Honda: ‘The worst may be behind us’


Honda will introduce an engine for Spa using some of its remaining development tokens. Honda chief, Yasuhisa Arai, explains where Honda is at.

“I am confident our reliability problems are now behind us which means we can turn our attention to increasing power.

“The most important area for us to concentrate on is the combustion.

“Current regulations require high efficiency of the combustion so we want to change the characteristic with the chamber design and intake and exhaust system layout.

“Another issue we will be addressing is reducing mechanical friction by changing the gear-train system along with the combustion.

“Not all of our upgrades will be in place for the Belgian Grand Prix; some parts will be applied for Spa and the rest during the weeks that follow.”

Arai interestingly reveals the cycle of problems Honda has been experiencing.

“If you try to harvest energy using the MGU-H, it puts a strenuous workload on the turbo.

“When the turbo is under stress, it cannot do what it is supposed to do, which is to force more air into the engine, thus leading to decreased power output.

“This is the result of one component working against the others, instead of working together.

“These types of technical chain reactions which lead to vehicle stoppage were definitely more than we calculated, or more than we envisioned.”

The reality is McLaren-Honda have over promised and under delivered, though as Renault have gone some way to demonstrate – solving reliability problems is the first step on the ladder of progressing up the grid.

The big question with 9 races to go is – whether McLaren Honda can fight for fifth place in the F1 constructor’s title

38 responses to “Honda: ‘The worst may be behind us’

  1. I think we’re being too hard on the McHonda partnership. Former driver Stefan Johansson said the last time they partnered up, It took them 5 years before they started to deliver.

    I’m not sure Alonso will be in the mood to wait 5 years though……

        • Johansson is suffering from memory loss. Honda won 4 races in their second full season. 9 in their third and constructors WC. and 9 again in their fourth with a drivers and constructors WC. By the time McLaren got the Honda engine it had been dominant for the previous 2 seasons.

          • ….yes, as I pointed out in the comments section. Williams Honda did the hard work first and McLaren benefitted from that experience Honda had gained. Heres hoping McLaren/Honda get up to speed before the end of this season…..Ive seriously had enough of watching them at the rear of the grid and failing to finish almost every race…..,unbelievable after the pre-season optimism and expectations. #:)

          • Honda are about 6 months behind schedule; we can infer from Johansson that 2015 = 1983. So, 2016 for podiums, 2017 for wins, 2018-19 to take a shot at the title and 2020 onwards to deliver for a few years before Honda quit.

            By that point, Vandoorne & Magnussen will be at their peak, like Mansell & Piquet, while Alonso and Button will look more like Rosberg & Laffite.. one more year for Button, two for Alonso, juniors in 2017 and 2018.. Maybe Manor can be Lotus?

          • He isn’t – you are forgetting Honda didn’t start their 80’s stint with McLaren, they started with Williams.

  2. I’m a big McLaren fan but i’m just getting miffed with Eric keep telling us a step forward is imminent and then not delivering.

      • I actually visited the McLaren factory in March and Eric told me to my face that we’d be winning races this year…..

        • And you believed him? Maybe he should give up racing and become a standup comedian?

          But let’s not be so cynical. Imagine what a story it would be if they do win by the end of the year? Honda will deploy 3 tokens worth about 45hp. Then you can imagine there will be a number of “reliability” upgrades that will give them a few HP more. Then who knows, maybe deploy 4 more later and win.

          One thing is certain, if unlimited testing was still there we would have had a McLaren pounding Silverstone non-stop.

          • “One thing is certain, if unlimited testing was still there we would have had a McLaren pounding Silverstone non-stop.”

            Thats the cause of Alonso’s frustrations

          • Hmm… not entirely sure that “non-stop” is correct. I’ve no problem with the “non” bit, but the second……. 🙂

          • More realistic is to think that they will use 3 tokens and then run into new problems with their new design, work on reliability issues and then by the end of the year finally being able to take advantage of those 3 tokens with a eight place in a normal race.

          • Everyone needs to remember that last year, HONDA had unlimited testing and they failed to capitalize on this opportunity, a failure that should have lead to heads rolling. To win you need to be both smart and a bit cut throat (see: mercedes illegal tire tests) – and HONDA’s lets place nice attitude isnt going to get them anywhere near a championship.

          • @ Fortis – is that Alonso’s cause for frustration? Are we all still assuming (with no evidence to back it up) that Alonso left Ferrari on his own free will?

          • Honda did underestimate, but they also started again to get a better end result. The ERS is their problem, McLaren raced a good KERS while they pulled out and handed their PR gold to Brawn/Mercedes, while paying for it at the same time.. the latest is developing people in-house rather than buying in any expertise.

        • First visit to a company then? Every corporation will tell you the same bullshit story if you visit them. How they are the best or if they aren’t (by clear evidence ) how they are on their way to becoming the best. How they only use the best people out there, with their massive motivation and enormous resources. Nothing new there.

