Did Honda throw a championship away?

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Would the team have achieved more as Honda or as Brawn?

The remarkable story of Brawn has generated many column inches since the team won both championships on Sunday.

But the flip side to the story is whether Honda’s decision to sell the team ten months ago must now be considered one of F1’s greatest blunders.

Earlier this year I asked a Brawn engineer whether he thought the team would have been as competitive if its cars were still using Honda engines instead of Mercedes.

The response came back firmly in the negative, and various disparaging remarks were made about the quality of Honda’s engines and their inability to remove the skin from rice pudding.

In one respect at least, the team’s transformation from Honda into Brawn may have done it more good than harm.

There’s also something to be said for the streamlining of the management process. No longer accountable to the parent company back in Japan, the racing team could now operate with autonomy. And it would be hard to find a better person to take up that responsibility than Ross Brawn.

On the other hand, the sudden change to Mercedes power forced Brawn into some tough compromises. One Brawn engineer told the BBC:

The chassis had the back six inches cut off to fit the engine in – the sort of thing you wouldn’t normally do even with a test car. And the gearbox was in the wrong place because the crank-centre height is different. There’s a massive amount of compromise in the cars.

Timing is also important. As Brawn missed the first two months of testing in January and February, no-one had any idea how quick they were, and no-one had time to respond.

Had Honda stayed, and the team stuck to a regular testing programme, its rivals would have known as early as January that the RA109 (not the BGP 001) was quick. It may have led them to develop double diffusers of their own more quickly, preventing Honda/Brawn from running away with all bar one of the first seven races, and changing the outcome of the championship.

Similarly if Honda had stayed there was a chance Bruno Senna would have taken Rubens Barrichello’s place. The loss of such an experienced driver could have hurt the team on the days when Jenson Button struggled to match Barrichello, particularly in the second half of the season.

How much better would the car have performed without the technical compromises? Was Honda’s departure a blessing in disguise?

There’s no clear answer to the question – it’s destined to become another of F1’s great conjectures to chew on with a few mates down the pub.

Do you think Honda missed out on a championship this year? Have your say below.

Button and Brawn, world champions

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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143 comments on “Did Honda throw a championship away?”

  1. At least Honda would’ve been more competitive than last season, and may even have taken several GP wins, but the titles, that’s highly debatable.

    1. Why wouldn’t they it’s exactly the same team?

      1. Mercedes engines?

        1. I don’t think that the engine has changed that much. The chassis was built for the Honda engine and in 2008 the Honda engine wasn’t that much down on power (compared to the Mercedes) as people think. Honda also had developed a KERS unit and we don’t know if it was more of a McLaren KERS or more of a BMW one…
          Besides that, Honda was allowed to improve the engine, just as Renault.

          The biggest blow to their championship chances might have been the loss of Barrichello

          1. honda has patents that brawn can use for a small light kers unit built into gearbox…much more advanced than any other on the grid this year. Add that to the honda engine and the result would have been the same…fast car.

            The good bit in honda going was being able to change suppliers for brakes and shocks etc..and you cant help but think the merc engine was better so, it really is a 50 / 50 call.

            I think they would have still had a strong chance to win the titles but oh well there loss and we will never know.

          2. should say…..honda has patents that brawn can’t use that brawn


          3. I was interested in the point the engineer made that 150mmm was removed from the chassis,OF A NEW CAR!! If they had stayed with Honda engines, would the extra length of the car worked as well aerodynamically? Also the centrepoint of the gearbox being higher, would that raise the centre of gravity? A lot of CFD, and wind-tunnel time would have had to be scrapped, was it just good fortune that made the car so good, and having a season of experience behind them, will the car be even better next season??

          4. *sorry top speed during a race

        2. Wasnt the Honda engine the fastest engine in a straight line during 2006? And the last 2 seasons although terrible cars they did have very fast race pace

      2. And Ross wasn’t allowed to ‘run’ the Honda team. His management + Mercedes engines = 2 WDC…..

        Honda would not have done it the same.

      3. Igo, read the article…

  2. The team needed the fat cutting away, and raw determination that fighting for your life brings, to make the Brawn team the winners they are today.

    Honda bailing was a good thing. Had they stayed they wouldn’t have won both titles. (IMHO).

