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Old 18th September 2017, 10:54   #1
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Default Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

McLaren and Honda have announced that they will discontinue their partnership for the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of 2017 by mutual consent. Renault engines will power McLaren cars in 2018.

McLaren and Honda started their partnership back in 2015. The split comes after consistently poor performance and reliability from Honda's engines since the two joined forces. This move is believed to have been influenced by McLaren driver Fernando Alonso who said he would not be continuing another year with the Honda powered car. Till the 2017 Singapore GP, the team had incurred a total loss of 260 grid positions for engine penalties.

The split also involves a loss of revenue to the McLaren, as Honda contributed about a net amount of US$ 100 million to the team through free engines, sponsorship funding and paying half of the drivers' salaries. Despite this, the team has decided that their performance was affecting not only the prospective Formula One prize money, but also the sponsorship deals.

From 2018, McLaren cars will be powered by Renault engines. The initial contract between Mclaren and Renault has been signed for three seasons. As part of the deal, the team will receive full support from Renault - like a works team with the same level of performance as Red Bull in a long-term deal. Additionally, Carlos Sainz, who is driving for Toro Rosso this season, will move to Renault from 2018. Toro Rosso will switch to Honda engines from next year in a multi-year deal.

Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018-mclaren.jpg

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Last edited by Aditya : 18th September 2017 at 12:51.
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Old 18th September 2017, 11:36   #2
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

Well! McLaren Honda was a dream partnership in the making, but couldn't get anywhere close to the glory days of the past. This was the second biggest goof up in F1 from Honda in the last decade.

The first one was funding the sale of the factory team to Ross Brawn in the aftermath of the 2008 subprime crisis. Brawn went onto win both titles in 2009 with what was left of the Honda team and very limited resources. It was clear shortsightedness and became F1 folklore.

And now over here, Honda has lost both big money and its name. Its a pity that a F1 powerhouse like Honda cannot get the hybrid power unit right even after all these years. McLaren do have a good chassis and a brilliant driver, which is adding to the frustration.

And this is a bold move from McLaren. Not only are they saying no to huge money from Honda, they got nowhere to hide now. Honda got a lot of stick and rightly so. But now with Renault, McLaren will have to deliver.

The biggest loser in all this is RBR. But they kind of brought this on themselves after being a very vocal critique of the Renault engines. They completely forgot the utter domination of the series from 2010 to 2014. Now their best hope is either Honda coming good or preparing the bed for Porsche (or Aston Martin?) in the near future.

There is a chance that Red Bull has lost interest in F1 and Porsche could buy the team outright. It has to be noted that both Porsche and Audi quit World Endurance Championship after diesel gate and will be itching to get on board a motor sport series with huge fan following and technical challenges.

Nevertheless, it is interesting times. Hopefully, we can see a lot of new and relevant brands coming to F1 with Liberty Media taking reins. They have done away with the confusion and looks to be more open.
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Old 18th September 2017, 12:03   #3
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Additionally, Carlos Sainz, who is driving for Toro Rosso this season, will move to Renault from 2018.
Sainz will move to the factory Renault team.
Actually on a loan for 1 year from red Bull.

The whole thing looks like a musical chairs event to me.

After all this, I hope Honda will turn up with a monster PU next season and Torro Rosso can dance with the big boys up front.

Last edited by Aditya : 18th September 2017 at 12:51. Reason: Quoted text corrected :)
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Old 19th September 2017, 10:51   #4
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

I don't think it's going to change McLaren's fortunes. At best, it'll move them a little bit higher on the grid. That small bump up is going to cost them as McLaren will now lose a lot of Honda money.

But this divorce also shows just how bad things are at Honda. No one would know more about their future potential than close partner, McLaren. Clearly, there was no hope.

Honda should either give their everything to F1, or not participate at all. These half-hearted efforts are causing a big blow to their reputation. Even in the 2000s, Honda power was lousy. I think it's just a matter of commitment - after all, how hard can it be for a company like Honda to build a good engine?
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Old 19th September 2017, 15:44   #5
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

Agree. Turning down $100m thats sitting in your lap is a massive call. With Zak Brown and the calls he's taking, McLaren will be a good bet for sponsors with the odd podiums next year.

Sadly I do believe the glory days for McLaren are over till 2021. Mercedes have set the bar incredibly high on performance and budgets.

