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Old 27 Mar 2015, 11:43 (Ref:3520281)   #31
JacobP
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Originally Posted by littleman View Post
The Honda predicament reminds me of the Footwork Arrows-Porsche disaster of 1991.

Based on the fabulous performance of the previous TAG badged Porsche motor
everyone in the paddock wanted to get their hands on the German companies new 3512 V12 engine.

It proved to be an absolute dog of a motor, resulting in Porsche limping away from F1 never to return again.Is Honda going to follow the same path..........?
It's an interesting and quite scary analogy. Of course, when I learned of Porsche's disaster first, my first thought was: "well, what did they expect from recycling the old V6 engine and then partnering with Footwork? Totally predictable."

What's truly shocking about the current McLaren-Honda alliance is that McLaren is supposed to be grand engineering powerhouse, and Honda has a year to observe and learn from the turbo V6 power units in action. I remember that some people from Ferrari camp were making noise that Honda is gaining an unfair advantage by entering a year after everyone switched to new engines. By now, it's clear that McLaren's current dry spell is a lot worse than McLaren's dry spell post-1993.
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Old 27 Mar 2015, 11:59 (Ref:3520282)   #32
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The Honda Mclaren partnership in its first year isn't unlike the first year Mercedes Mclaren partnership. Mclaren were qualifying in the mid teens and they were fairly perilously poor. The difference between then and now, is that now we've got a development straight jacket that would preclude any leaps of form.

I don't expect the relationship to rupture though. Mclaren will loathe to go back to a customer engine. Whether Honda will think the better of it, is less certain.
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Old 27 Mar 2015, 12:16 (Ref:3520285)   #33
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...
Based on the fabulous performance of the previous TAG badged Porsche motor
...
Other way around, Porsche re-badged TAG.
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Old 27 Mar 2015, 20:58 (Ref:3520595)   #34
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Other way around, Porsche re-badged TAG.
Umm, no. He had it right the first time. TAG funded (hence TAG naming rights), but designed and built by Porsche. It was a sore point with McLaren and TAG that they funded the entire thing but Porsche got so much (deserved) good press without spending any of their money. Running the engine in a 956 prototype test mule and not keeping it secret didn't help!

The Footwork/Porsche V12 was failure for various reasons (I think a fair bit being lack of funding). Porsche built a V10 for Footwork after the V12 mess, but Footwork decided to move on. It's my understanding that the V10 was meeting its weight and performance goals.

I like how this thread has almost no content on McLaren and Honda. I can see some slight parallels with the Porsche V12, but not much. The biggest differences being team sizes, budget and challenges of the current era vs back in the day.

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Old 27 Mar 2015, 23:45 (Ref:3520666)   #35
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Originally Posted by JacobP View Post
It's an interesting and quite scary analogy. Of course, when I learned of Porsche's disaster first, my first thought was: "well, what did they expect from recycling the old V6 engine and then partnering with Footwork? Totally predictable."

What's truly shocking about the current McLaren-Honda alliance is that McLaren is supposed to be grand engineering powerhouse, and Honda has a year to observe and learn from the turbo V6 power units in action. I remember that some people from Ferrari camp were making noise that Honda is gaining an unfair advantage by entering a year after everyone switched to new engines. By now, it's clear that McLaren's current dry spell is a lot worse than McLaren's dry spell post-1993.
McLaren are notoriously formal, Honda are notoriously formal, both need approval for anything to happen from top management.

As they say a Camel is a racehorse designed by committee, well, the 2015 McHonda is an F1 designed by committee!
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 08:52 (Ref:3520789)   #36
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Honda has a year to observe and learn from the turbo V6 power units in action.
Please explain how they had a year to learn. What happened was they had a year to build a PU while others raced, they could not for instance halt that design, build and R&D to watch the other cars and see what happened. Early 2014 or late 2013 they set in stone their design and had to live with the result, not say in October 2014 we can see where others went wrong and we can now design and build to avoid those mistakes. In fact I doubt that they had any advantage at all as they could not walk up to Renault or MB and ask them what the problems were.
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 09:14 (Ref:3520795)   #37
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Please explain how they had a year to learn. What happened was they had a year to build a PU while others raced, they could not for instance halt that design, build and R&D to watch the other cars and see what happened. Early 2014 or late 2013 they set in stone their design and had to live with the result, not say in October 2014 we can see where others went wrong and we can now design and build to avoid those mistakes. In fact I doubt that they had any advantage at all as they could not walk up to Renault or MB and ask them what the problems were.
This is an interesting point. So, really, compared to how the other PSU manufacturers were doing 12 months ago, Honda are flying!
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 09:16 (Ref:3520797)   #38
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Please explain how they had a year to learn. What happened was they had a year to build a PU while others raced, they could not for instance halt that design, build and R&D to watch the other cars and see what happened. Early 2014 or late 2013 they set in stone their design and had to live with the result, not say in October 2014 we can see where others went wrong and we can now design and build to avoid those mistakes. In fact I doubt that they had any advantage at all as they could not walk up to Renault or MB and ask them what the problems were.
Although your fundamental argument is correct that the Honda unit would probably have been designed in 2013 or earlier, I am sure that Honda would have had at least one "observer" in place within the McLaren personnel to keep his/their eyes on the Mercedes unit and to report back to Japan.

