Honda F1 nightmare set to continue

mclaren honda glass

Earlier this month, Honda revealed they had been forced to up their budget for 2016 and were making certain fundamental alterations to the architecture of their F1 power unit.

Honda forced to up their budget

The eagerly anticipated reunion between McLaren and Honda failed to live up to expectations in 2015. Not only was the Honda engine persistently around 2 seconds off the front running pace, but from 38 possible race starts, the two cars failed to finish 14 times and rarely made it out of the first qualifying session.

Again the expectation is high given the information Honda have released on their 2016 power unit, yet the latest news is that with just days to go before the first test in Barcelona, Honda are having significant reliability problems according to Spanish publication Marca. Whilst Honda’s 2016 F1 power unit is more powerful than its predecessor, it is still highly unreliable says Marco Canseco. Part of Honda’s solution to the lack of power last season has been to increase the size of the turbo, however, the latest and most intense dyno testing has exposed persistent turbo failure. The issue facing Honda again is that of overheating and this despite the RPM of the turbo blade being reduced from 120,000 to just 100,000 for 2016.

Fernando Alonso is set to take the wheel of the McHonda MP4-31 for the first day of testing, so in just five days’ time we will see whether the team are nursing the car in terms of comparative pace, or whether a raging inferno sees Fernando’s Barcelona test nightmare’s return.

24 responses to “Honda F1 nightmare set to continue

    • I encourage people to take a look at this thread on F1technical, lots more detail about what the state of the PU could be there –
      http://www.f1technical.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=18874&start=2730
      Frankly it does not take a genius to work out that Honda are likely to still be working through
      problems with it’s Power Unit. I’m expecting Honda to have improved the efficiency of the power unit aka ICE and ERS working properly but the new Turbo Charger and compressor might well be unreliable to start with. Basically it’ll be like the good old days of fast but unreliable F1 cars for McHonda. Progress for McLaren and Honda will be making it into Q3 on a regular basis whilst working through the gremlins.

    • My dear friend, Richard Cranium, I cordially suggest that you go forth and multiply – you’re making the place look untidy.

      Off you go – there’s a good chap then…

    • @BDP
      Disappointed with where TJ13 sources the starting-off points for its articles and opinion pieces…?
      …unwilling to be ‘part of the solution’ by writing/contributing to a ‘higher’ journalistic standard…?
      …then simply start your own F1 blog.
      Seriously.

      • Indeed dobzizzle. The point of a number of articles is simply to start discussion. During the winter there is little ‘new under the sun’ to report…
        Further, probably 99% of articles written these days about Formula One do not have primary sources… TJ13 does not simply republish others primary source quotes… but seeks to provide context and opinion on these matters.

    • I think that this is very clever ‘expectation management’ from the Honda PR machine. Some people have been bigging them up recently with reports of them finding an extra 200bhp & even Mercedes saying that they see them as a real threat – Really !!!

  1. I really hope Honda have gone for out and out power at the expense of reliability. Unreliable components can be improved on under regs with zero token use. Components not giving max power are limited by tokens, so go for mega power and fix reliability as you go.
    I expect Honda to up their budget for 2016 as the 2017 engine regs allow development so surely during 2016 Honda will be developing a PU for 2017 that is the most flexible in terms of development?

    I just hope the new McHonda is fast, ideally reliable but start 2016 with a fast car and develop the reliability. That would be something worth watching.

    • I believe the saying is “its easier to make a fast but fragile car reliable, than a reliable but slow one fast” I also hope this is the situation

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    • Indeed. If they fail to finish the first few races and get a podium finish at the end of the season, I would consider their season a (relative) success.

  2. As much as I love the Radial Axial turbo design that Honda seemed to have adopted, they certainly seem out of their element with that in practice. I wonder if they can leverage the mgu-h to keep that turbo at the exact RPM they design the bearings/cooling for and that would lead to fewer failures……otherwise I agree, if you are going to fail anyway, ditch reliability, go for max power. Make quali interesting and reliability will eventually come. Its harder to make this more powerful than make them last.

  3. Honda made huge improvements last year, in an environment where hardly any development is allowed. ers deployment was their main problem, and that might be fixed for this year. also lets not forget that McLaren had a great chassis last year, in the top 4 bymost analysts, possibly top 3. the team could easily be a top 4 team this year, and all signs point to them passing Renault in the power game. Honda came in late, don’t forget Mercedes started their development for this engine era back in 2011… that is why they are ahead, well.. that and not much development allowed in season and the stupid engine tokens system.

  4. If this article is correct and Honda cannot find solutions for the Turbo, that would be a major disappointment, even as a Lewis fan. F1 is only richer when McHonda has fine form.

  5. I guess that the dyno is the best place to blow a few turbos. Better than finding out on the first lap of a test.

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