  3. Barrichello was certainly instrumental in winning the WCC. Looking at Bruno’s past record it looks highly unlikely he would have been able to pull a Hamilton and be competitive from his first F1 race.

    I think it was still wise of Honda to pull out. They were throwing huge amounts of money away on their F1 project, and that’s just not acceptable when you are laying people off at your factories. Now as a privateer team they can (and will) spend money a lot more wisely instead of just spending frivolously and going cap-in-hand to the CEO.

    The age of large manufacturers dominating F1 is slowly coming to an end and are being replaced by independent teams, which is a good thing.

    1. “Pulling a Hamilton”. The expression in itself just shows how considered the guy is (and quite rightly so).

      I have to agree, Senna (Bruno) would have not done as well as Barrichello. He would however have brought sponsors and 230 former Honda F1 employees might still have a job.

      1. Yes but Hamilton did have one of the best cars which meant he always had the chance of winning, what made Hamilton stand out was the team mate he was up against and how he coped but you also have to look at the context of what car he was given. Most rookies cannot get in and just win because they are constrained by the cars (and now testing ban)
        I doubt the Honda engine would have been strong or reliable enough to be in position for consistant wins and would they have been able to fend off RBR and then Mclaren and Ferrari?
        Brawn were helped by the autonomy, which I think is one of the most important parts; Williams for instance have to race Nakajima because they were dictated to by Toyota, this situation means Nico has been the sole point scorer, if they had their own choice in drivers they could be a lot further up the constructors. Autonomy is important in many ways but thought I would go with this example :P
        Brawn have done very well but it was very hard for anyone to catch up with them. This type of situation may never rise again because it was so unique and was helped by the rule changes. The other teams were also halted by the testing ban and by the argument over diffusers.

        1. This old chestnut!

          It took having undisputed #1 status and two immense cars for someone to finally break Fangio’s record. Hamilton was lucky in the resources he could pull on, but the driver-car combination is inter-dependent: no matter how good he is, he wouldn’t have been able to do the same in an inferior car, and an inferior driver in the same situation would never have done as well.

          1. I agree and Hamilton has probably shown his worth more this year by making the most of a bad car, but it does mean it is very hard for any rookie to repeat his achievements of his first year(s) of Formula 1.

    2. Cut the “pull a Hamilton” crap. Hamilton “pulled a Villeneuve”, that’s the truth.

      1. I love the smell of sour grapes in the morning…

      2. Jacques Villeneuve you mean? Was he teamed up with a double world champion when he became WDC? Didn’t know Frentzen won even one.

        Huh, amazing what you can learn …

        1. Hamilton wasn’t teamed with a double world champion when he won the WDC. Get it right.

          1. Lol, true. But he beat him.

      3. This article hasn’t got anything to do with Hamilton, can we stay on topic?

        1. No Keith, we cant. You should know this by now :)

  4. I Think it is down to a lot of different things working together to bring success
    1.Large investment of time and money from Honda,
    2.Fighting against the adversity of the team being dispanded,
    3.A great and respected leader in Ross Brawn,
    4.The big team’s Mclaren, BMW, Ferrari & Renault investing there recourses into KERS not aero.

    I think the fact that everybody including the drivers had a rude awakening when Honda pulled out would have pulled everybody together and they would have all taken a collective responsibility to make the new Team work, they also would have looked at Ross Brawn as a figure who had saved them all and would do anything for him. I think the Car would have still been quick as it was a lot quicker than a Mclaren with KERS.

  5. I don’t think the Honda engine was THAT bad but certainly the fact that other teams didn’t have time to copy the diffuser must have made a difference.

    Don’t forget that Honda still largely funded the team this year, what if they had kept the team but given Ross Brawn a free hand instead of constantntly meddling as Japanese companies tend to do.

    They may just have done it!

    They certainly didn’t make the hash of it that BMW seem to have done, failed to be an entry for 2010, sold to a dodgy consortium for peanuts and probably disappear into obscurity.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      21st October 2009, 11:43

      They certainly didn’t make the hash of it that BMW seem to have done, failed to be an entry for 2010, sold to a dodgy consortium for peanuts and probably disappear into obscurity.

      BMW seem to have a knack of doing that – that’s what happened to Rover.

