Delusion reigns strong at Mc-Honda

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The messages of progress coming form the historic Woking F1 team are finally starting to diverge. For much of the season Eric Boullier, Ron Dennis, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have managed to stay on the same page – however this unity is coming to an end.

Jenson Button stated following the British Grand Prix that a McLaren podium this year was ‘unrealistic’.

Fernando Alonso called on the team to bail out on 2015 and concentrate on 2016.

Jensen Button disagreed. He argues the regulation changes are minimal between 2015-16 and so McLaren need to continue to push for better results this year.

Now Eric the believable enters the fray. He tells F1.com that I am repeating myself: if we can unlock the potential we will maybe be fighting – with some luck – for a podium [this year]. If you can deploy your MGU-K power on the straights on every lap, that is worth a lot of time. Today we can’t do that”.

Having dominated F1 over a four-year period, many felt Red Bull/Renault’s tribulations at the beginning of 2014 were good because it rang the changes.

Honda however, have taken first year ‘teething problems’ to a Renault+++++ level. Eric Boullier admits, “We are not ready, we are not doing a good enough job right now – but we know that we have a lot of potential in our car.

“Just give us time. Once we’ve solved some of the reliability issues we will make absolutely significant steps forward.”

Boullier is making big claims about McLaren-Honda’s immediate future.

“We know that our cars have not tenths but seconds of potential that can be unlocked.

“We cannot physically use that because we have reliability issues, but if we overcome those we will be able to make major steps forward, believe me.”

The truism that McLaren can only improve this year is undeniable. However, Boullier’s belief in a podium finish for Jenson or Fernando in 2015, may be more ‘sponsor speak’ than reality.

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13 responses to “Delusion reigns strong at Mc-Honda

  1. Mr. Boullier, in French, we call what you are doing “faire de l’esbroufe”. I am not getting bored for the McLaren-Honda melodrama, it’s different to the RedBull-Renault one but it’s only seems to be going pear-shaped. It’s not like other teams will stand still and wait for them, Mercedes (and Ferrari) will most likely keep improving and finding performance here and there, or reliability as close to 99.999% as they can so they can totally unleash their engines as well.

  2. Why are they having trouble deploying that extra power? Is it combustion chamber design issues under high boost as has been rumored? Or is it related to the MGU-K? Or the MGU-H? Eric seems to suggest they can’t deploy all the MGU-K; I don’t get that. Is it because they aren’t harvesting enough under braking? Isn’t like at least 70% of the Energy Store being charged by the MGU-K? I don’t get why they would have reliability problems with the kinetic unit as that technology is quite similar (or perhaps even nearly identical) to KERS of yore.

    Or is the issue more complicated: can they not deploy the MGU-K in a linear and predictable fashion in conjunction with a motor that has a fairly non-linear response curve? If so, this could mean they can’t get traction out of the corners where both ICE and MGU-K energy is used on exit.

    But you’d also think that if their car was fine on downforce or particularly -L/D, then why aren’t they at least showing it on the so-called ‘non-power’ tracks?

    • Similar to 2014 Ferrari, they can do a lap in Q but not every lap in the race.. they are using the old Honda KERS, not the successful McLaren KERS?

      Driveability isn’t great, but if they can fix that issue could they make a Ferrari 14-15 type jump? Most likely for next year, not with the remaining tokens?

      I think they are running less downforce everywhere to get near Manor/Renault top speeds, but at Monaco the car was good for Q3, a total contrast with Williams.

    • If they were really ahead of Williams with the engine fixed, Ham, Ros, Alo, But, Mas, Bot, Rai, Vet, Ric, Ver would be a good looking top ten..

  3. I don’t get it. Why not run the PU full blast until it blows up, analyze what failed and make modifications for “reliability”, that way you don’t have to rely on tokens. Fernando and Jenson are getting a little impatient, can’t blame them.

    • I guess because that would mean accepting that the PU can blow up and in that strange world that is executives’ mind there is no room for reality.

    • Agreed, but it could just be that it’s not Honda’s way of doing things and McLaren are probably bound by contract to not run their engines beyond the recommendations of their partner ? Not that doing this would help them in their current predicament anyway…

  4. “Just give us time”…… Is that a message to all the McLaren fans or is it more for Alonso?

