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Old 20 Mar 2019, 18:25 (Ref:3892237)   #1
Richard Casto
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Egg Honda in F1

Since Honda's return to F1 the topic has lived initially in the context of McLaren and then last year STR. This year they supply both STR and RBR. Even with McLaren being a year removed from Honda the topic still gets discussed there. I think mostly as there is just no single place to talk about "Honda"

So I wanted to start a thread specific to Honda in F1.

Regardless of your thoughts as to how and why their return has been rocky, it's hard to not feel they are making real progress. They are now supplying two teams. With RBR being one of the three that seems to have any real hope of winning races (outside of fluke occurrences by the midfield). They have been low drama during 2019 testing and was on the podium for the first time since 2008 and the first since their re-entry into the sport in 2015.

Honda remains the odd man out. A power unit supplier without a factory team. If Mercedes, Renault or Ferrari have a bad result, they handle that as a team. While internal finger pointing sometimes happens with them (particularly Ferrari), it is much more rare. While the RBR and Honda partnership is rosy at the moment, RBR is a known tough to please customer.

At the moment RBR and Honda are trying to temper expectations given the gap to Mercedes. They seem to be getting along swimmingly (so far). I am always very doubtful of anything Helmut Marko says, but this quote is interesting...

Quote:
And Red Bull chief Dr Helmut Marko says there is more to come. For that, he admitted that Red Bull has work to do. "The best part of the package is the Honda engine," he said. "For our part we need to improve the chassis. "We have too little downforce, but that's born of the philosophy of the last five years where we had to constantly compensate for the lack of performance."
https://www.gpfans.com/en/articles/3...ull-car-marko/

Now, the cynical (and probably correct) interpretation is that this is a chance for Marko to snipe at Renault. But either way, I find it interesting that while they are very positive about the performance of Honda they point the finger at themselves as to the current pace of the 2019 RBR with respect to Mercedes. How often do we see this from RBR in general and Marko in particular?

I will also say that as much as we on this forum like to attribute the domination by Mercedes to their power unit (and it is likely still the best), it's clear that the overall package matters. Clearly we have multiple teams now running all four power units and there is clear performance differences between them on track. My point here is that are we starting to see a glimmer of parity from power units? With Honda just starting to get into the mix?

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Old 20 Mar 2019, 18:40 (Ref:3892247)   #2
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Well itís good to have Honda back in F1. It didnít work with McLaren, it didnít quite work with STR. Now they have a chance to redeem themselves, but will it last? Certainly I hope they stay for a little while

Certainly they did well pre season and the podium was welcome itís been too long for them, especially since they came back to F1. Helmut Marko should consider himself lucky they have Honda. They were almost left high and dry by Renault. Of course it was a good start, but will they be able to sustain it. Other teams could catch up and put them under threat if they are not careful. RBR have kept Honda in the sport, but how well will the relationship continue? Certainly Merc have the right ingredients, they have their own engine and have run rings round the opposition and despite everything, continues to bear fruit

Weíll see how well this RBR-Honda relationship continues
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Old 20 Mar 2019, 19:13 (Ref:3892258)   #3
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Originally Posted by S griffin View Post
It didn’t work with McLaren, it didn’t quite work with STR.
I would say that it went well with STR, but with the caveat that Red Bull (not RBR) deemed 2018 to be a bridge year to allow Honda to prepare for 2019 with RBR and STR. So one one hand STR was screwed, but on the other it was a success for Red Bull and Honda, because it gave Honda the time to get it together.

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RBR have kept Honda in the sport, but how well will the relationship continue?
Outside of providing a home post McLaren there is a deeper meaning to your comment. Given it seems that only McLaren, Ferrari or RBR are the three teams that are used to delineate the boundary of "everyone else" RBR is the ONLY place that Honda could have gone to be successful and ultimately remain in the sport.

Imagine Honda being linked to anyone else that is not a B-team already (or nearly so) for one of the manufactures. Honda with one of those few would be a death sentence. McLaren or can you imagine... Williams? Honda would make zero movement forward (held back by the team) and would then eventually quickly leave the sport.

If things sour with RBR... where would Honda go? Problem is, RBR is in the same boat. Without being the #1 team for a PU manufacture, RBR would decline and Mateschitz would probably decide to exit F1.

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Old 20 Mar 2019, 19:41 (Ref:3892267)   #4
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I'm not so sure there is cause for optimism. I remember last year the Red Bulls being in the podium fight with the Renault engines too. Tracks like Bahrain and China are going to be the real test, and I don't think it's going to have a very happy outcome...
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Old 20 Mar 2019, 20:13 (Ref:3892274)   #5
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I'm not so sure there is cause for optimism. I remember last year the Red Bulls being in the podium fight with the Renault engines too. Tracks like Bahrain and China are going to be the real test, and I don't think it's going to have a very happy outcome...
Regarding optimism, I guess it depends upon individual expectations. During the last year with McLaren many were writing off Honda completely. Last year as performance and reliability made significant improvements many continued to only talk about the McLaren experience.

In the end, we have to wait and see. I have no expectations that RBR/Honda will be fighting for the title. I think they will fight for race wins and am optimistic that they may see a race win or two (even if I picked a higher number for my predictions). Which is on par with 2018 performance. In short, not going backwards and maybe moving forwards.