      1. Hah! Well spotted!

      2. Never thought of it that way!

    2. Forget about the double diffuser, it was on the Williams and Toyota cars from day one…

      1. Actually, till the verdict in April, the “non ddd” teams were convinced that it was illegal. Started from the moment Williams and Toyota rolled out their cars.

        I think McLaren even had some form of double diffuser, but they closed it up for the first few races.

      2. But Brawn were much faster. And Ross Brawn was the person who’d warned the teams about the diffuser loophole during the rules discussions last year, so they might have been more inclined to believe it was going to be ruled legal.

        1. Brawn weren’t the only DD team that were quick though.

          Remember Toyota should have won in Bahrain and Glock was catching Button in Malaysia when the race was stopped. Also, they finished 3rd and 4th after starting at the back in Melbourne.

          I really believe that Ferrari especially would be arrogant enough to be sure that the concept would be ruled illegal.

          1. Remember Toyota should have won in Bahrain

            If they should have won, why didn’t they? Toyota didn’t respond to events during the race and kept with their planned strategies regardless. They didn’t take advantage of emerging opportunities and that scuppered their race. They’ve had good pace at points during the season, but what made the Brawns so successful is their speed at various circuits and conditions. Toyota couldn’t replicate that, double diffuser or not.

        2. wrong completly…RBR went to Charlie Whiting in 08 and asked (stupidly) if this type of design(loophole) was to be allowed.
          Had RBR been allowed to design a whole car around the DD design rather than tack it on afterwards Brawn may not have looked as classy.
          And this ‘title’ of being super cunning and smart for thinking of the design and no one else did…what utter rubbish.

          RBR should have just built it and then did a ‘brawn’ what illegal?!?!? no (my mate is C Whitting he will take care of it)…oh hang on that was what brawn did and williams did,

          1. forgot to add DD diffusers in design phase according to Whitting and the FIA were illegal…in 09 they became a super clever adaptation of the grey area….

            I am not a Mclaren fan but had either they or Renault alone just had this loophole DD on the car it would have been vetoed straight away.

  6. But I like the skin on rice pudding…

    But yes, aside from the excellent early development work the team did, I’m sure the switch to a Merc engine went a long way towards their success, which would obviously have not been the case had the team remained as Honda.

  7. I think the switch to mercedes made the tranformation to a champion ship winning team. Without that, probably they would still be 3rd or 4th in championship order at the end of it.

  8. HounslowBusGarage
    21st October 2009, 11:40

    Surely the pivotal point was when the Japanese management withdrew or was replaced; after ewhich everything became possible. Don’t I remember that the team’s aerodynamicist only had motorbike experience or something like that?
    Had that management culture continued, nothing would have been achieved and Ross Brawn might have become so despondent that he may have walked off to another team . . . like Ferrari again.

    1. The Japanese management structure doesn’t seem to work well in F1, but I doubt that Honda’s was so incompetent as to ruin their 2009 season. Besides, one of the quickest F1 cars of the decade was built under Japanese management, so it can’t all be bad

  9. As you say, I think the fact that a great car, particularly the diffuser, was kept hidden from the competition really helped. I’m sure the others would have developed a diffuser they had assumed was illegal and even if they had not had them in place by Australia, it would have been much sooner. Adn let’s face it, Honda could have acted a lot worse than they did. They seem to me to have been quite reasonable in the current economic climate. As a corporation, it would have been terrible PR to plough millions into a sport whilst laying off staff and suffering a sales slump.

    Hindsight is 20/20; who knows what early decisions made by Red Bull, Toyota, Ferrari and McLaren could now be deemed terrible?

    1. I’m sure the others would have developed a diffuser they had assumed was illegal

      Possibly. But remember there was a huge amount of development work required for the 2009 cars, so developing two diffuser concepts (one single, one double) would have taken resources away from other parts of the car, such as KERS or front wing. In fact, Williams stalled their flywheel KERS development because they could find more lap time gains from putting all their resources into refining the bodywork. Proof that there is only so much time and money to go round.

  10. I’ve often wondered about this myself. Like someone else said I think Honda may have won one or two GPs this season but not much else. Young Senna could have turned out like Nelson Piquet. Brawn was accountable to no one this season, but with Mercedes buying into the team from next season that will change a little. I think next years car improving on this years and designed for a Mercedes engine could be formidable! Aslo Button could have his hands full with young Rosberg. It will be great!

