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Old 31 Mar 2015, 00:32 (Ref:3522019)   #46
Casper
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Originally Posted by Richard Casto View Post
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.

Richard
A constructor such as McLaren using a motor supplied by a separate manufacturer such as MB has nothing to do with the motor, they are not even allowed to start it and know nothing about it. Your Porsche example is pretty poor, Porsche had the problem, they were not responding to a problem others had. In fact MB had less problems in fact very few that Honda could have learnt from even if they had the opportunity which they did not.
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Old 31 Mar 2015, 03:46 (Ref:3522056)   #47
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A constructor such as McLaren using a motor supplied by a separate manufacturer such as MB has nothing to do with the motor, they are not even allowed to start it and know nothing about it. Your Porsche example is pretty poor, Porsche had the problem, they were not responding to a problem others had. In fact MB had less problems in fact very few that Honda could have learnt from even if they had the opportunity which they did not.
Know nothing about it? They have to build a car around it! That includes the transmission (not provided by Mercedes), cooling, electronics and various other bits. Yes, much is hidden away from the customers, but ALL details can't be hidden. Basically anything that is required for integration has to be provided to the teams design staff. Much could be covered by NDA, but other paths to answers exist. For example, just ask McLaren what the cooling capacity was for last years chassis from an aero perspective (inlet sizes, airflow numbers, etc). That will tell you the rough cooling requirement for the Mercedes PSU without resorting to Mercedes documents. This is because McLaren would have designed the smallest and tightest inlets and side pods they could get away with and that all would have be based upon data given to them by Mercedes. Look up "clean room design".

And you misunderstood my Porsche comment. Who cares to who or why they are responding? Internal or competitor, it doesn't matter. It is an example of being flexible and adjusting when course correction is needed. It is about being able to adjust on the fly when needed. Porsche did it, why couldn't Honda? (and maybe Honda did!)

This is a dead horse. I am going to stop beating it.

Richard

Last edited by Richard Casto; 31 Mar 2015 at 03:54.
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Old 9 Jun 2015, 08:51 (Ref:3546389)   #48
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I think we can safely say at this stage that not much information left Mercedes via McLaren to Honda.
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Old 9 Jun 2015, 13:57 (Ref:3546485)   #49
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I think we can safely say at this stage that not much information left Mercedes via McLaren to Honda.
I think given where they are performance and reliability wise that is an easy conclusion to reach. IMHO, it may or may not be true. I think that at a minimum Honda knew the performance envelope of last years Mercedes. This is because McLaren should understand the aero envelope of the car and given the data they have around speed, acceleration, drag (mechanical + aero) and fuel flow they could map out what the Mercedes is capable of. So that should have given Honda a target to shoot for.

Regardless of how much info they had, it seems that Honda decided to not create a Mercedes clone as the turbo design and layout is different. I can only assume they felt that if they went down the exact same path they would always lag behind in the development war, or they felt a different path opened some doors that might be closed to Mercedes, or maybe a combo of both. Here is an interesting article (a little old)...

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/118626

Assuming that analysis is correct Honda did go down a different path. Question is if it is a dead end or they just need more development to get it where it needs to be? I think overall that Mercedes clearly has their act together and that even with an all new engine (Honda) or existing plus development tokens (Ferrari for example) that they are having a hard time making inroads.

Additionally, I think Mercedes still has most or all of their 2015 tokens remaining? I think I heard that Mercedes did release a new spec at Montreal but it was focused on reliability changes and not performance (token) changes? In addition to Ferrari using some tokens (which has helped them), I think Honda also did a combo of token improvements plus reliability changes (not that it helped!) for Montreal as well.

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Old 9 Jun 2015, 15:35 (Ref:3546519)   #50
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Something I didn't mention above is that not only is the Honda apparently down on ultimate power, but it could be that the larger issue has been driveability. We had Button talking about how scary the car was in Barcelona. It sounded like twitchy throttle response that was breaking the rear tires away without much warning. Driveability then seemed to be a focus of improvements as that was talked about on the lead up to Monaco. For Montreal, as mentioned above, Honda used two tokens plus reliability upgrades as I think they were back on trying to get more power. Unfortunately they were clearly still down on power and they had significant reliability issues all weekend. So I assume that in addition to pushing hard, they are also rushing changes. Maybe too fast. Another thing is that it is easy to put blame on the Honda PU, but we just don't know how capable is the new McLaren is on it's own. We may not know until Honda have addressed their issues.