I am curious to thoughts about Marko saying it is RBR that needs to improve at this point.

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Old 20 Mar 2019, 20:38 (Ref:3892276)   #6
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Well I wouldnít count the chickens yet. It was clear the McLaren relationship was doomed to fail and I think Honda has to take some blame for that

Certainly it was a good result, but I wouldnít predict a title for them either. And wins will be tough against Ferrari and Mercedes, especially as they still have a relatively inexperienced lineup. Last year showed things can get better
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Old 20 Mar 2019, 21:02 (Ref:3892292)   #7
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Originally Posted by S griffin View Post
Well I wouldn’t count the chickens yet. It was clear the McLaren relationship was doomed to fail and I think Honda has to take some blame for that

Certainly it was a good result, but I wouldn’t predict a title for them either. And wins will be tough against Ferrari and Mercedes, especially as they still have a relatively inexperienced lineup. Last year showed things can get better
For sure Honda carries most of the blame for their performance (good or bad). McLaren had a large hand in it as well. That is much more clear in hindsight at this point. Honda via an underestimation of the challenge and McLaren via hubris, a big mouth and treating Honda like a part supplier vs. a partner.

Regarding wins for Honda? As you say it's dependent upon how well Mercedes and Ferrari perform. We are only one race in. Mercedes looks VERY good at this point. Regarding relatively inexperienced lineup for RBR. True, but also remember that RBR won three races last year. Two by Max who remains with the team. While not a Max fan, he has one more year under his belt and hopefully will both get better and wiser.

Regardless... Time will tell. Anyone counting chickens at this point is nuts.

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Old 20 Mar 2019, 22:28 (Ref:3892315)   #8
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Honda were in with the wrong crowd and McLaren didnít help matters. Honda probably though it would be easy with McLaren, while McLaren placed all itís blame on the engine. Good job Honda were given another chance in the sport

As for wins, I feel it will be tough. Merc have got the car sorted and Ferrari are a bit behind, but still there. Weíll see how reliable the car is. For sure both drivers are good, but havenít yet shown world beating ability. Max is probably the more talented of the two and as long as he has a decent car underneath him, he can do a good job. This could be the season he arrives. I think he is a talent who people want to see do well

Still early days though, everything can go wrong in a heartbeat
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Old 21 Mar 2019, 09:37 (Ref:3892420)   #9
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I am still amazed that Honda did not run the motor in a test mule before it was an official F1 homologated PU. The thinking behind that would be an interesting read.
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Old 21 Mar 2019, 11:22 (Ref:3892438)   #10
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A difficult one to decide at the moment though the Australia result certainly seems encouraging.
Looking back to the 2017 and 2018 seasons when McLaren and Torro Rosso swapped engines both teams improved with the 'new' engine! McLaren's improvement a little better than TR and giving Alonso a better chance to fight nearer the front than in 2017. And this with an engine deemed by many to be inferior.
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Old 21 Mar 2019, 11:23 (Ref:3892439)   #11
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I am still amazed that Honda did not run the motor in a test mule before it was an official F1 homologated PU. The thinking behind that would be an interesting read.

Do we know this?
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Old 21 Mar 2019, 12:09 (Ref:3892449)   #12
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steve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridsteve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridsteve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
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I am still amazed that Honda did not run the motor in a test mule before it was an official F1 homologated PU. The thinking behind that would be an interesting read.
There are / were all sorts of testing restrictions in place, so it might not even have been an option for them. Some of the restrictions are fair and are required to keep costs down, but for a brand new manufacturer it really hamstrung them.

There was also the overly restrictive "token" system that was in place regarding development of engines, which for the existing manufacturers with an establish product was not the end of the world, but for the exploding and slow Honda engines, must have been the most frustrating thing in the world.

After just one race, it looks like RBR are more or less in the same relative position as they have been in the last 3 or 4 seasons. I'm sure we will have a clearer picture very soon though.

McLaren have paid the pain, and RBR will get the gain.

If Honda engines start going bang or they lose out on straight line speed at some tracks this year, it will be very interesting to compare RBR's reaction, bearing in mind the silly finger pointing against Renault of recent years.
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Old 21 Mar 2019, 12:19 (Ref:3892451)   #13
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It seems very positive that the speed trap info from Australia supports Marko. I feel sad that McLaren gave Alonso a second chance after his behaviour during the first stint, and wonder if Honda would still be with them if it weren't for the "GP2 engine" type quotes that were bandied about.
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Old 21 Mar 2019, 12:20 (Ref:3892452)   #14
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I am still amazed that Honda did not run the motor in a test mule before it was an official F1 homologated PU. The thinking behind that would be an interesting read.
I seem to recall rumours they did do, running the engine in a converted car based on the NSX GT500 to use as a running test bed. I recall rumours a few years ago Ferrari had engaged in a similar practice, lapping Fiorano in a specially adapted GT car. Of course as I say this may be rumour more than fact.

Mind you today's technology and dynos may be able to replicate the loads of track use without leaving the test bed.
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Old 21 Mar 2019, 13:09 (Ref:3892461)   #15
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GingerPixel should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridGingerPixel should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Ferrari ran a La Ferrari with a big wing and a roof scoop, but I'm not ever sure it was confirmed what they were testing.
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