  11. Honda left the sport for financial reasons (they weren’t getting decent race results – ie. poor return on their investment – combined with the downturn in global car sales) and thus they had no option of staying. And as you point out in your article, had they stayed, they would most probably have enjoyed limited success compared to Brawn GP for several reasons not least the engine. As it is, the newly streamlined and autonomous team headed by Ross, coupled with the lengthy and expensive work on RA109/BGP 001 (by Honda) resulted in the winning combination we have seen.

    So really, no, Honda did not throw away a championship. This was the best outcome for all parties concerned; the people at Honda must surely be proud of this outcome, as must those who helped the project over the winter but were unfortunately not able to stay with the team.

    Brawn, the man and the team, should be congratulated and credited for their successes without us playing the “what if” game. It would also be nice to see more recognition for the honourable and graceful way in which Honda pulled out of F1; other teams (BMW) would do well to take a leaf out of their book. As some have mentioned in the forum, I for one agree it would be appropriate and fitting for Ross to receive a knighthood.

    1. well said.

      i think it would be nice to see honda publicly thanked by brawn. as for knighthood, i’m sure ross can afford it ;)

    2. Didn’t a lot of people who lost their jobs from the old Honda team eventually end up down the road at Red Bull ?

      I understood that Red Bull have expanded exponentially this year and were very happy to pick up really well trained engineers from wherever they could get them.

      Anybody know more about this story ?

      1. You understand wrong. The Red Bull workforce has been reduced this year. The odd people leaving Honda/Brawn might have ended up at RBR/RBT ; but overall there have been quite a few redundancies.

  12. Whilst maybe not up to Merc standards, The Honda engine wouldn’t have been that bad, they’d have got to play catch up in the same way Renault did this year, so we wouldn’t have seen the sort of disparity we did last year.

    But it’s a thorny issue. I think the main factor would have been the revealing of the double diffuser earlier in the testing, especially if that had led to a pre-season ban, in which case Red Bull would have run away with the championship. The other big loss would have been Rubens, who not only helped them win the constructors, but took vital points of Vettel in the 2nd half of the season.

    1. I think the main factor would have been the revealing of the double diffuser earlier in the testing

      Can anyone remember how Williams or Toyota kept the double diffuser quiet all through testing? Toyota mechanics stood around the back of the car on the grid in the early races, but I don’t remember them making any special effort during the winter.

      However Brawn turned up with their own double diffuser and were immediately topping the times, many saying at the time that it was all down to the diffuser. It makes you wonder if diffuser-gate would have been less of a big deal if their performance was on a par with Williams and Toyota.

      1. If you want to know how Honda (if it hadn’t become Brawn) would have done in 2009 all you have to do is look at Toyota. Brawn may have bad a bit better chassis, but Toyota had a bit better engine. They also had a bigger budget to do upgrades during the season. While Honda did give Brawn cash to carry on, no one on the grid has given their team a bigger budget than Toyota. The Mercedes engine is far and away the best on the grid right now. While Honda would have done much better in 2009 than 2008, they couldn’t have gotten as good of a result without that Merc engine. Why do you think Red Bull wants it so badly? With the Honda engine they still would only be battling their arch rivals from Toyota for somewhere around 4th or 5th place, which is still much better than dead last.

      2. Good question Nitpicker, I think I should rephrase what I said. What I meant is, I don’t think anyone was so bothered until they saw the performance gain it could give which was best exemplified by Brawn – Toyota and Williams were both handicapped by what I’ve now heard called ‘the worst engine of 2009’. Rumbles only turned to outrage when everyone realised it was a race winning innovation. I think the Brawn was no doubt a good car with or without it, but the need to get one hurt Red Bull most of all with their pull-rod suspension.

        1. I’m not convinced the Toyota engine is what held back Williams and Toyota this year; amongst other things Toyota were dismal at Monaco which is more due to chassis and setup rather than engine performance. And at each track, the performance of each team was determined more by their aero design (ability to generate high downforce such as McLaren, or low drag, such as Force India) than engine performance. In fact the only thing we’ve heard about engines this year is that the Merc has hardly coughed and Vettel’s Renaults kept popping. The Toyota engine may be the worst, but relative to the others it can’t be that far back.