However, as McLaren, as acknowledged by the team, were always at least one "development" behind Mercedes and other teams using their PSUs, it might be difficult to gauge what if any benefit they might have derived from their observations, and if indeed they would have been able to incorporate any ideas garnered from the Mercedes' units.
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 09:21 (Ref:3520801)   #39
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Although your fundamental argument is correct that the Honda unit would probably have been designed in 2013 or earlier, I am sure that Honda would have had at least one "observer" in place within the McLaren personnel to keep his/their eyes on the Mercedes unit and to report back to Japan.

However, as McLaren, as acknowledged by the team, were always at least one "development" behind Mercedes and other teams using their PSUs, it might be difficult to gauge what if any benefit they might have derived from their observations, and if indeed they would have been able to incorporate any ideas garnered from the Mercedes' units.
In other words they did not gain anything. Are you serious when you assert that Honda had opportunity to gain from McLaren's use of the MB motor? I doubt that Honda would have even seen one in the metal last year.
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 09:36 (Ref:3520804)   #40
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Still the slowest car excluding manor, but lets hope they can improve in the race, fingers crossed
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 09:46 (Ref:3520810)   #41
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In other words they did not gain anything. Are you serious when you assert that Honda had opportunity to gain from McLaren's use of the MB motor? I doubt that Honda would have even seen one in the metal last year.
I would be dumbfounded if they didn't, and Mercedes are not stupid; they would have been well aware of the possibility, and would have attempted to "hide" as much of the technology and philosophy behind the PSU from "spying" eyes. This is the reason that McLaren had to agree to running the older versions during the year.

Don't forget, McLaren would have had engineers from Honda in situ at Woking last year to prepare from this year's assault on the Championship, and it may well be that the "eyes" that Honda put in place to monitor the Mercedes' units could have been engineers from any country in the world, not even from Japan.

Why do you think that the teams erect screens around their garages? I can assure you that it is not to stop the paparazzi getting pictures for tomorrow's newspapers (although there may be an element of that) but to stop rival teams from spying. Teams will sometimes go to extra-ordinary extremes to find out what makes the opposition's car go well, and that is why they try to stop the cars being photographed from viewing places above as well as opposite the pits/garages.
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 09:58 (Ref:3520813)   #42
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[QUOTE=Casper;3520801]In other words they did not gain anything./QUOTE]

That is not what I wrote, nor is that what I meant.

All I said is that it might be difficult to accurately measure what benefit was gained by Honda, who are extremely unlikely to announce that they were able to use knowledge harvested from the Mercedes' PSUs to produce their own unit.

But I am damned sure that they will have been able to circumvent some of the problems that the teams had in the early part of 2014 because of what they observed, but are now encountering difficulties of their own which may well be caused by issues that are totally unconnected with problems that the other teams faced last year. And what's more, we will likely never know, and does it matter any way?
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Old 28 Mar 2015, 11:20 (Ref:3520859)   #43
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[QUOTE=Mike Harte;3520813]
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In other words they did not gain anything./QUOTE]

That is not what I wrote, nor is that what I meant.

All I said is that it might be difficult to accurately measure what benefit was gained by Honda, who are extremely unlikely to announce that they were able to use knowledge harvested from the Mercedes' PSUs to produce their own unit.

But I am damned sure that they will have been able to circumvent some of the problems that the teams had in the early part of 2014 because of what they observed, but are now encountering difficulties of their own which may well be caused by issues that are totally unconnected with problems that the other teams faced last year. And what's more, we will likely never know, and does it matter any way?
You would have to be very naive to think that MB did not take measures to ensure Honda gained nothing from last year. Equally McLaren would not want anything resembling the Ferrari fiasco to happen so they sure as hell wouldn't give Honda anything.

