McLaren on Honda – The executive committee have now given us our marching orders.


Zak still fighting to keep Alonso

Speaking today to Reuters, Brown gave us the strongest hint yet that their friendship with Honda is now “at a fork in the road” and that management are now seriously considering divorce.

Zak has stated that the engine upgrades promised for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix were not ready and the Japanese manufacturer could not offer a firm date for delivery

He stated that the intention has and still is to win championships with Honda’s bolted into the back of their cars, there were “serious concerns” in confidence if that was now possible in a suitable time frame, Brown stating:

“Honda’s working very hard but they seem a bit lost,”

– which is the first truly negative public statement from the head of the team.

“We were only told recently that we wouldn’t have the upgrade coming (for Montreal)…and we don’t have a definitive timeline, which is concerning because the pain is great and we can’t sit around forever”

“We were eagerly awaiting this upgrade as were our drivers and it’s a big disappointment that it’s not coming. It’s not lack of effort, but they are struggling to get it to come together.”

McLaren, no doubt were waiting with baited breath for the upgrades, their record in Canada is outstanding and I am sure they wanted to show the world that their developments and loyalty to the engine manufacture to produce power and reliability are paying off.

I imagine some of Zak’s frustrations was from looking forward to building on his earlier statement this week of how well the car is operation from an aero perspective.

“The executive committee have now given us our marching orders,” said Brown “We’re not going to go into another year like this, in hope.”

“I don’t want to get into what our options are. Our preference is to win the world championship with Honda. But at some point you need to make a decision as to whether that’s achievable. And we have serious concerns”

“Missing upgrades, and upgrades not delivering to the level we were told they were going to, you can only take that so long. And we’re near our limit.”

Alonso gets a mention, perhaps indicating team priorities:

“It will all come together,” said Brown, who said there were some big decisions to make in the next 90 days with the team needing to plan for the new car and give Alonso a reason to stay.

“There’s lots of things that go into the decision and we’re entering that window now of ‘which way do you go when you come to the fork in the road’.

It was reported that Honda spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.

“Do I think you can win with a customer engine? I think you can,”

– his reply, whilst hinting at Red Bull.

Brown also hinted that for the team, is it a now a credible bet to be able to offset the financial advantage of being with Honda (at $100m) by subtracting possible (lost) FOM payments (prize money) and the reintroduction of sponsorship deals.

Watch this space.

  • SteveBarbyF1


10 responses to “McLaren on Honda – The executive committee have now given us our marching orders.

  1. It is really sad to see the state of McLaren and i believe it is thanks to the Japanese culture and the stubbornness Honda have shown in taking outside help….. what is even more shocking is that they did not learn anything from the first two years of struggle as their 2017 design was based on a mono cylinder model till few months before testing began in 2017….. i am not sure how the decision making process works there however if i was in charge i would have made sure that the complete engine was built and running on the test bench as early as possible to avoid another embarrassing year….. i could not believe my ears when i heard Hasegawa saying that our mono cylinder worked so we thought that it would be an easy task…. I mean they changed the entire design of the engine and knowing the fact the struggle they had with their first architecture how could they even fathom that a new design would be easy….. Some needs to be fired as i cannot understand how can HONDA fund the biggest blunder in Motorsports history…… I mean they have spent probably close to half a billion dollars in gathering negative publicity IN THE LAST 3 YEARS, that has no precedence in F1s history……. to me it seems like someone is doing a DELIBERATE HARAKIRI at HONDA…..

    • I guess the Porsche engine at Footwork begin 90’s comes close to a precedence. However after half a year they pulled the plug on the project and put a Honda engine in the back.

  2. “Brown also hinted that for the team, is it a now a credible bet to be able to offset the financial advantage of being with Honda (at $100m) by subtracting possible (lost) FOM payments (prize money) and the reintroduction of sponsorship deals.”

    You need to rewrite that as it doesn’t make any sense. If you meant “it is now”, and not “is it a now”, meaning McLaren can off-set the loss of money from Honda and FOM with new sponsorship – then I don’t believe it.

    The loss next year if they drop Honda are – Honda -$100M, FOM – $15M and then factor in engines from M-B at $20M. Sure they save some money when Alonso goes, but then they need to redesign from scratch their chassis and aero to make it work with the M-B engine. So McLaren next year and for a couple more years could loss $100M – $135M a year in income, and Zack “cut me and I bleed McLaren” Brown wants us to believe he can make up that money with sponsorship? Time to bring back Big Ron.

    • I can imagine that most of the other sponsors have very recently let McLaren known that they will be off the car pretty soon as performance clauses are not met. That’s his problem. Why would you put your premium company name on a car that scores 0 points? It’s a lot of money to be involved in a lot of negative news.

  3. Honda isn’t going anywhere unless Brown miraculously finds a sponsor to pony up $135 million a year to a team that are backmarkers at present. Sponsors won’t sign up just because you’re McLaren. Williams are on their way back slowly but surely and McLaren should take heed or the team will go the way of Tyrrell and Lotus.

  4. I’ve kind of forgotten – did Mclaren dump Mercedes for Honda or did Mercedes dump McLaren? Either way I don’t suppose Mercedes are too keen to resupply them. I also wonder if having refused to supply Red Bull gives RB any sort of legal case against Mercedes if they hand over PUs to Woking? Poor Brown – i think he is stuck with Honda and he should do more to encourage them rather than diss them in public!

    • Ron decided to leave Mercedes as he was not provided priority on the engine tech. His thoughts were right in that Merc. would help Merc. first, not McLaren. He was right in an engine formula but who knew Honda would choke for 3 years running.

  5. At least now Honda has publicly admitted the ICE is the weakness. Which suggests they have taken this long to figure the Mahle turbulent jet ignition concept was the missing link. Curiously, it is sort of similar to the Honda CVCC. I still find it hard to believe Honda can’t build a good ICE. I still suspect they got bad advice from their previous consultant and spent all their effort trying to find magic from the ERS which they knew little about in F1, instead of the ICE. Ross Braun thinks Honda suffers from not being in Europe, but he did say the Japanese work very hard and I imagine they will be shooting for something like the past glory days.

    If McLaren manages to get a deal with Mercedes, can Williams do a deal with Honda to be number one. And will Fernando find himself on the wrong team again…..?

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