  5. Ron Deniss once said of Lewis ,that he has forgotten what its all about.but its seems its Ron who has forgotten what it was all about,when he backed Button in a bid to punish and humiliate Lewis for daring to grow up and express his unique personality.
    Every successful wining team in F1 has one thing in common,a stable group of people,driver and engineers,gelling together in a winning fomular to produce the best in each other.By backing Button who has demonstrated time and time again, his inability for leadership in car envelopment,Mclaren has been adrift ever since,and are too arrogant to admit their GRAVE mistake,and are stubbornly plowing head long hoping they will magically get back on course.
    Mclaren have lost their way and any pop psychologist will tell you that if you cant and havent recognize your problem you never gonna solve it.
    On a hyperbolic and simplistic way ,all of Mclaren problems are because of Button,since 2012 theyve been trying to make a car to what they think suits the Button so call driving style and it has failed.They havent worked out yet that what Button think he want doesnt work,you would have thought they have figured that out after doubling down on the Button design philosophy in 2013 and 14.Now they pretending like its all Honda,like they were setting he world on fire in 2014 with the most powerfull MERC engine.
    so all the fake bluster and prediction of grandiore and drama,means nothing,unless they lance the BOIL that is Jenson Button.
    Anecdotal evidence that Mclaren is in termoil and freefall,the anal Ron Denis cant even get Alonso to shave.and in true petty one upmanship fashion,Button grew a stupid Mustash ,who does that in 2015.
    The facial hair seems a small thing but its indicative of the lack of conviction and strong leadership at the helm .It suggest a bunch of demi gods all pulling in different direction trying to validate themselves.
    The problem is their success are all interlink on a false premise and assumption,leading to a situation where none can criticize the other or give the desperate leadership the team needs.perfect example where Alonso comes out and openly contradicts Mclaren account of his accident.

    You have the Ron God complex that his has guided mclaren through years of success therefore,voila instant success is gauranteed.Then you have another demi God in Alonso who is said to have single handled made ferrari for 5yrs so you know performance is gaurantted.and then you have Button who outscored Lewis in 2012 so therefore he should be in F1 for life and if he is not winning its not his fault,see see he outscored Lewis in 2012,so so its not him

  6. Maybe Savatage should re-release one of their greatest songs as a tribute to Ron!

    Far away in a land caught between time and space
    Where the books of life lay
    We fear this castle of stone
    The mountain king roams all alone in here
    But he’s not the only one
    Lost inside, forever hidden from the sun

    Madness reigns
    In the Hall of the Mountain King, oh yeah

    His deep dark eyes keep watch on his kingdom
    And the mysteries that sleeps safe inside
    His hall, his towers of stone
    Shall not be overthrown for eternity
    It is guarded by the king
    Insanity and the power that it brings

    Madness reigns
    In the Hall of the Mountain King, oh yeah
    In the Hall of the Mountain King, oh yeah…

    Come with me, stay close by my side
    As the darkness of night closes in
    Don’t fear in the thunder it roars
    When the Mountain King calls all his children home
    To where I hid him we must run
    Refuge here, for those forever on the run

    Madness reigns, my friends…
    In the Hall of the Mountain King, oh yeah
    In the Hall of the Mountain King, oh yeah…

  7. I’m not sure the differences are as big as are being implied. “Forgetting about this year” could easily mean “don’t worry about race results this year – change the engine every race and suck up the penalties” i.e. it could indeed mean working on this year’s car, but just not caring about results. Likewise I’m not seeing a huge difference between a podium being “unrealistic” and “if we unlock potential .. fighting for … with luck”. I think there’s enough ifs and buts in the latter to not be a million miles from the former.

    Everything I’d heard though seems to say their chassis is very good – right up there with Ferrari perhaps, but they are simply so down on power that they’re hopeless on the power circuits and only moderately competitive on the twisty ones. The mystery though is why if the problem is – as stated – reliability limiting the power they can use, then why are we not seeing more reliability development (which doesn’t need tokens)? Or is this symptomatic of the deeper problems at Honda – staffing, resourcing, expertise and different timescale expectations – that other articles have hinted at?

    • I think Alonso said they would score points at Monaco and they did (though perhaps through sheer luck). Alonso wants to aim for near podium finishes by the end of year. I think Alonso and Jenson have been pretty straight forward when you read between the lines and when they are caught off guard. Boulier is doing the job he was hired to do, PR spin. It remains to be seen if Ron Dennis being back on the scene will change the culture at McLaren to his obsessive eye for detail and perfectionism (of course it may not work in the modern era of F1). He took his eyes off the F1 ball by concentrating on his ambition into turning McLaren into a billion dollar company.

      Honda’s trouble is they want to do everything inhouse and develop their engineering talent but that will take time (I think Arai has spoken about it being a decade long plan). McLaren did I think offer the teams expertise over the energy recovery problems, but I think Honda may have rebuffed them at the time. Even if Honda did sallow their pride and hired experts from outside of Japan it would still take time to solve the issues. The season is going as I expected to for McLaren. Glimmers of hope, dashed by unreliability.

      As for the problems, it does seem to be a mix of issues with the combustion chambers and ERS systems (location of the MGU-K might be in the V of the engine). Though it will be interesting to see if the rumours are true about Honda’s token use and the claim they’ve managed to gain 70 HP or so. Believe it when I see it. Who knows all the pain of 2015 might pay off in the long run. Or might we see McLaren building their own Power Units if the Honda partnership goes completely pearshaped.

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