McLaren fire a public shot across Honda’s bow

untitledBrought to you by TheJudge13 contributor, Fortis

Former McLaren protégé, Lewis Hamilton, has spoken recently of how difficult he finds it watching his former team struggle to be competitive since his departure to Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.

The Woking team’s fortunes have plummeted. Since Jenson Button won the final race of the 2012 season in Brazil, McLaren have failed to make the top step of the podium. In 2013, the team failed to record a pole position, race win or even a top three finish and was their worst season in their six decades in Formula One.

The 2014 season opener in Melbourne brought some hope as Keving Magnussen took the chequered flag in third place – though he was upgraded a slot when Daniel Ricciardo P2 in the Red Bull was disqualified. Button was also promoted to third.

The first nine races of 2015 have afforded Ron Dennis’ team with little satisfaction and Lewis Hamilton reflects, “We all know it’s been difficult for them this year and it’s definitely hard for me to see that.

“It’s such a great team, such a huge team, that’s had such great success, and it’s a team that I was a part of for many years.

“It feels very abnormal to see them in the position they’re in right now.”

Despite their differences over contractual matters in 2012, Lewis is convinced that McLaren’s boss has the necessary experience and know how to turn their season around.

“You’ve got the great Ron Dennis there, a lot of great engineers, and a team spirit which eventually I believe will pull through,” Lewis states.

“It’s a dark place for them right now but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Jenson Button, who was team-mate to Hamilton for three years, has maintained that it is important for the squad to retain a positive attitude because this will be the only route out of their current tribulations.

“We all fight to keep the smile – it’s a difficult position for all of us,” said the 2009 world champion.

“I have really crappy days, like all of us, and moments I’m not happy.

“There’s no point being down now, because that’s not going to help us improve.

“So it’s about giving good feedback and trying to make the most of every situation. Smiling’s better than frowning.”

Fernando Alonso shares Button’s sentiments: “It’s true the competitiveness we have now is not what we wanted or what we expect.

“We knew this is the first year [with Honda] and quite a difficult time, but I’m still optimistic and happy with the progress of the car.

“We need to fix some problems but we are definitely going in the right direction.

“With the current rules everything requires a bit of time because you are with tied hands for many things.”

It’s clear that Honda under estimated the magnitude of the technological task to build a new V6 Turbo Hybrid F1 engine. Even Renault whose engines was some way behind the Mercedes benchmark in 2014, suffered nothing like current pain opf Mclaren-Honda.

Ted Kravitz reported over the weekend, that his ‘sources in Japan’ had informed him Honda have continually refused to recruit F1 engine specialist from other manufacturers. This is apparently not the ‘Honda way’.

When asked last night about this cultural approach, Eric Boullier appeared furious. “We need to forget all this bullshit. This is Formula 1. This is racing.

“If you are in F1 it is to do F1 – whether you are African, English or Japanese.

“If you are in F1, you have to do things the F1 way and at the standard of F1. Nothing else.”

Ron Dennis by comparison appeared sanguine over the Honda relationship during the Silverstone weekend. However, Boulliers shot across the Japanese company’s bows demonstrates patience is wearing thin in Woking. Though a Renault-Red Bull public civil war of words is unlikely to be pending – because Ron Dennis refuses to budge from the line that Honda are McLaren’s only option – if they want to win titles in Formula One.

18 responses to “McLaren fire a public shot across Honda’s bow

  1. I suppose this wouldn’t be a good time to remind Ron Dennis that had not been so generous in allowing Brawn to use the Mercedes engines when Honda ran away the last time they were in F1, McLaren might not be so far up Poo Creek.

  2. Watching that appalling egomaniac Ron Dennis get his nose rubbed in it almost makes it worthwhile to see two of the best drivers in F1 being wasted (well, Alonso at least) whilst the prima donnas of other teams weep crocodile tears and crow about their own magnificence.
    But Nemesis always follows Hubris.

  3. This is awful. Where are the supportability engineers for Honda and McLaren. Surely they discussed how Honda would approach the recruitment and development before deals were struck. Pointless for them to complain about it now unless Honda had agreed previously to recruit in a certain way. Trying to imagine how the meeting went.

    “So Honda how are you going to approach this Engine contract”

    ” Don’t worry. We got this”.

    “ok Here is millions of monies”

    • True, but Perez also didn’t apparently know how the 2013 car was going to be a dog when he signed and brought $5m to sweeten the deal. He thought he was walking into a top team and car, which in 2012 was the fastest – they just needed better reliability/team operations!

  4. Well Honda faces quite a challenge, don’t they? Try to poach people from Mercedes with billions of yen or develop their own skills to do it. Ferrari ain’t going to give any of it’s engine people away right now and I suspect Mercedes is doing the same. Renault doesn’t know how to built a turbo hybrid V6 yet, despite a year to practice, and Honda is in the same boat.

    Maybe they should go get some folks from Cosworth or Audi…

  5. It’s going just the way I predicted. Honda came into the game thinking that past result would automatically bring new succes. And everybody followed that point of view. Over something that happend more than 20 years ago…

    • I guess the problem is that all the die-hard mechanical engineers that were the source of that success have now retired, hence Honda has to train a new generation, and their KERS is behind too as it was never raced in 2009 (unlike McLaren KERS, which was raced to be one of the better ones upon it’s return).

    • Honda has had tons of other successes with building engines since last they had success in F1

      • Other succes doesn’t count… it’s not if you win the premier league 3 year in a row that you automatically win the champions league. We all know how good English teams do in Europe, even though they have (in my opinion) the best league of Europe.

  6. Very Japanese outlook. Long term outlook and planning, is always at the heart of their businesses. Years ago, Harvard had a business seminar on strategic planning. The panel was asked about their company plans. The GE America person talked about a five to ten year plan, then Akio Morita from Sony talked about his ten to twenty year plan and gave examples of future products. He was followed by someone(I don’t recall) from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, who talked about their short term, ten to twenty year plan, and their fifty year plan.

    Who is going to last the longest in this relationship, Honda or McLaren?

    • True.. well, they’ve been stagnating for 20+ years, that’s a long term plan compared to our 5+ that we’ve achieved so far 😛 Liquidity trap for all!

    • What good is a long therm commitment if you back out if it half way? Only winner is brawn.

  7. Good thing Honda didn’t make their engines available to other teams.
    I wonder if the Honda way is similar to the Toyota way….throw money into engine flames and pull out eventually.

  8. “How is it Mercedes’ fault if Ferrari mucks about with spaghetti rather than improve their car on the track?”

    Read more:

    Niki’s right. Reading between the lines…Ferrari has a myriad of resources at it’s disposal in order to bridge the gap to Mercedes. It’s not Mercedes fault that they’re behind right now. They’re are choosing to devote their time to things that are not bringing results on track. I expected better out of Ferrari. If the situation was reversed, Ferrari would be saying the same things about Mercedes.

    • Sorry Hiedi, I have to disagree with you as its not down to funds or resources. The problem is that all the teams started with a hand tied behind their backs. Merc did a very clever thing by starting development on this power unit very early and sacrificed a couple of seasons so they could enjoy this time. In the past the other teams would have caught up by now as we had unrestricted development and design,if this engine didn’t work,make another and evolve. Now we have a very tight window to improve and then it’s locked in place. Merc deserve their success as they did their homework but when the rules get reviewed in the future I hope that development is going to be allowed

  9. Honda may not actually be able to recruit/poach engineers from other teams simply because they are based in Japan. The best are already gainfully employed, earning great money, and working and living in an environment which is comfortable to them.

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