Honda ofcourse are targeting a top 3 finish with Toro Rosso next year and no doubt winning the Championship with Daniil Kvyat in 2019.
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Old 19th September 2017, 18:13   #6
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I don't think it's going to change McLaren's fortunes. At best, it'll move them a little bit higher on the grid. That small bump up is going to cost them as McLaren will now lose a lot of Honda money.

But this divorce also shows just how bad things are at Honda. No one would know more about their future potential than close partner, McLaren. Clearly, there was no hope.

Honda should either give their everything to F1, or not participate at all. These half-hearted efforts are causing a big blow to their reputation. Even in the 2000s, Honda power was lousy. I think it's just a matter of commitment - after all, how hard can it be for a company like Honda to build a good engine?
I do hope Honda doesn't hold back with their Spec.4 engine, which apparently is having an improved combustion process, forming the basis of their 2018 PU.
Probably Ron Dennis's exit was the starting point for Honda exit from the project. Losing the Fuel/ Lubes. partner also did not help. Apparently Mercedes has gained 50 hp via fuel and lubes and that's not an insignificant number.

As per the image painted so far by the info available in the public domain, McLaren should move a few positions up on the grid as STR should move backwards a few positions. What the Melbourne grid looks like in 2018 will be a real test on the propaganda on various aspects of the McLaren-Honda project like the MCL Chassis capabilities and Honda PU competence.
Looking forward to the first test of 2018.

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Originally Posted by Hatari View Post
Agree. Turning down $100m thats sitting in your lap is a massive call. With Zak Brown and the calls he's taking, McLaren will be a good bet for sponsors with the odd podiums next year.

Sadly I do believe the glory days for McLaren are over till 2021. Mercedes have set the bar incredibly high on performance and budgets.

Honda ofcourse are targeting a top 3 finish with Toro Rosso next year and no doubt winning the Championship with Daniil Kvyat in 2019.
Zak already told the press that he has a few sponsors (not title sponsors) ready waiting for confirmation of their new PU deal.
Essentially McLaren has gone from a Works partner to a PU customer, hoping for a semi-works deal with Renault if RedBull moves onto Honda.
Whether all this will work out or not will depend on the relative performance boost that Renault and Honda achieve next year beginning.
Both McLaren and RedBull will be keen to know the outcome of the "development wars" between the two manufacturers.

Last edited by jfxavier : 19th September 2017 at 18:17.
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Old 19th September 2017, 18:37   #7
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

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The first one was funding the sale of the factory team to Ross Brawn in the aftermath of the 2008 subprime crisis. Brawn went onto win both titles in 2009 with what was left of the Honda team and very limited resources. It was clear shortsightedness and became F1 folklore.
I think Honda did make a big mistake with the Brawn sale but what people forget is that Ross somehow jammed in a much more reliable Mercedes engine and gearbox into the back of what was I will admit a very capable Honda developed chassis. But again one only needs to see that season's result was hugely won on the early advantage afforded by the double diffuser. Once the other teams caught on, Jenson and Rubens had a much harder time of it.

Honda though have been utterly dire in Formula 1 this millenium. We shouldn't forget the absolute pig that was the pretty looking Earth Dreams Honda factory car that if memory serves me correct was being beaten on pace by the B-team, Super Aguri. Honda only got away with it because Toyota was the case study on a manufacturer chucking all the money at F1 only to come up woefully short. I think given the Mclaren-Honda woes there will be a revision of the greatest Japanese mea culpa in this sport.

Honda had long used motorsport to develop their engineering talent, rotating them in and out, but that doesn't help. A lot of the niggles could be solved perhaps by keeping experienced engineers within a motorsport division and not say moving them on to the many other sub sets of the vast Honda empire. The vast communication gap between Woking and Sakura didn't help either.

Personally I feel everything just came about at the wrong time. Ron Dennis has a lot of blame in this, given the massive internal power struggle that took place at Mclaren between Ron & Mansour+the Bahraini's.That sort of titanic boardroom fight is bound to take a toll across the company. Though the road car division seems to be coming along nicely the race team has only gone down under Marty Whitmarsh and then the current arrangement. Under the final years of Mercedes power the Mclaren chassis wasn't all that good. So we can definitely see the signs of a team in decline. Many people counter the claim that the very high speeds posted by the Mclaren in corners is not evidence of the chassis being up there with the elite of the grid but simply a consequence of a very high downforce set up.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that as a result of a perfect storm of consequences you have the unmitigated disaster that was the second coming of Mclaren-Honda. Long may it begone.

