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OT: The struggles of McLaren-Honda

  1. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 19, 2015

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    I think Alonso will stick around, its clearly a good chassis given what he's able to do with in it even in the engine situation they're in.

    This year's car is a Peter Prodromou evolved 2014 design, next year will be Peter's first clean slate design for McLaren after his amazing success heading aero work at Red Bull under Newey.

    Honda seem to have reliability and heat rejection sorted out, and are aware of where the weaknesses are, in the compressor and ERS. Over winter when they get access to all those engine tokens I think they'll make a massive improvement on both those aspects. Another interesting thing with the Honda is that in Singapore its trap speeds are consistently higher than Red Bull / Toro Rosso, which makes the Honda claims of a power advantage over Renault make sense.

    If it is just ERS and a compressor fix among some other enhancements they can definitely catch up given Honda's massive depth of talent, and in a better chassis next year it could be a genuine contender. Honda definitely don't want to go through this year again, and now that the problems are identified and data is plentiful they'll throw everything at it.
     
  2. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Sep 20, 2015

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    Another disappointing race weekend. The hardest part is the lack of real progress- sure, Australia was a disaster, but if it was just a learning curve and there were signs of improvement it would be easier to understand...for example, good pace but unreliable.

    I would have thought the car/ engine is as good as its ever going to be in 2015 and it's time to write the year off, treat it as an extended testing session and get things right for 2016
     
  3. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 20, 2015

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    I know its just heartbreaking, double gearbox failure though, at least its a new and non-Honda related issue :|
     
  4. TheKomoman

    TheKomoman Sep 21, 2015

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    imagwai likes this.
  5. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 21, 2015

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  6. Hubert

    Hubert Sep 22, 2015

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    http://blackflag.jalopnik.com/jenson-button-to-announce-retirement-from-formula-one-a-1732293377
     
  7. Pell031

    Pell031 Sep 22, 2015

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    I'd love to see Button in both WEC and TopGear.

    As for McLaren, boy I sure hope they get this sorted next year. this is beyond sad
     
  8. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Sep 27, 2015

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    Listening to Alonso on the radio today I think it's pretty clear that he's looking at ways of getting out of his contract. He's too calculating to have said what he did today ("GP2 Engine...embarrassing") at Honda's own circuit and not have a plan in mind
     
  9. Hubert

    Hubert Sep 27, 2015

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    http://blackflag.jalopnik.com/mclaren-boss-ron-dennis-says-both-alonso-and-button-wil-1733235305
    McLaren Boss Ron Dennis Says Both Alonso And Button Will Return For 2016
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Sep 27, 2015

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    By the way, despite Alonso's complaints, he drove a superb race yesterday. Yes, they were smashed on the straights, but looked more competitive than I expected.

    Still think this story has a few twists ahead.
     
  11. Pell031

    Pell031 Sep 27, 2015

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    i keep wondering if it's Dennis who shouldn't be the one considered as a possible candidate to not be returning to the team....this bit of lethargy started before Honda and is embarrassingly bad for this team. The Honda part has certainly exacerbated the issue but they couldn't keep up with Williams last year with the same engine.

    Safe to assume the lump will be improved next year, the chassis better well be.
     
  12. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 28, 2015

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    There's been a lot of turnover and changing of direction even aside from the Honda engine and driver lineup, the aero chief was replaced with the new guy from Red Bull, Peter Prodromou who was effectively Adrian Newey's right hand man during the RB domination years.

    The 2014 MP4-29 was a confused car using some odd aero concepts like the infamous butterfly rear suspension:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The MP4-30 was a continuation and evolution of the MP4-29 as Peter came into the picture far too late to redesign it from scratch, so he's been gradually applying his aero philosophy (quite draggy but very high downforce) bit by bit as can be seen by the sheer volume of new parts fitted from the short nose to rear floor to front wing elements which are very Red Bull like. Ironically the entire emphasis on tight rear packaging that lead to the Honda engine issues was brought about by Peter's predecessor, and he only walked into it in around October 2014.

    Because of his preference for a draggy but much higher downforce car, he probably would have much preferred Honda to simply go balls out making the power they needed to overcome that drag as much as possible, rather than worrying about following the Williams approach of creating a very slippery low downforce car that's a demon on straights.

    Peter did the vast majority of the hands on work rather than Newey, who had taken a step back in recent years so he definitely can compete with the Red Bull team on his own, the question is how are they going to go about it? The MP4-31 is no doubt underway, and is the first completely blank canvas Prodromou designed car for McLaren, given that its likely to be even more draggy and in need of even more power, and Honda I have no doubt are banging out engine after engine at Sakura to get everything out of their 2016 design. It could be that Peter's been able to work with Honda to allow them more breathing room packaging and layout wise since suffocating that engine was never his idea to begin with.

    Given the chassis is already competitive even if the engine is awful, and its a compromised design to begin with, next year could be very interesting if they have both the power and the aero to go with it. Key question is whether Red Bull / Toro Rosso get the Ferrari "A" engine or if they're stuck on the 2015 / "B" spec version. The head of Fiat group was talking about the 2016 Ferrari engine being an absolute monster even compared to the much improved 2015, so Honda will have their work cut out for them.
     
  13. TheKomoman

    TheKomoman Oct 6, 2015

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  14. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Oct 7, 2015

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    I'd say they've known for quite some time, of the current engine manufacturers, Ferrari is still a small sub-brand of Fiat-Chrysler, Mercedes high performance powertrains is still the old Ilmor business in the UK, not Germany, and Renault is, well Renault. Honda is definitely capable of getting back on top, its just a matter of whether the regulations allow them to.

    The more frightening news this week, Bernie Ecclestone could be standing down at the end of this year...

    As much as Bernie is a vicious, manipulative, fascist dictator, he's the best dictator we could ask for, and if the F1 strategy group has proven anything, its that consensus decision making and democracy doesn't work in this sport. The only way the circus can be run is by one man, with his foot firmly on the throat of every team boss in equal measure, maybe Ross Brawn could manage it but I can't think of many others.
     
  15. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Oct 22, 2015

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    Pell031 and TheKomoman like this.
  16. TheKomoman

    TheKomoman Oct 22, 2015

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    Thanks, that really was a good read. It's truly amazing how reliable these contraptions are given their complexity. Even with Honda's struggles it's still a remarkable piece of engineering and speaks volumes about the quality of work done by Mercedes.
     
  17. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Oct 24, 2015

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    Practice 1 results for USA GP were interesting, Fernando was nearly 7 tenths up on Jenson's best time with the brand new Honda engine that they were saying had exceeded their expectations from this latest upgrade. While Fernando is often considered the quicker driver, Jensen is still the best wet weather runner in the sport and tends to be on balance even quicker than Fernando when it rains, and he's actively trying to provide a performance comparison this weekend between new and old engines by doing his best against his teammate.

    Apparently the new exhaust headers (equal length separate pipes rather than the old log style) and combustion chamber changes made at least 20hp more in Russia and can be improved on further as mapping isn't optimal yet.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Hubert

    Hubert Oct 25, 2015

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    Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for his well deserved 3rd World Championship and, on his own account, the best moment of his life.
     
  19. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Oct 25, 2015

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    ..and a much, much better race for McLaren-Honda
     
  20. Hubert

    Hubert Oct 25, 2015

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    Yes, much improvement for McLaren-Honda, especially for Button who was quick to nab the 6th place from Alonso, who suffered unexpected engine vibration on the finishing laps.