McLaren once again disappointed by Honda.


I bet you can’t find a single happy face, at McLaren- Honda currently. Honda seems to have massive problems with their all new engine, for the 2017 season. After replacing the engine in their car during last night, they are currently aborting their day. The engine in Stoffel Vandoorne’s car decided it had enough!

Yesterday Fernando Alonso managed 29 laps with his car. Today, after the exact same number of laps, Vandoorne’s car died too. But that doesn’t mean the job is done. Oh no, for the mechanics it doesn’t seem to stop. For the second time in 24 hours Mclaren’s grease monkeys are replacing the engine in their car.

Honda’s V6 turbo seemed to be having oil problems yesterday, effectively cutting Alonso’s time in the car to a bare minimum. Honda blames this on their ‘all new’ oil tank, or rather the shape of it. Not only is it smaller than last year’s, but it has a different shape too. Reports from earlier this week saying that Honda has gone for a radical design seem to be true, after all.

Honda tried to tackle the problem during the night shift, but now it seems that was only a small patch to try to stop the bleeding. As things look now they are in need of a whole redesigning, of the oil tank. Speak about a major setback…

But the worst has yet to come. It seems now that the problem of the second test day isn’t down to a problem with the oil tank! Honda themselves are not giving any comment, at the moment, as to what exactly did break. But it seems that the Honda RA617H has more than one little problem. The second engine blow out means Honda currently only has one (spare) engine left in Spain. Apparently the Japanese manufacturer is flying a new one in as we speak. An attempt to survive the fourth day of testing?

The German ‘Auto, Motor und Sport’ are reporting that Honda is down on power, compared to their rivals.  Which makes it even worse for both Alonso and Vandoorne, because it seems that McLaren (this time) built a decent car. Even with times of 1:24,852 (for Alonso) and 1:25,201 (for Vandoorne), both drivers seemed to be very positive about the handling.

Furthermore is the MCL32 model currently in Spain only a basic model to see if it is comparable to the data gathered in the wind tunnel and CDF simulations. McLaren engineers are promising massive changes before the the first Grand Prix in Australia. Question is: Can Honda change their game too, on such a short notice?

13 responses to “McLaren once again disappointed by Honda.

  1. These problems should have shown up while dyno testing (including corner effects on oilflow). How can you bring an engine that breaks down with two seperate issues before it has completed 5 fast laps in a row? And from what I hear it was ran in a kind of safe mode, so it was not at full power and not creating maximum heat (to cool down). Fortunately it is just F1, so the money that is being burned at the moment is not so much….

  2. Although I laughed at the many who proclaimed Honda engine gurus, I certainly wished them success.
    F1 needs several successful engine suppliers

  3. People look at Honda engines in F1 through rose coloured glasses and think of the days of Williams and McLaren in the mid to late 1980’s. That was a long time ago. Honda since then haven’t produced anything notable. From a marketing / PR stand point this is quickly turning into a disaster. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Honda exit F1 after this year if they can’t get it right.

  4. Not sure I buy the ‘oil tank’ explanation – an oil tank wrecks two power units? Back in 2015 Honda got into trouble with turbo seals that took a long time to sort out. This time they they have a new Merc-style split turbo that reportedly took Mercedes a long time in development to get right. My money says that it is turbo seals again and that they did not get the turbo design right first time! The ‘oil tank’ is likely a smokescreen to deflect attention for other areas to reduce embarrasment.

      • A Mclaren-Mercedes was powering down the final straight at Hockenheim prior to entry into the stadium.

        It erupted in a smoke ball so severe it blinded pilots!! Bits and pieces of conrods, pistons, engine block etc were strewn across the tarmac.

        In commentary Murray Walker mused abiut what excuse Mercedes would use this time. The official line was a hydraulic leak had stopped the car.

        Murray commented that it was easy to see as the leak had covered the track…

    • Agreed, if the engine is being starved of oil,that’s bad…If the problem is a feed to the turbo..That’s a conundrum..If it’s a total oil pressure failing due to engine/turbo seals then that’s a disaster. These things should have been ironed out during dyno work, if you have g acting on the reservoir then surely they installed baffles or even a smaller tank with no expansion area.
      I did some work for a chap who had a rear diff doing the same thing. During heavy corners the oil pickup could not cope and so the wheel bearings began to fail.
      Looks like the 4 engine rule will have its first taker.

  5. I will never tire of watching McLaren failing (even though it’s really Honda failing to be fair). I guess I’ll get one more season of watching them in the back of the grid :p

  6. Honda web site from more than a year ago has videos of an engine on a simulator dyno running a racetrack simulation. Seems completely bizarre that with than kind of testing going on potentially 24/7 they could be so far off the mark.

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