At present, Honda doesn’t necessarily have the most marketable product in Formula 1. Their current partners McLaren are continually pinning their lack of performance – and quite rightly so – on the Honda power unit’s deficiencies and the Japanese manufacturer has a history of overstating the value of engine upgrades.
Regardless, certain teams are willing to consider Honda power as an option for 2018 and beyond. Sauber had even signed a deal with Honda prior to the appointment of Frederic Vasseur as the team principal, who had other ideas and subsequently terminated the deal. Now, it would seem that Toro Rosso is considering Honda power for 2018.
While it may sound bizarre, such a tie-up would make a lot of sense.
It’s crazy to think that today’s chequered flag marks a quarter distance in 2017’s winter test programme. Melbourne seems an age away to fans but not for teams anxious to reach the bottom of their tick lists prior to making the trip down-under.
For McLaren’s sake, I hope their to-do-list is decidedly short, as limited running today as a result of yet more power unit woes has once again considerably hampered their progress. Honda left with egg on their face and embarrassing parallels to 2015 are already being drawn.
Here are FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED on day two of testing…
The reassembly of one of the sports most successful partnerships was meant to be the springboard that a struggling McLaren outfit needed to return to pre-eminence. While the first races on Honda’s return to the sport were always set to be filled with trials and tribulations, few could have predicted the extent of their troubles at the mid-way point of their first season in the V6 Hybrid era.
Just 17 points on the board, from ten races plagued by unreliability, the first half of the season has certainly been a character building experience.
Honda are certainly not unfamiliar with the pressure-cooker that is the Formula 1 paddock. Their struggles to adapt to life in the post-2014 formula has seen both them, and their partners at McLaren, face a barrage of difficult questions. This barrage has become more potent of late, as the team continue to languish towards the tail-end of the grid. While Honda have the resources and expertise required to win races and championships, such a turn-around will not simply be the work of a moment and McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier, has suggested that Honda should seek outside assistance. However, with such a proposition being a departure from typical practices at Honda, Boullier’s suggestions could be shelved.
Christian Horner called for Strategy Group productivity earlier in the week and in Wednesday’s meeting at Biggin Hill, Horner was seemingly granted his wish. The Strategy Group have announced a number of changes to the sport, some of which will have an impact on the current campaign. One of these “quick-fixes” will come in the form of reduced driver aids, largely centered around the electronic systems which help a driver launch the car at the start of a race. The FIA have stated that the changes have “a particular emphasis on race starts” to ensure that drivers are “back in full control of the car”.
McLaren and Honda need no introduction. Perfect partners since the first lap in 1988, the association produced one of the greatest machines the sport has ever seen in the MP4/4. Brought to life by Steve Nichols and Gordon Murray, the car took all but one race victory in the hands of Alain Prost and eventual champion Ayrton Senna. The first McLaren Honda certainly set the bar high. However, with one of the most technically advanced powerunits ever constructed providing the MP4-30’s roar, the partnership has reconvened and so far missed the sparkle in performance to match that of the paintwork.