  13. As a supporter of the BAR/Honda team for the past few years, I thought that Honda had seriously dropped the ball in how they managed their withdrawal. Considering they are more-or-less bankrolling Brawn until the end of this year, couldn’t they have kept the car badged Honda, found a fully-paying buyer for the team by end of 2009, and reaped the image and marketing benefits from such a competitive season?

    Hindsight is great isn’t it. See Andrew Benson’s blog where a Honda source, mentioning the team atmosphere in early 2009, everyone thought the aerodynamicists had got their sums wrong again. And corporate image is very important in Japan, so “openly” supporting the team for another year in such awful economic conditions may have been unwise.

    However this fantastic article has also mentioned the management issues and engine performance. I never considered Honda engines as the weak choice, but the guys in the team would know better than any of us.

  14. Didnt Toyota and Williams also have a double diffuser. The other teams waited because they thought it was illegal.

    Or maybe the Brawn system was much better and a different concept than Williams and Toyota.

    1. I’m sceptical that most teams didn’t develop double diffusers because they thought they were illegal- F1 teams don’t care much for rules. (I bet that some teams are cheating right now, but it is difficult for the stewards to find out, like BAR in 2005)

      I think that the teams simply decided that double diffusers weren’t worth enough time to develop. Toyota and Williams weren’t too fast in testing.

      1. They kept insisting that the double diffusers were illegal. Some even after the verdict (BMW, Briatore)

        It started from the first moment the Toyota and Williams cars were driving around.

        Im convinced McLaren had some form of double decker diffuser already, but they were afraid it would be illegal and didn;t race it.

        They closed it up for the race at Melbourne and Malaysia:

        Can’t find the picture anymore, but in free practice they drove it with the cover off and it was some sort of double decker diffuser too.

        1. Mclaren did not have a dd. That picture show nothing….only the view from underneath shows if its a dd.

          “McLaren were one of the first teams to respond to FIA’s ruling of the controversial double diffusers last weekend, as they debuted an interim version of the aforementioned feature during the Shanghai practice sessions. The Woking designers have therefore continued the development of the diffuser, with the Sakhir version being considered the last step before the totally-improved unit (expected to debut at the Spanish Grand Prix).

          “We have an adaptation of our conventional diffuser. It brings a bit more downforce but is not a giant step. It is a difficult area. If we had begun with it a year ago, the whole car would have been conceived on that basis,” said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh in an interview for German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

          Back on topic i think Honda would have been a bit like ferrari were this year. up there now and again and picked up a win. Not due to the powerplants but the over complicated management structure restricting Brawns influence.

          1. Yeah and that “interim” diffuser is the same thing they had in Australia with the back door opened (and an opening in the floor obviously).

            Why would they have that round area (that they opened up during practice) if it’s not meant to be a double diffuser?

            There weren’t working on it from the start no, but they were working on it well before the verdict. Probably from the moment they saw the Brawn car. That’s why they kept insisting that they would get a rear solution with a lot more downforce.

          2. Here are some background articles discussing McLaren’s double decker diffuser and how they might even run it at Melbourne:



            They obviously thought it was going to be illegal. Or rather they wanted to err on the save side. 2 races later they took the blanking plates off and they did go somewhat faster.

      2. I bet that some teams are cheating right now, but it is difficult for the stewards to find out, like BAR in 2005

        There is a world of difference between exploiting a gap, loophole or grey area in the rules and knowlingly doing something clearly in contravention of the rules. Any F1 team worth its salt does the former, but I suspect you wouldn’t find very many doing much of the latter very often – mainly because it’s difficult to get away with and heavily punished if caught.

        The double diffuser was simply a clever interpretation of what the rules permitted.

      3. I think that the teams simply decided that double diffusers weren’t worth enough time to develop. Toyota and Williams weren’t too fast in testing.

        That’s what I think.

  15. @ Kershan
    … others would have developed a diffuser they had assumed was illegal…

    Remember: others HAD developed a double diffuser: Williams and Toyota.

  16. Success is a sum of many small parts. Mercedes engine is one, but don’t forget the 120 million pounds or so that Honda has put in to the team this year without taking credit and many more millions before. Racing is in Honda’s blood. Compare that to the attitude of a certain German company already mentioned by others. Honda revealed recently that they have asked 30% spending cut to their major parts suppliers and their annual production is more than 30% down this year. It was unsustainable for Honda to stay in F1 under those circumstances but they didn’t abandon the team completely either. Give credit where it’s due.

