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  1. #1
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    Honda - Mclaren writing on the wall

    These is so much talk about Mclaren and Honda potentially parting ways. We could say the Honda engine is not winning races in 2017 as many Mclaren fans had hoped the plan at the beginning of the partnership had promised. The main unavoidably noticeable problem of the Honda power unit is its unreliability and that it is still down on power relative to the Mercedes and Ferrari that have made further progress, mainly driven by the stiff competition between these two giants.

    What has been obvious on some occasions is that the 2017 Honda power unit has not been run at its full potential due to its reliability issues. So it is difficult to say how competitive the unit is. One thing is obvious, there is mounting external pressure on the partnership from media and other parties interested in Honda's engine business in F1. Let's not forget Alonso that simply does not have the luxury of time.

    As a Mclaren fan, what l am seeing is mostly prejudice driven bias against Honda. Renault is facing a similar pinch on the Redbull front but not quite as much as the Honda situation which seem more fragile than the Renault situation. Making a championship winning engine is not a piece of cake. It takes time to get it right. We can venture to say, Mclaren may not be able [is unlikely] to beat Mercedes with a Mercedes engine. That would simply not be acceptable to Mercedes. The other point is that, it is crazy to say Honda is incapable of producing an F1 championship winning engine. They probably need more time than their partner can afford. That said, it would be great opportunity for Sauber to become a works team in 2018. and may reap the benefits of Mclarens hard work with Honda over the last three or so years.

    It may be possible that Sauber and Wehlein may be championship contenders in 2018 or 2019, if Honda sorts out the gremlin on the current spec of the power unit and make the requisite step forward as a result by 2018 or 2019. The Honda power unit has made it into Q3 on a number of occasions this season and have had a number of top ten race finishes. You may say Alonso had a lot to do with it or the Mclaren chassis was mostly the reason, but one can also say he did it with a Honda engine ahead of Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault powered cars. Which suggest that the real progress of that power unit is not being properly appreciated.

    I don't think there are many realistic alternative options available to Mclaren without taking an equivalent level of risk besides sticking with their partnership; although with a stiff upper lip and letting Honda work through the problems and challenges, but deliver the goods in a reasonable timeframe. An emotional decision to run to Mercedes or start a new project with another engine provider without recent hybrid experience is no guarantee that Mclaren would work its way back to the front of the grid. What is reasonably clear is that Honda power unit has made alot of progress forward from the back of the grid into the thick of the midfields. A good guess is that the Honda power unit has not been run at full wack yet due to its poor reliability and design fragility. I think there is potentially more time in that engine and it would be daft for Mclaren to dump their partnership at this juncture. Ron Denis' instinct may be right but needs time to mature.

    That said, one has to draw the line somewhere. Is now such a time to draw the line?

    That said, Redbull are faced with the same dilemma. Renault needs time to get the engine where it needs to be.

    Well, just one rambling man's thought on the matter.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 20th June 2017 at 18:41.
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  2. #2
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    There have been probably zero occurrences in F1 history of an engine going from zero to hero, from one season to the subsequent. So don't hold your breath about some kind of crazy insane Honda revival for 2018. The ones hoping for Honda engine to perform well next season are only waiting for a true miracle. But miracles come about once in thirty years, and we already had a miracle relatively recently (Brawn GP), and so there is no point to expect one now.

    As for the "prejudice" against the Renault engines, I don't believe there is a genuine prejudice against this engine manufacturer among the community. What we have really seen was quite a public spat between Red Bull and the Renault organization during the seasons 2014-2015, when Red Bull became highly critical of Renault because the engine power allowed Renault to be "only" the best of the rest. I think the spat that happened then probably made RedBull look far more hysterical and tactless than Renault. Renault reacted quite nobly by re-introducing the Renault factory team without jeopardizing RedBull's engine supply.

