Uh Oh, You're an embarassment!

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
Seriously, today got me reflecting a little on the situation at McLaren.

4 races in to the season, and no points. Plenty of data, but no points. But that's ok, they are building for the future, after all, you have to be a works team to make it these days.

I have a rather large issue with McLaren Honda at the moment.

They left F1 at the end of 2008, and handed Brawn a world championship winning car, and much research on KERS which was never used, but was held on to by Honda. They failed to set the world on fire in their last tenure in F1, with only one race win, but this time will be different, right? we can hark back to those days in the late 80's where Honda were at the peak of their powers, sweeping all aside.

So much for that.

I know that me writing this is pretty much a guarantee that they will get everything sorted, but at the moment I am struggling to see when things are going to turn round.

Honda started PU development a year behind the other manufacturers, so you would expect a bit of catch up, however, they also had a target to aim at, which none of the other teams had. Additionally, they have a reputation for reliability and technical excellence in the road car sector which I am fairly sure they would seek to reinforce through their F1 involvement.

How can it be then, that 4 races in to the season they have used 3 of the 4 allocated PU's (mostly, details are available on another thread) they are significantly down on power, having had to keep things turned down to protect reliability (LOL!!) and the ultimate indignity today of a D.N.S for Button?

Last season, both Ferrari and Renault started out on the back foot, especially Renault, however, I do not recall issues like McLaren are currently having (although Mr Horner I am sure would tell you different!!).

Now Honda are way behind the curve, and with the other teams all being a year ahead in terms of development and understanding, and it looks to be a long way back to the front.

So, what next? There are rumours of a big development for Spain, which will hopefully make a difference, but it is hard to tell the potential, in comparison to the opposition, they have similar numbers of development tokens for the engine, although it is impossible to tell just how good the car actually is until they have comparable power. One or both of the drivers will almost certainly be hitting penalties towards the middle/end of the season. I would also make assumptions that Alonso and possibly Button have clauses to release them in the event of poor performance.

And I feel Honda will need to keep on it, to protect their reputation, but will any other team want a Honda engine?

My view is that this stint as an engine supplier will not yield the success that McLaren are looking at, and other options will be pursued at the earliest opportunities, although I am most likely wrong!!
I knew at some point someone would make a thread about me.

Actually I think the engine is a goodun I believe it is the ERS that is the problem, I reckon they will get on top of it before the season is out though.

I don't think they have used three of the ICE units, the Renault has used more parts than Honda and they are not a year behind and they are the most expensive PU's, now that's embarrassing.
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We've often said that Honda handed Brawn a winning car. What we must remember though is that the engine was a Mercedes and the key chassis ingrediant was Ross's double diffuser. It's interesting to speculate that without one, the other or both, if Honda had remained in the sport it would still have been another poor season.

I've posted the same comment elsewhere (and been shot down for from some corners), Honda's track record of getting up to speed from scratch is not a good one.
Honda will get there, but not this season. If Jenson (who, by the way, and I'm not sure that I've shared these thoughts before, is a lovely boy) has a get out clause, he will not use it unless Ferrari want him.
What we must remember though is that the engine was a Mercedes and the key chassis ingrediant was Ross's double diffuser

I guess I was more looking at the fact that key technology from the 2009 Honda KERS would most likely be re-usable, either physically or developmentally for this season, and the KERS from 2009 took a significant chunk of the development cost of the car at the time.
That's true. The tech must have moved on a lot since then but they should have a good grounding in it.
Yes, i belie e you are right, and the technology has developed, but at the time, the motor unit honda built was massively superior to the mercedes, in terms of efficiency, i would suggest better than the current mercedes unit.

I guess we dont know which part of the engine is the issue, thought i suupsect most of it!!
There's little doubt Honda would have taken 2009. Bruno Senna would have taken a win too.

I'd rather have a Honda than a Renault. Honda are making progress, Renault seem less reliable and competitive than last November.

There's no reason to assume they won't be in the points by the mid-season. They're never going to beat Brackley with a Mercedes engine. Eternal 5th doesn't appeal, either.
Just to compound McLaren's problems it didn't look like the car was handling too well in Bahrain as well as not having any power. Not sure if anyone saw RD's reaction to Jenson pulling off in Q3 but as soon as he saw the cameras were on him he got himself back under control. I bet the video conferences between Woking and Tokyo and quite interesting. What a waste of two World Champions.
Well from what McLaren were saying the lack of balance was in great part caused by their lack of pace. The cars are simply travelling too slowly to get the tyres into temperatures. Apparently.
I'd rather have a Honda than a Renault. Honda are making progress, Renault seem less reliable and competitive than last November.

Maybe so, but they are at least able to get midway/front of the grid. I would also think that they have further scope to improve, starting from a higher base than Honda.

If the Honda had either been reliable or reasonably quick from the start, then I would agree, a better place to be, and I can agree that there is limited scope with a customer engine, however, it is not looking great at the moment, either for this season, or potentially next. at that point, who knows what could happen with sponsors, drivers etc.

Maybe they should encourage Peugeot to make a return?
It's a nonsensical situation, expecting a new supplier to be able to compete on equal terms straight off the bat.

It's the same situation with Caterham, HRT, Marussia, etc. and I said at the time that they wouldn't survive as they would never be able to catch up.

If F1 wants to attract new teams, sponsors, suppliers, manufacturers, then it needs to make allowances and provide dispensation for the first season at least.
The Pits Honda should be allowed to work on the PU without using any of their tokens under the reliability clause....
It really depends on what parts of the PU are subject to the reliability, an d what parts of the PU are subject to tokens. My suspicions are that Honda may have a reliability problem with the engine, the reported power they are down is not purely due to ERS,though they do seem to have more electrical problems now. The comment by McLaren that the rear will be completely new indicates they may have a packaging problem similar to RB last year. If your engine is not reliable you don't find out your package is duff until you can run long enough to test it.
Why can't they put an engine in that half way house car McLaren came out with at the end of last year and go thrashing it around some test track in Japan somewhere until they fix the problems..
I still think Renault are in a more embarrassing situation than Honda are


True but I think the key there is how much exactly do Renault care about their F1 team, and whether they're pumping as much of the ready into their F1 programme as Merc or Ferrari. I mean, they did have a works team and decided to let it go didn't they? Maybe their ambitions these days is limited to having their logo on display.
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