          • There was a guy called Ratner that told it how it really was….wiped the company off the stock market and made investors sweat balls. You can’t blame Eric as he had the same crap at Lotus ,everyone remember the ‘cheques in the post’ routine? The spin that came from quantum was above anything before but he had to play the corporate game, still its one way to secure a free pit lane pass to every race… Next year I am planning to buy Manor,I fancy a trip to Monaco so pls watch this space 😇

  3. Sounds like a specific issue with the Honda turbo setup, as if they were able to declutch the turbine from the compressor side when harvesting energy, they wouldn’t have the loading issue

  4. I’m not sure I understand. When they try and harvest heat energy it puts stress on the turbocharger which reduces the output power of the engine.

    So they are trying to harvest and drive at the same time? Surely the idea is to only harvest when the engine isn’t driving the car forward?

    • Turbo is limited to 100,000rpm iirc. So you can connect the MGU-H and limit the speed by the amount of charge you take from the alternator/dyno.

      Remember you can also spool up the turbo to 100,000rpm which means no turbo lag. So really, you don’t want to harvest when off the throttle but when on the throttle and boosting at 100,000rpm.

          • Don’t Honda have a slightly different turbo design as in they use more of an type of impeller set up, rather than a a regular compressor/fan design. This is said to help the turbo spin up quicker and also move a greater volume of charge air. may their design is great as a non-harvesting arrangement, but the moment you add the MGU-H into the mix it proves not as powerful, even if it is still efficient if it doesn’t have the power to drive the charging of the MGU-H they are royally screwed. Perhaps the need to improve the combustion to not only glean the maximum from the fuel, but to alter the way, heat and speed of the exhaust gasses leaving the chamber and possibly the internal aerodynamics on its journey to the turbo and onward.

      • I guess I’d not really thought of it that way. I’d sort of assumed the recovery was from waste heat, not from the rotational energy of the turbo.

        Still, it just sounds as if they are harvesting too much which should be easy enough to solve surely? If it comes to it, do they need to harvest at all if it causes them problems – does the power to keep the turbo spinning have to come from the MGU-H or can it come from anywhere in the electrical system? There has to be a point where the losses outweigh the benefits.

        • Remember, that there is no limit on energy that can be directly harvested by the H and fed straight to the K to power the wheels (using less fuel to maintain speed), there is only a limited on the harvesting from the K into the battery pack. This is where Mercedes has got things just right and is where a lot of their advantage lies as it massively helps fuel consumption and allows them to keep the stored energy for quicker quick acceleration out of corners, cut turbo lag and to torque fill through the rev range and once the car is up to speed the H should be able to harvest away and top up the energy store as well as sending energy to K, so it’s a very important process in the operation of these new Hybrid power units. The reason there is no limit on harvesting from the H directly to the K, is because this is where the FiA wanted the innovation to happen because this bit is the real ground breaking part of these engine regs which has the potential to make massive gains for its real world applications.

  5. “the worst may be behind us” – thats the problem with these rear engined cars 🙂

    on the McHonda front I think seeing will be believing, fool me 17 times shame on me, fool me 18 times….

    looking at it from the the engine is half working side, with the stuttering performace of lotus, torro rosso and force india, 5th is still a(n unlikely) possibility, one more decent result would throw them back in the mix, realistically though they will need to hope for a bit of carnage like Hungary to elevate them to some more meaningful points, and simply managing to make it to the finish in such an event could be the deciding factor for their season results wise.

    all said, roll on 2016 🙂

  6. Validation!
    As I predicted, Honda will be bringing token upgrades to SPA.
    Now, let’s see if Ferrari and Mercedes bring their token upgrades to Italy, which would make me feel pretty damn good about my work.

    But being that Mclaren are already running mostly on their 6th and 7th PU elements for both cars, they are going to need their “new” upgraded PU to last nearly twice as long as every other team in order to avoid multiple grid penalties in the future.

    I don’t see it happening.
    Anyone want to take bets on the max number of PU elements Honda will use this year?
    They have already nearly doubled their allocation (helped a little by the FIA changing the rules for them), and we are only half way through the season.

    • Validated- bet we all knew these things at least a month ago right?

      Alright let me take my shot at predicting the most obvious things in 2015 F1.

      -Low downforce at monza
      -contract announcements at monza or the week after
      -james allison stays
      -kimi stays

      -huge promotional effort for japanese grand prix
      -podium in 2015
      -keep both drivers for 2016

      -nicole loses more hair and a few more races
      -brittany cries at least 1 more time this season on podium
      -major shake up at top of the mercedes management food chain

      ross brawn comes back in some role prior to start of 2016 practice

    • That’s the thing now, where do they introduce them? Spa no brainer, start at the back with more powerful engines. But Singapore is their best chance for points so no new engine there, but next race is Japan.. would be a good place to take another but Honda won’t like that.. so Sochi or COTA? That’s a lot of races to make these engines last.. unless they can also bring one for Monza and implement the second upgrade straight away.

  7. Is this the right time to mention Sam Michael ? Many predicted that McLaren’s problems would disappear when he left the team. I think it’s safe to say, they were wrong.
    I wonder what he’s doing now?

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