Overall... I know we are just only about 1/3 of the way through, but I expect this season is a complete bust for McLaren and Honda. I just can't see them really turning things around. The real question is if they know what is wrong and if they have gone down a development dead end with the engine. I think they have five tokens left this season. Might they have to wait until the break between 2015 and 2016 season when they get a new batch of tokens and hopefully turn things around?

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Old 9 Jun 2015, 15:53 (Ref:3546529)   #51
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sadly they are doing the only thing they can do and that is treat the remainder of the season like a several month long test session.

its not compelling television and i cant blame people not wanting to watch a series where most of the marquee teams must use game time situations as development sessions. thats not what people expect and its really not what anyone should have to pay for.

im still a fan of budget caps, but something has to give on this front. perhaps instead of increasing team payouts, FOM should try something radical like subsidizing, if not outright paying for, group test sessions because surely F1 is better off when more than one team is living on the sharp end.
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Old 10 Jun 2015, 02:46 (Ref:3546714)   #52
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I think we can safely say at this stage that not much information left Mercedes via McLaren to Honda.
.....True
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Old 17 Jun 2015, 13:21 (Ref:3551521)   #53
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An interesting piece on McLaren-Honda's predicament.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/119529
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Old 17 Aug 2015, 16:27 (Ref:3566485)   #54
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seems like Mclaren are getting an extensively updated/upgraded engine in time for the next race.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/120337

i hope it is a step forward because this is all they have left for the year.
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Old 17 Aug 2015, 17:14 (Ref:3566491)   #55
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seems like Mclaren are getting an extensively updated/upgraded engine in time for the next race.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/120337

i hope it is a step forward because this is all they have left for the year.
I was about to post that exact link. The news on engine updates is good, but I found other parts of that article most interesting. Basically Honda (Yasuhisa Arai) are saying...

1. Hungary spec engine is better than the Renault engine.
2. Belgian spec engine will be on par with Ferrari engine.
3. They expect to match Mercedes over the winter.
4. The McLaren chassis is now the weak point.

I find it both big talk as well as interesting that they are now publicly pointing the finger at McLaren.

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Old 17 Aug 2015, 17:15 (Ref:3566492)   #56
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"Mk 3 [will be introduced] in Spa [and] we have already started development on next season's power unit.

"Mk 4 will be on the same level as Mercedes, that is the target; Mk 3 will be on a level similar to Ferrari, which is what we're aiming for. It's a big step."
Will the MK4 be on par with the current Merc or what Merc turn up with next year?
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Old 17 Aug 2015, 17:28 (Ref:3566494)   #57
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unless there are changes in rules or testing, it seems unrealistic to believe their MK4 will be on par with the engine that Merc starts the next season with.

i suppose merc could stand still or even go backwards aiding in their cause.
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Old 17 Aug 2015, 17:34 (Ref:3566496)   #58
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Will the MK4 be on par with the current Merc or what Merc turn up with next year?
I think they can only benchmark what Mercedes is currently doing. They would have no clue as to how large or small Mercedes gains will be next year. Either way, even matching the current Mercedes PU would be a huge jump.

I am skeptical that the current unit is a match for Renault and am just as doubtful they can match Ferrari. And note, that is just on the PU side.

It just seems so odd that Honda would make such claims give how rough of a time they have had so far. Did they truly have an "ah ha" moment and figure it all out, or are they just under pressure to indicate forward movement and to get some of the heat off of themselves. This all seems like the target audience for this is not us, but McLaren (or those who back McLaren). And... don't write checks you can't cash.

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Old 17 Aug 2015, 20:56 (Ref:3566523)   #59
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also odd in light of the more respectful/measured approach McLaren-Honda have taken in contrast to the approach taken by RB and Renault.

after half a season of quiet and measured improvements and on the strength of a strong last race, im also curious as to Honda's need to make such a bold pronouncement prior to the next race.

its not a transcript of the full conversation between Arai and Autosport, but the selection of quotes used (especially the second section of the article) lends itself to the notion that if it doesnt work then that would confirm that this is a Mclaren issue and not a Honda one.

i may be overthinking it though
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Old 18 Aug 2015, 00:19 (Ref:3566557)   #60
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Here is the article

http://www.autosport.com/news/report...ce=mostpopular

However six Honda engine failures for both drivers are difficult to idly step around.
Really they only said they were better than Renault and were looKing at competing with Ferrari.
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