PS: I'm so enormously happy at the news Renault dumped Christian and Helmut. Those two are so arrogant, I love it when their well laid machinations of having their cake and eating it too, are instead napalm-ed by fate. First diesel-gate, now this. I doubt Dietrich will sell out, he's been whingeing long enough but still hasn't. Why? Because he knows the only thing his boys are missing is a decent power unit to get themselves back at the sharp end of the grid. Maybe it's dawned on them that they will have to be patient again to try and work their way up the grid. Maybe even some humility in coo-ing that woeful pig of a Honda engine towards some semblance of respectability.
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Old 19th September 2017, 21:25   #8
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

Red Bull will apparently be gone come 2021, remaining only as a title sponsor.
Hello Aston Martin.

Toro Rosso has already been on sale for a while.

With the new regulations and advancement in engineering, there will be no magic bullet, making it harder for newcomers. Mercedes themselves has a 1.5 year headstart on the others for the current engine.
Tough time for Honda ahead.

Last edited by Hatari : 19th September 2017 at 21:27.
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Old 20th September 2017, 11:29   #9
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

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Originally Posted by jfxavier View Post
Probably Ron Dennis's exit was the starting point for Honda exit from the project.
I tend to agree with that. It was Ron who brought Honda onboard, and the current McLaren management doesn't have that kind of relationship with the Japanese company.

But choosing between a Honda engine & one from Renault is like being stuck between a rock & a hard place .

Renault might turn out to be a bad choice. Will maybe give McLaren a marginal bump up in the short-term, but let's not forget that Renault wants its own team soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
I think Honda did make a big mistake with the Brawn sale but what people forget is that Ross somehow jammed in a much more reliable Mercedes engine and gearbox into the back of what was I will admit a very capable Honda developed chassis. But again one only needs to see that season's result was hugely won on the early advantage afforded by the double diffuser. Once the other teams caught on, Jenson and Rubens had a much harder time of it.
. At the time though, with the global recession and all, Honda was damn scared and wanted to get rid of all 'discretionary' expenses. Motorsport activities are usually the first to go in such a situation, be it F1 or WRC.

Quote:
Honda had long used motorsport to develop their engineering talent, rotating them in and out, but that doesn't help
Nice post. I'm also of the opinion that Honda is no longer the technological leader (as a company) that it once was. Mercedes is way, way ahead of them and has enormous financial muscle too. Even Hyundai is ahead of Honda now. Think about it - the last popular Honda innovation we saw was the 'Vtec' in the 90s. What then? Fast dual-clutch gearboxes? No. Direct-injection turbo petrols? No. Hybrid? You had to drive the Civic Hybrid to realise how poor it was compared to the Prius. Heck, Honda took so many years just to develop a simple 1.5L diesel for India. Check out this Reuters article on Honda losing its mojo - link.

In the middle of all this chaos, my heart really goes out to Alonso. He's wasted his final driving years with an awful car. But then, you live life by the choices you make. For all his driving talent, he sure makes terrible decisions (along with his manager). I can't think of any top double-champion driver who hasn't had a good car for as long as he has. Hamilton is the diametric opposite - thanks to superb decision making, he has always been in the best car (or 2nd best) on the grid.
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Old 20th September 2017, 19:50   #10
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

Few excerpts from interview with Mr. Masashi Yamamoto on the possibilities with Toro Rosso.

The head of Honda motorsport division quotes.
Quote:
Toro Rosso is now the team with which Honda will chase that success. As the newest power unit supplier in Formula 1, it joins forces with one of the youngest teams on the grid, with both sides of the partnership keen to grow together.
Quote:
First, [Toro Rosso team principal] Mr. Tost knows a lot about Japan. He understands the culture and it’s a good communication that we have,” Yamamoto says. “We have seen that they also have a young factory and are growing, which for Honda is very important because we can work with the same mentality and have the same approach. It is a new start with a team with a similar mindset to move forwards together.
The bit i wanted to share was this.
Quote:
“Working with McLaren, I’ve realised that they are a very big company which is very systematic. It’s obviously very strong because of that but at the same time they can find it hard to adapt to change."

“Compare that to Toro Rosso, it is a company that is growing. It is very important for us to work in partnership together, heading towards the same goal. So for us we are very much looking forward to being able to work closer."
and this
Quote:
“Take this for an example: If we compare both teams with different cuisines, let’s say McLaren is a very sophisticated French cuisine, that’s the way it is. Then Toro Rosso is more like a countryside, homemade delicious stew where you can add new ingredients. We’re excited to do that.”
While i have the highest regard for the name Mclaren ever since i saw Mika battle Michael in the 90s and hoping that the power bump with Renault might do some good to them, i cant help but wonder.

