McLaren has made a big step forward
Button likes what Podromou has done at McLaren this year.
“You can probably see his influence with the way the car looks and the way the ride height is with the car,” Button told ESPN. “Prod is coming in at a very difficult time and if he’d came in two years ago then last year would have been a lot more competitive. Now it’s very difficult to see how we have improved with the car balance and its speed, but it’s definitely there.”
Praise indeed from the man who’s future with the team and indeed F1, was very much in question not so long ago. That said, Jenson is now intimating he’ll be around in F1 for 2017 given the chance.
“The guys back at the factory are working harder than ever to improve, in terms of aerodynamics and taking weight out of areas of the car that are quite heavy, so I personally feel there are more new parts coming onto the car than ever before.”
Always popular with the team, Button seems to relish all the new bits and pieces on his MP4-30 but admits….
“I think there is a good atmosphere in terms of seeing improvement on the car, which is important for them to feel that they are needed, but it also still hurts when you finish a race a lap and a half down. But we all go through it together and we’ve all got to help each other through these difficult times.”
Yet all is not well at McLaren and the question is how long both drivers will continue to tow the party line. Here’s what Fernando has to say…
Alonso makes the big 250th GP
Russian GP will be a landmark race for Fernando as it’s his 250th race in F1. Makes you wonder if he left out a crucial numerical digit after ‘GP’ 😉
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) October 5, 2015
Although Sochi will be his 250th race, technically there is an argument for this coming GP to be only his 248th start. Can anyone tell the court why?
Horner convinced Renault are 2 to 3 years behind AND their public spat hasn’t put off manufacturers supplying Red Bull
Christian spoke to Sky Sports about the recent ‘letter of intent’ given to the court regarding the purchase of Lotus.
“There’s really only two engines out there that you can compete for grand prix victories with and, unfortunately, Renault have fallen behind that. It looks like it’s going to be at least two to three years before they can be in a position to compete again.
As a paying customer, we can’t afford to wait that long.”
In essence he doesn’t believe Lotus will be at the pointy end if Renault go through with their acquisition.
Also Spice Boy Horner doesn’t believe Red Bull’s public spat with Renault will have dissuaded alternative suppliers from bailing them out.
“I doubt it. Perhaps we have been guilty of being honest, whether that is my comments or Adrian Newey’s comments or Helmut Marko’s or most important of all Dietrich [Mateschitz]’s as he is paying the bill at the end of the day.
I don’t believe that would have an impact on influencing any other supplier.”
When we consider the very real possibility that Red Bull will be eating a very massive slice of PU humble pie soon, this episode will make for interesting retrospective reading in the coming weeks!
Honda misery set to continue into 2016
‘Don’t expect anything more from Honda this year,’ was the message going out post-Japan following Fernando Alonso’s incendiary radio remarks about his “GP2 engine”.
And Honda has finally admitted there will be no GP wins or big step-changes in performance this year.
The problem is, the Honda turbo compressor is too small – part of that ‘size zero’ concept – and cannot be made to run fast enough to compensate in terms of creating enough heat to give the ERS-H something to work with.
But whether the Japanese manufacturer can make a breakthrough in this area next season depends on what happens with the engine homologation regulations. As we know, the FIA can be pretty wooly on such matters and probably haven’t yet decided amongst themsleves.
However, as things currently stand, the engine token system reverts in 2016 to how it was in 2014. i.e. tokens cannot be spent during the season. The engine should be homologated by the 28th February.
If the new Honda compressor – on which the whole competitiveness of the engine essentially relies – is not ready in time for the homologation date, then McLaren-Honda potentially faces another full season of woeful performance with the current inadequately-dimensioned compressor design.
MacHonda did attempt to deliver an engine/chassis combination design based around a tiny rear end. Of all the 2015 cars, it is without doubt the most tightly packaged of all in this area.
This of course creates the potential for a significant aerodynamic advantage. The more tightly-waisted that coke bottle profile of the lower bodywork can be made, the faster the air will be induced into passing over the downforce-generating devices at the back of the car.
Also, the faster the air over the ‘brake ducts’ and inside the rear tyres, over the top of the diffuser (drawing harder on the air coming through the diffuser), the more downforce will be created.
So clearly, the most obvious route to miniaturisation of the whole engine/turbo package was to make the compressor smaller.
What is interesting is that like Mercedes, Honda opted to split the turbine from the compressor but stopped short of moving the compressor to the very front of the engine, where the Merc unit resides. Instead, it was made small enough to sit within the vee of the engine. This necessarily limited its power-producing – and therefore heat-generating – potential, but only if it ran at the same speed as a conventional compressor.
Honda was confident it could spin the turbine and compressor and the shaft that links them at speeds well in excess of 130,000rpm. And at this speed, the PU produces comparable power and heat to the bigger conventional compressors in the other engines turning at less than 120,000rpm.
The philosophy of MacHonda was to have their cake and eat it, with a smaller size unit – but comparable power.
Whilst a good idea, this concept predicated Honda being able to achieve something that no-one else had yet succeeded in doing.
The reality has been that to run the turbo at the speeds required to achieve comparable power to others running at lower speeds, the turbine/compressor either destroyed itself or the ERS-H unit which sits between the turbine and compressor.
Honda have subsequently discovered to achieve a modicum of reliability, they have had to run the turbo at speeds no higher than those of a more conventionally-sized unit.
Is F1 losing its soul?
“There’s an old song called ‘You Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Until You Lose It)’. The warning signs are there,” says Allan McNish
“All investments that were not deemed absolutely necessary would be abandoned or delayed”
These are the words of VW’s Matthias Mueller whilst being interviewed by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
One can’t help but feel this could include the two team WEC program next year. If this were to be the case, there would be even less options for disgruntled F1 drivers.
Will RoGro miss his Lotus?
He may find the silky smooth Ferrari PU in the Haas car a little less grunty than his Mercedes from this year.
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“I had to drive with only one eye open as the camera was blocking my other eye, quite tricky” di Grassi