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Brown admits future with Honda was on the rocks after pre-season

  • Published on 15 Sep 2017 17:36
  • comments 7
  • By: Fergal Walsh

McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown admits that McLaren started to doubt its future with Honda after pre-season earlier this year. On Friday, the Woking based squad officially confirmed that it was splitting from the Japanese manufacturer after the 2017 season.

McLaren will now take up a three-year engine deal with Renault, who will also supply its works team and Red Bull. Tensions between McLaren and Honda have been growing all season after three years of underperforming and disappointing results.

"I don't think there was a specific tipping point, other than we knew we were in trouble in pre-season testing," said Brown. "We needed to improve upon our 2016 results, so we knew we were in trouble then. We've spent quite a bit of time, most of it in the public domain, trying to find ways to get Honda competitive with us. We ultimately couldn't get there in the end, but it's great that they're staying in the sport."

"I want to thank a lot of people, because this has been quite a public process, involved a lot of people, and required a lot of cooperation to get the outcome that I think was best for the sport," he continued. "Starting with the McLaren fans, they've been unbelievably supportive as we've been through a difficult three years. I'm looking forward to next year. We're very excited to be partnering with Renault and all the work that Cyril [Abiteboul] and his team put in."

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (7)

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  • Barron

    Posts: 625

    "We knew we were in trouble during pre/season testing". There it is right there. You don't come back from that.

    • + 0
    • Sep 15 2017 - 19:07
  • "but it's great that they're staying in the sport". Satire spotted!

    • + 0
    • Sep 15 2017 - 21:40
    • I sort of think they mean it. At best, they will benefit from Honda limiting an enemy. At worst, Honda will find their sweet spot, and they could switch back after 2021. Assuming they even can revert to them at this rate.

      • + 0
      • Sep 15 2017 - 21:50
  • It was clear early on it just wasn't to be

    • + 0
    • Sep 15 2017 - 23:27
  • RogerF1

    Posts: 501

    I can't help feeling there is a fundamental design weakness in the Honda engine? Last year they were hinting on turbo size but it must go beyond that. They've done a good job to cover up the source of the deficiency. Turbo speed, energy recovery efficiency, power storage or just lack of ICE 'grunt'? Problem being no one else stands still while they catch up. Yes they are up on last year but so are all the others. I still hope they get there but have doubts having effectively not closed the gap in 3 years.

    • + 0
    • Sep 16 2017 - 00:46
  • reg

    Posts: 162

    I think Honda's design problem relates to a lack of torque, not out and out bhp.
    I think this comes from their motorcycle heritage, it also affected Yamaha & Suzuki in the past.
    Having owned several Hondas and still do, they make beautiful engines, smooth, quiet, rev like mad, rev easily too, but are hopeless at lugging around where torque matters, constantly need to change down. Its the torque that pulls an F1 car through and out of a corner and into the start of a straight and this is precisely where the Honda engine seems to lack power, enabling other cars to power past very early into a straight, with no help from DRS

    • + 0
    • Sep 16 2017 - 10:11
  • Barron

    Posts: 625

    Torque is dictated by rod length to bore ratio. All F1 V6 are over square and thus have the same torque characteristics. The turbo rather negates any advantage you might get building a "torque monster". I think Honda's fundamental flaw is that they have to things 'their own way'. When Honda made details of their V10 & V8 program public, it was apparent that they had serious problems with valve train geometry and they were not producing similar hp figures to their competitors (sound familiar?) The reliability and drive-ability wasn't there either, so Reg suggesting a motorcycle philosophy may be close to the mark. It is the engineering design philosophy that has continued to dog Honda. It's quite ironic that the Japanese gained a reputation for copying Western ideas, and yet Honda got itself in this situation by NOT emulating Ferrari & Mercedes in the new PU era as they should have done. They went they're own way and this is the result.

    • + 0
    • Sep 16 2017 - 12:44

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