Would Mclaren be able to adapt to the packaging demands that the Renault PU brings and able to manage the power delivery?

Their chassis has never been good at managing tyre wear. Would they suffer higher or lower with Renault?

Would Mclaren be another Red Bull, whining all the way to Renault about lack of Power and Reliability when they find themselves behind Red Bull. While they do have the best developing driver in Alonso and amazing engineers for Chassis and Aero, they sure don't have Newey.

I would love to be proven wrong, see Mclaren adapt to the power unit soon enough and would love to see Alonso challenge the youngsters around him.

Source Link

Last edited by rohitoasis : 20th September 2017 at 20:13. Reason: Adding afterthoughts.
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Old 21st September 2017, 10:52   #11
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

In this Honda PU saga, the only party to have come out with mature, calm and polite reactions is Honda.
The internal politics and turmoil within McLaren spilled over to their F1 program too, or so one would believe looking at some of the "methods" used in building upto these deals.
All these contracts & deals could have happened without the "drama" that came before it.
With time, probably more details would emerge.
Till then, it looks like a kid throwing his toys out of the pram kicking and screaming.

Honda had not forgotten how to make an Engine, its just that the game had moved on too far along when they came back after the break.
Like most of us now a days, the fans as well as McLaren wanted everything yesterday and be in the front.
The easiest way is to buy the technology (eg. Ferrari) or lure the key technical people away from their companies (eg. Mercedes). But unfortunately (or fortunately) Honda doesn't believe in that way. They got some inputs from the experts, but still wanted to do it the hard way or learning and doing it themselves. Obviously McLaren doesn't have the time or patience as the whole process was in public eye.
Looks like they forgot the years of toil that Honda had put in before McLaren partnered with them in the 80s. March & Williams would have felt the same way McLaren might feel when Honda comes good and delivers on their targets.
If and when that happens, that would be an emotional day in F1. Not he kind that Toto and Niki displays in the Merc paddock.

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Old 21st September 2017, 14:27   #12
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

I am a huge Mclaren fan. Been one since the 90's when I started watching F1 regularly. Saying that I am deeply pained by their constant lack of success and habit of shooting themselves in the foot is a gross understatement.

Let me put things in perspective:

Drivers championships: After their last success with Ayrton Senna in 1991, McLaren have won three! yes just 3 drivers titles (98,99,08). So that's three titles in 26 years.

Constructors Championship: If we take the same year (1991) as a cut off point this once great team has won...wait for it...ONE (yes!) constructors championship (98).

My point is that the Honda saga has been going on for only the past three years. But what about the rest of the time? Will you really call a team which has one only 4 championships (Drivers + constructors) since 1991 a great team? In my mind McLaren WERE a great team. They really do not deserve that tag anymore. For most of the years they have been powered by excellent Mercedes engines made by Ilmor and then Mercedes Benz HPP, and except 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004 these engines have been the class of the field. Each and every year they manage to goof up in some or the other area and mess up their "technical package" as Ron used to call it. I even remember all their excuses from 2001 onwards.

So while Honda has been a disaster for them, what about the rest of the years? I hope they stop basking in their past glory for a change and get real. But going on past experience I dont really see that happening.
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Old 21st September 2017, 15:43   #13
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

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Originally Posted by jfxavier View Post
Till then, it looks like a kid throwing his toys out of the pram kicking and screaming.
Fact is that Honda have failed every target they have set themselves for 3.5 years. At the end of 2016, they went on record saying they aim to match the Mercedes PU in 2017!
Look where they ended up. If they make idiotic claims (and continue to- their 2018 aim is P3 with Toro Rosso), how could McLaren have reacted otherwise to such shameless rubbish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Potenza View Post
I am a huge Mclaren fan. Been one since the 90's when I started watching F1 regularly. Saying that I am deeply pained by their constant lack of success and habit of shooting themselves in the foot is a gross understatement.

Let me put things in perspective:

Drivers championships: After their last success with Ayrton Senna in 1991, McLaren have won three! yes just 3 drivers titles (98,99,08). So that's three titles in 26 years.

Constructors Championship: If we take the same year (1991) as a cut off point this once great team has won...wait for it...ONE (yes!) constructors championship (98).