    1. I think other posts have paid a lot of tribute to Honda’s exit performance last winter JungleJap.

      Honda are certainly an example to other companies of how you manage an exit strategy when your business is collapsing about your ears. They deserve our respect and, for the most part, they get it.

  17. I always just assumed that Honda would have been as successful this year as Brawn have been, but I never really considered that the opposition might have discovered the diuble diffuser concept earlier and perhaps caught them. And there is little doubt that the Mercedes engine is beeter than the Honda would have been.

    But I still think that with a full winter of testing and Honda’s vast resources being pumped in throughout the season, the team would have been even more dominant, and they would have sustained their dominance over the entire season rather than the first 7 races.

    1. a full winter of testing and Honda’s vast resources being pumped in throughout the season

      Surely the point is that these “vast resources” were non-existent?

      1. The money was obviously there. Honda may have been badly hit by the recession, but not so badly that they couldn’t give Ross Brawn £120 million to run Brawn GP this year.

        Also, by winning the championship this year Honda would have earned about £300 million, both in TV rights (something like £100 million) and in good publicity (worth £200 million according to a media monitoring company)

        1. Also, by winning the championship this year Honda would have earned about £300 million

          Sure, but if you were on the board of directors for Honda, would you vote to stay in F1 for another year banking on a possible championship win? Sounds risky to me.

          Besides, although £120m is a lot of money to you and me and no doubt as much as Honda could justify, it would have cost considerably more to run the team this year. Something Honda evidently could not afford.

          As many here have already said, hindsight is a wonderful thing. That’s why I propose we leave this ludicrous game of “what if.”

      2. The resources were there if they were willing to declare losses just to continue like Toyota did. If I remember correctly, the pulling out was instrumental in stabilising their P and L figures which explains the major pressure on Toyota to do the same…

        But in any case the resources were there. :)

  18. What happened is what happened and hindsight will not help. I dont think that the Japanese company setup shows up well in the motor racing world and am surprised that Toyota are still plugging on.
    Regrets are that Honda did not ask for rear wing badging once they knew that the cars were good, surely Ross would have given that to them and that Rubens is moving on though no doubt as team leader.

  19. Regarding the double diffuser, and the argument that had the Honda/Brawn been out testing earlier its superior pace would have led to either its banning or other teams developing their own version, remember that the double diffuser appeared from the first on the Williams and the Toyota, and the advantage both on paper and on the track which it is gave to them at that early stage was clear for all to see, albeit not quite as devastating as the advantage it gave the Brawns when they finally hit the track. As I understand it, the other teams were reluctant in going down the double diffuser track because they believed it was illegal, but they could not get an definitive decision on this until the stewards at an official event, ie. the Australian Grand Prix, gave their verdict. The stewards gave it the thumbs up of course, so the complainants took it to the Court of Appeal, which sided with the double diffuser teams. This meant that the affair dragged on well into the start of the season, by which time Brawn had been cleaning up in the early races while the others were left waiting on the Appeal Court’s decision, unsure whether to plough their development funds into a concept that may well have been outlawed.

    Would this have played out differently had Honda not pulled the plug? It’s impossible to say for sure, but I doubt it. As Williams and Toyota demonstrated, it doesn’t matter how early the double diffuser appeared, the fact that the procedure allows only for technical ambiguities to be formally protested to the grand prix stewards meant that final clarification would have arrived no sooner than it actually did. In my view, this way of working is definitely flawed, and a lot of time and money could have been saved had the FIA been able to rule on the matter during winter testing.

    1. My only comment here would be that if Honda has turned up with the RA109 and been as devastatingly quick as Brawn turned out to be, then the non-ddd teams may have decided that they couldn’t afford NOT to develope their own version earlier…

  20. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    21st October 2009, 12:45

    I still think it’s amazing that Brawn managed to shoe-horn the Merc engine into their chassis and be so competitive straight away.. Our (Britain) economy may be up-the-spout, manufacturing almost disappeared, but we’ve still got the best engineering minds and talent in the world.

    1. we’ve still got the best engineering minds and talent in the world.

