title) is the brains of the car. It is programmed with a number of engine maps each of which manages (among other things such as telemetry) the parameters of:
  • air/fuel mix
  • ignition timing
  • minimum and maximum rpm
  • fuel consumption
  • ERS recovery and discharge
Selector knobs on the steering wheel allow the driver to select a different map residing in the ECU according to the stage of the race. Horner's accusation is that Webber's ECU failed to perform the appropriate actions required for his starting procedure including activating his ERS.

As such the ECU absolutely dictates the performance of the engine and also influences braking and acceleration due its management of the ERS.
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