My point is that the Honda saga has been going on for only the past three years. But what about the rest of the time? Will you really call a team which has one only 4 championships (Drivers + constructors) since 1991 a great team? In my mind McLaren WERE a great team. They really do not deserve that tag anymore. For most of the years they have been powered by excellent Mercedes engines made by Ilmor and then Mercedes Benz HPP, and except 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004 these engines have been the class of the field. Each and every year they manage to goof up in some or the other area and mess up their "technical package" as Ron used to call it. I even remember all their excuses from 2001 onwards.

So while Honda has been a disaster for them, what about the rest of the years? I hope they stop basking in their past glory for a change and get real. But going on past experience I dont really see that happening.
Agree. But they made a big corrective step, fired Whitmarsh and Ron himself boosted the technical team in 2013 (Peter Prodromou was hired, Honda brought onboard etc). All this was done because the F1 project had lost steam and focus had shifted to the road car division.

Now, they were not the best team in this period but neither were they anywhere close to the bottom.
So finishing 2nd last is a disaster.
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Old 21st September 2017, 17:25   #14
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

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Fact is that Honda have failed every target they have set themselves for 3.5 years. At the end of 2016, they went on record saying they aim to match the Mercedes PU in 2017!
Look where they ended up. If they make idiotic claims (and continue to- their 2018 aim is P3 with Toro Rosso), how could McLaren have reacted otherwise to such shameless rubbish?
Honda was rushed into debut on 2015 season. Probably Ron's nostalgia and enthusiasm for Honda was not shared by other board members as well and might have been one of the major factors in his final exit from the company.
Ideally they would have taken one more year of preparations before going racing looking at the timescale followed by other manufacturers.
The "size zero" requirements put on Honda by McLaren was another restriction during the "token" period where they could not abandon the whole PU concept.
I remember Eric saying that McLaren rejected the initial two design concepts from Honda and only allowed the 3rd one which fulfilled their packaging requirements to be finalized.
Add to that the lack of technical know-how in the latest combustion technology. It meant that they wasted two years trying to get back on their feet after the disastrous start from which they could not recover trying to get the flawed initial concept working.
The issues with quality control and design procedures/ validation of concepts on dyno/ test bench was a real eye opener in my opinion. Probably that's where they should have focused at Sakura.

In a way, 2017 is their first year with the new ICE concept.
If the rumors are to be believed, McLaren still vetoed the preferred design due to higher weight and COG.
Many believe the engine that Honda runs presently is the lightest on the grid and with lowest COG. Obviously this must be coming at the expense of outright power.
The elusive 2017 Spec.4 engine was supposed to address the said issues. Some say that it is actually one of the designs rejected at the start of the season.
I believe that's one of the reasons why Bernie was saying McLaren is to share the blame for Honda PU debacle.
Hopefully Honda has learned to say "NO" by now.

McLaren never acknowledged Honda PU's contribution while going gaga about their car's cornering abilities.
Will be interesting to see how STR performs next year and their comments on the Honda PU.

Hopefully someday someone will write a book on these years of Honda struggle.

Last edited by jfxavier : 21st September 2017 at 17:37.
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Old 21st September 2017, 18:33   #15
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Default Re: Formula 1: McLaren dumps Honda; gets Renault power for 2018

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Originally Posted by jfxavier View Post
Honda was rushed into debut on 2015 season. Probably Ron's nostalgia and enthusiasm for Honda was not shared by other board members as well and might have been one of the major factors in his final exit from the company.
Ideally they would have taken one more year of preparations before going racing looking at the timescale followed by other manufacturers.
The "size zero" requirements put on Honda by McLaren was another restriction during the "token" period where they could not abandon the whole PU concept.

...
...
All accepted - In 3 years I think even Vikram Auto would have managed to make an engine that lasts whole race distance. There are literally 0 excuses for Honda's failures.

They have openly said that they could not replicate the results of a 1 cylinder prototype on dyno into a V6. How long does a company like Honda need to get that right?

They have failed big time. Resulting in further erosion of sponsorship money for McLaren. Now as they go, they'll take their own money away from McLaren also. So its going to be further money from own pockets for McLaren making business harder for them ahead.

On a separate thread, I really hope they change the current livery again next season. Maybe add some Yellow on Renault's insistence somewhere. I just don't like to see Spykers named as McLaren!

Last edited by Reinhard : 21st September 2017 at 18:49.
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