      Yeah, course…A shame a F1 car is not a mass market product. (come on, best engineers in the worlds? really? Solely based on where F1 cars are developped?)

      1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
        21st October 2009, 14:37

        come, come, now let’s not the green eyed monster rear its head.

    2. Who says there are only british engineers at Brawn GP? F1 is an international sport

      1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
        21st October 2009, 14:39

        doubt it.

        1. I’m sure of it… not just british..

          1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
            22nd October 2009, 20:02

            probably not

  21. First of all there is the matter of the Honda engine, whether it would have been as competitive as the Mercedes (almost certainly not). There is also the question of what damage Honda’s unorthodox management structure had caused the team previously (in my view, a lot).

    But particularly of interest is the fact that, once Honda withdrew from the 2009 world championship, Brawn were not an entrant and could therefore flout the rules on development as they wished (full-scale wind tunnel models, etc.) Whether or not they did this I don’t know. But they could have – and if they did, what difference did it make to their competitiveness?

  22. I don’t think Honda would have secured either title had they stayed in.

    But Brawn GP owe a lot to Honda for the base they built on, the vast funds from last year, not to mention the severance money to keep them afloat for the one season.

    Even if they had had the exact same staff and set-up, had Brawn been an entirely new team it would not have done anywhere near as well. So Honda didn’t throw anything away, but in essence “gave” the championships to Brawn.

  23. Honda is often praised for being the “best of the Japanese car manufacturers” because it was formed by a man, not a corporation. This gives Honda a passion for making automobiles which other Japanese car manufacturers just don’t have. The decision to pull the plug on Honda’s F1 team was definitely made by the accountants, and wasn’t made by people in the team who must have known they were onto a good thing with the RA109/BGP001.

    It just goes to show that you shouldn’t let accountants dabble in sport.

    As much as I dislike Toyota’s passenger cars I really admire them for not pulling the plug on their F1 team which has really failed to live up to the board’s expectations… I may have just spoken too soon though seeing as their budget for 2010 hasn’t been agreed yet! ;-)

    I’m prety sure the RA109 would have still been quick with a Honda engine in the back. Maybe it wouldn’t have been “class of the field” quick, but it certainly would have been a regular points scorer/podium finisher and may have managed a win or two.

  24. Excellent article, Keith.

    I believe that Brawn would not have won without Honda’s infinte money. But I also believe that Brawn would not have won with Honda’s engines. This year showed that Mercedez engines were much better than the rest.

    Brawn got the best of both worlds when they had Honda’s money but not Honda’s engines. But most importantly, which you rightly mentioned, was the timing of Brawn’s absence from the testing scene in January-February.

    Although, Toyota and Williams had shown that the double decker diffuser had pace, they weren’t consistently fast enough to prove the worth of the diffuser. Brawn proved that the DDD was indispensable. But it was too late for the other teams by then.

    Also, I have a slight feeling that Nick Fry had more say in matters when Honda were boss which contributed to Honda’s dismal form. Once Ross Brawn had autonomy, he probably showed Nick Fry his place and took matters in his own hands. I am not saying Nick Fry should be shown the door, but he is certainly not in the same league as Ross Brawn.

  25. The article sums up most of what I was going to, when I first read the title, as I think it will go down as a big what if people will debate with strong arguments on both sides.

    Would the engine equalisation before the season have meant that the Honda engine wouldn’t have been as bad people think it would have been?

    Even if the Honda engine had been poor, did the advantages of the Mercedes unit make up for all the compromises made fitting it to the chassis.

    Did the streamlining of management outweigh the advantages they would have had of the full Honda budget, the BBC blog quoted in the article said that Brawn only built three chassis all year and didn’t build any to correct the compromises made for the Mercedes engine because finances were tight.

    Also Honda had been developing their own KERS system, if they had not quit they would have been more likely to use it, how would this have changed things.

    I defiantly think that Barrichello’s experience helped them with things such as setup decisions, as it was said that Button often Barrichello’s setup at least in the early races. But then if they had had a full testing program would it have been as much of an issue, for example I remember the commentators saying the first time the car had run in the wet was at Malaysia.

