2017 McLaren Honda now McLaren Renault?

MCL32 Analysis brought to you by TJ13 Forensics contributer Joao Lamberio

McLaren unveiled their charger for 2017 with a great deal of fanfare and tumultuous change. New rules, hope, livery, engine, boss and a new car.

Can McLaren finally rekindle their lost former glories with the newly nomenclatured MCL32?

Uniquely, the nose of the car has 4 serrated pillars which guide airflow to the splitter, which has been shortened by 100mm for 2017. The guided airflow creates a balance between front and rear downforce of the floor of the car, itself raked steeply in similar vein to Red Bull. Prodromou, an ex Red Bull / Adrian Newey protege left for McLaren in 2014 so no surprises to see this ideology continued.
The serrated theme continues for the MCL32, with the rear wing endplates and floor receiving the same treatment. Dealing with all the dirty air from the tyres as well as conditioned flow from the front of the car, it’s a very complex arrangement that is all to do with tidying up the flow of air in as efficient a manner as possible.
The bargeboard is another area where many teams have invested heavily in, and McLaren are no exception. The area is critical to energise the flow of air around the car, with McLaren’s version being visibly larger than the competition.
Plenty of detail has gone into the front wing, which is an evolved version of 2016’s to fit 2017 regulations.
The Honda engine is almost completely all new, and no stone has been left unturned in the search for more firepower. Risky, given their previous form. Yusuke Hasegawa admits it’s a high risk design, and if testing from is anything to go by, Honda and McLaren are in trouble early doors.
We are already hearing Eric Boullier speaking of “maximum pressure” on the relationship, with the car suffering a number of ignominious issues from electrical, right down to oil tank shape. It’s testing, these things happen. But both parties are within a hairs breadth of invoking the others ire.
With the amount of change McLaren have undertaken over the last 3 years, would changing an engine supplier be another to contemplate this very season?
Losing Mercedes, title sponsors, Hamilton, Martin Whitmarsh, Ron Dennis, Paddy Lowe, Jenson Button along with high tier prize funds, can McLaren afford not be with Honda in 2017?
£80 million plus free engines is an offer McLaren couldn’t refuse.
With a car that looks well developed, the lure of paying for a power unit may be too hard to resist. Mercedes would flat out deny a competitor their wares, regardless of their previous relationship. Ferrari would baulk for the same reason, but McLaren-Ferrari has a devilish ring to it. Renault however, may just be up McLaren’s street should Honda find themselves surplus to requirements.
How would a Renault powered Honda fair?
Interesting times at Woking!

9 responses to “2017 McLaren Honda now McLaren Renault?

  1. You said it. Honda gives them 80 million plus free engines.
    Lossing that would cost 100 million or more.
    McLaren is having difficulty finding a ‘decent’ title sponsor. Let alone one that is willing to bring something in the region of that 100 million.

    McLarens only way put is Honda quitting, breaching contract and paying for that.
    Otherwise they’re convicted to each other…

  2. Great piece Joao.
    I dont think renault is the best option. Im not a honda fan but let’s be honest. At honda Macca is first in line. If they do get sauber next year, it’ll still be Macca who is the A client. All upgrades will be first in their cars. These have been difficult years, and there is one in the making just now. But quiting might be the wrong solution. Too shortsighted if they do it, perhaps. What option do they have? Lure audi in for engines? Then they’re right back where the were 2 years ago.

  3. The reason McLaren went with Honda was because they knew they couldn’t beat Mercedes being a customer of theirs. If they went with Renault, they would not only have to beat the factory team, they would have to beat Red Bull. Realistically purchasing Renaults consigns them to second place at best, which is a fine aim for someone like Torro Rosso, but unacceptable for McLaren

      • Which is why the current hybrids are killing F1. They are too complex, too expensive to design and manufacture, and if you produce a dud like Honda has, you risk losing your reputation globally. And contrary to what Todt says – they aren’t road relevant. It’s no wonder that no other car manufacturers want anything to do with F1.

        • Also if you produce a dud, you can’t drag yourself out of the hole by testing. At least the stupid token rules are gone, but they are still limited to 4? units this year. At least in the old days you could go and blow up 10 engines over the weekend and learn a thing or two without worrying about penalties

  4. Pingback: McLaren Renault? | BWOAH Racing Acid·

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