My point in all this just to clear things up is that every man and his dog is saying that Honda had a year to watch and learn when in reality they had no such thing. It didn't happen and couldn't happen.
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Old 30 Mar 2015, 15:32 (Ref:3521874)   #44
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My point in all this just to clear things up is that every man and his dog is saying that Honda had a year to watch and learn when in reality they had no such thing. It didn't happen and couldn't happen.
Clear up? Didn't and couldn't? I think you are the only person I have seen (this forum or even the F1 press) who doesn't think Honda hasn't been watching and learning during 2014!!!

I don't want to downplay the effort to build a 2014+ spec F1 PSU. I think it was middle 2011 in which they were settling on V6 hybrid and clearly the engine manufactures likely had general ideas of what solutions would look like at that time. So that is a good 2+ years. But also remember that Honda announced their entry as a F1 PSU supplier in early 2013. So that is almost 2 years ago. So roughly the same amount of time, but with Honda offset by a year.

So lets say that Honda had mostly settled on an architecture in early 2014 (a year after announcing entry) and then we see the Mercedes dominance with a large amount of talk about the configuration of the Mercedes split turbo. I am sure that Honda was paying attention and thinking "should we do that?" If they felt it was an advantage, they could have made that adjustment. It might have been painful, but they could have done it if they wanted (and had the budget).

Yes, Honda would have been deeply invested in a design by early 2014 and it is hard to make changes late in the game, but it is not impossible. Just look at Porsche in WEC (which has a much more open engine spec than F1). They had some serious vibration issues with their V4 turbo very late in the design (to the point it was in the car and being tested) and did some relatively quick (weeks or months) rework to create new crank, cams, etc. And going into 2015, I believe they made a number of changes to what had been the 2014 engine. Granted they are not frozen like F1, but the point is there is time to make changes. And Honda was not operating under a freeze during the 2014 season.

Regarding Honda's partnership with McLaren and McLaren't previous experience with Mercedes. For the sake of argument, lets say Honda didn't have an opportunity to physically examine a Mercedes PSU, but there is absolutely no reason to believe they didn't extensively debrief those who did at McLaren. I am sure that NDA prevents a number of things from going straight to Honda, but McLaren can't forget things they learned along the way. They would have their own data and simulator work that would have defined things like operating range (torque curves), efficiency, cooling requirements, etc. The list goes on and on. All of this helpful to Honda.

So to say that Honda didn't or couldn't watch and learn is just crazy talk. They may have been hampered by budget (no money to do last minute rework), or have looked at other solutions and decided their own was still the best, or various other scenarios, but they absolutely were paying attention to what the competition was doing and adjusting when they were able and/or felt it was appropriate to do so.

Lastly it is clearly not all a perfect scenario for Honda. While they did get to observe and learn they were also a year behind experience wise. So while they were running engines on dynos, everyone else had engines in cars on track. Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault were fixing mechanical reliability issues (permissible even under the freeze) and adjusting software over the course of 2014 based upon race conditions. The details of those tweaks would probably always remain hidden for someone like McLaren given they had already announced their new Honda partnership. Another down side for Honda is that they had walked away from F1 engine design in 2008. So they have to have taken a hit by being out of the F1 engine game a bit even if the 2014+ spec was mostly new to everyone.

The bottom line is that this type of work does not happen in a vacuum! The only way this could work as you describe is if Honda was to be completely incompetent and ignored everything that was going on around them and I don't believe they did ignore or are incompetent. I do believe they could have been better prepared. I do mention budget above. The size of Honda's development budget would dictate how flexible (i.e. rework based upon what they see others doing successfully) they could be during the 2014 time frame. Time will tell if the 2015 Honda PSU is a diamond in the rough or a dog.

I think there might be some glimmers of hope. While both cars did retire this past weekend, given the problems in pre-season testing, I was expecting things to be even worse. On the McLaren side of things, I do believe they have issues with the car as well.

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Old 30 Mar 2015, 17:20 (Ref:3521898)   #45
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The by product of Honda's performance is will it put off other manufacturers from entering if the combination of massively complicated technology, coupled with restricted testing and development time and a 'marketplace' already dominated by well established manufacturers makes it look rather a long, painfull and expensive exercise.

It's worth noting that Nissan pulled their radical LMP1 car from the first three rounds of the WEC whilst they grapple with the complicated engine technology.

In the 'old days' a manufacturer would build a test hack sports car to run engine test and development programmes, but this is no longer allowed.

The new engine regs were created to appeal to manufacturers who want to showcase their hybrid capbilities, but if you make it so hard for them to develop the engines and make them do their testing on a GP weekend, than it will only deter others surely.

Actually this is typical of the nickle and diming regulations we have no where we fly tonnes of equipmet and hundres of personnel around the globe, only to limit engines, gearboxes and tyres when they get there...
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