    But let's go back to the McLaren-Honda affair. Most fans are mad that the Honda factory and one of the most significant and better funded F1 racing teams can't build a car that can last a race, for three years! Outrageous. Not only this made the McLaren team look like fools, but it also nearly (or certainly?) put a nail in Alonso's F1 career. I think Alonso must retire immediately if he does not want to become another Jacques Villeneuve.
    Last edited by zako85; 17th June 2017 at 13:09.

  3. #3
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    I do wonder what Toyota engineering could do with a F1 power unit with all the hybrid/ electric motor R & D they have done.
    https://youtu.be/TEvYUjJo3RQ Alonso not a happy camperon lap 66 of 70 - Canadian GP.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrodaze View Post
    What has been obvious on some occasions is that the 2017 Honda power unit has not been run at its full potential due to its reliability issues. So it is difficult to say how competitive the unit is.
    No, it's dead simple.

    This Honda engine is about as competitive as the Earth car. It is complete and utter rubbish. To date the best result that the Honda unit has done in three seasons is 5th; so far McLaren has scored zero points this season

    The best person to give Honda the message would be Kimi Raikkonen, who would deliberately destroy the engine in as spectacular fashion as possible as he did in Germany in front of the Mercedes delegates.

    The best thing that can be done with this Honda engine is to do what they do in that Hyundai advert and drop it from a plane at 30,000 feet. It is unfit for purpose.
    The Old Republic was a stupidly run organisation which deserved to be taken over. All Hail Palpatine!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    No, it's dead simple.

    This Honda engine is about as competitive as the Earth car. It is complete and utter rubbish. To date the best result that the Honda unit has done in three seasons is 5th; so far McLaren has scored zero points this season

    The best person to give Honda the message would be Kimi Raikkonen, who would deliberately destroy the engine in as spectacular fashion as possible as he did in Germany in front of the Mercedes delegates.

    The best thing that can be done with this Honda engine is to do what they do in that Hyundai advert and drop it from a plane at 30,000 feet. It is unfit for purpose.
    A seasons worth of them might make a nice artificial reef for the benefit of sea life. So far they have served admirably as boat anchors.
    "Old roats am jake mit goats."
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    Jokes aside regarding what may be appropriate alternative uses for the Honda F1 engine, it would be fascinating to know where the errors have been made in its design. Is it indeed the fundamental design of the ICE part, or the workings of the various hybrid elements or the way they all work (or don't work) together? We all hear of the many failures there have been but rarely do we hear any detail on their causes. The Honda engineers must have plenty of failed units to analyse by now to work out what is going on. It seems surprising to me that they haven't recruited expertise from outside to get to the bottom of it - maybe they have and realise that the issues are too deeply ingrained to solve?

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    Vibration was mentioned as a major cause of reliabilty problems at the start of the season. But it seems inexplicable that they never discovered this problem on the test stand.

  8. #8
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    I don't see why it's being labelled as just a crap power unit when none of us really know what the issue and the extent of it actually is.
    If it is a vibration issue that can be rectified... and they can then turn it up... isn't it is perfectly possible that it could then be competitive ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyL View Post
    Vibration was mentioned as a major cause of reliabilty problems at the start of the season. But it seems inexplicable that they never discovered this problem on the test stand.
    Vibration is a tricky problem. The natural frequency of the unit on a dyno stand is not representative of what it would be when coupled to the chassis which alters the value of the natural frequency in a different way to how the stand would by virtue of the relative masses involved.

    I think this highlights that the Mclaren chassis engineers are not working as a close knit team with the Honda power unit engineers for whatever reason. It is very hard to see how both crews of engineers did not see the likelihood of this at design stage. From our very far armchairs, it would seem this is where the root of the problem in the partnership lies.

    I wonder if Sauber may be a better working partnership for Honda. This may in the end be very beneficial to Mclaren l think.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 20th June 2017 at 18:45.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
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  10. #10
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    Honda have an upgraded engine for this weekend, with both McLarens taking a stack of engine penalties in order to use it. I wonder if we'll see any hints of improvement. The speed trap numbers on that long straight should make interesting reading.

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