    Before Honda announced they were pulling out I thought they would be competitive this season because of all the time and resources they had put into their 2009 car. Because of having to change engine late on and not testing much I thought Brawn would be midfield, but I wasn’t totally shocked when they were setting good lap times straight away in winter testing.

    1. Would the engine equalisation before the season have meant that the Honda engine wouldn’t have been as bad people think it would have been?

      Weren’t only Renault allowed to tweak their engine between 2008 and 2009? I don’t remember the same favour being offered to Honda.

      1. IIRC Keith it was offered to Honda but then became academic when Honda withdrew. Can’t swear to it, but sure I read something – probably on Grandprix.com who are pretty reliable – that after Renault were given permission, Honda requested and were given an OK.

      2. Honda was entitled to retuning their engine, just like Renault. AFAIK, Brawn ended up with nearly 80 bhp more when they switched to Mercedes engines.

  26. It’s obvious that Jenson Button is the legitimate world champion but I doubt that he is the best driver. A bit of number crunching reveals why the champion is being questioned so much. Opening 7 races of 2009: 6 wins from 7 races (85.71%); Rest of Career: 1 win from 164 races (0.00609%). The sole win of his pre 2009 career was a weather affected affair. It is normal to question whether JB’s trophy is due to his brilliance, the double diffuser advantage at the start of the season, the fact that this car had been 2 years in the making (most of 2008 plus 09), the beast of a Mercedes engine, Rubens’ setting up of the Brawn or a combination of all of the above.

    1. The best drivers still show up even in average equipment. Alonso in Japan 2008 and Hamilton and Kimi this year. But still I have to give Button credit for the passes he made in Brazil. He finally earned my respect although I thought it was weak to whinge about Kobayashi. Just take the rookie to school Jenson!

  27. the brand ‘HONDA’ is much greater and more recognised than ‘BRAWN GP’, so perhaps if Honda stayed, they could have benefited alot more financially. (provided the car would still be competitive)

  28. None of this success story would have happened without the massive contribution of Jean Todt. His inspired management decision that Ross was superflous at Ferrari made the whole thing possible.

    1. I’d disagree. If anything, it’s Luca di Montezemolo who we should be crediting. He picked Stefano Domenicali to be the new Ferrari team principal over Ross. As Todt was on his way out (some say not in good terms with LDM), I doubt he had much say in the decision.

    2. Hang on!

      Congratulate Jean Todt and Luca Di Monty for getting rid of Ross Brawn and “Making the whole thing possible”… that’s going a wee bit too far don’t you think!

      1. I’d like to thank Ross’ Mum and Dad without whom none of this would have been possible… ;-)

        1. I’ll drink to that, or anything else for that matter (I’m an alcoholic).

  29. There’s no clear answer to the question – it’s destined to become another of F1’s great conjectures to chew on with a few mates down the pub.

    that answers really Keith, and the fact that the delay in testing gave them a head start on the DD…

  30. schumi the greatest
    21st October 2009, 13:50

    i think you’ve got to remeber how important an engine is to the performance on an f1 car.

    How many times ive heard experts say that a certain car was efficient but suffered from a lack of grunt.

    Its not just straight line speed from the engine though because the engine influences cornering alot. If the engine delivers the power to aggressivley then coming out of slow corners the driver will be fighting massive slides and wheelspin which costs time.

    I also think that the lack of japanese management defintiley helped along with alot of other things like the car only testing a few times so other teams couldnt see what was happening.

    I dont think brawn will be as good next year, maybe best of the rest behind ferrari and mclaren. The circumstances surronding this years championship make it too unique i dont think they can do it again

    1. Indeed. Thank goodness that the FIA is here to save the day by ensuring that all engines have exactly the same performance. After all, that’s what F1 is about!


  31. I still think, that due to one of Honda’s reasons for leaving being the lack of engine development permitted(the japanese and most OEMs in F1 do it alot to show off their engine building ability) was not substantial enough for them to continue just funding a poor performing race team, if they could carry on working magic and end up with a decent powerplant to speak for it they may have stayed longer.

    Why did they not stipulate that this year the team was Honda the chassis constructor/race team, with another engine in the back. Running a Honda Racing F1-Mercedes or Brawn Honda Racing F1-Mercedes, surely when the team (Brawn, Fry and co) were negogiating the management ‘buy-out’, where Honda leaves them with this years budget(maybe through negogiation added a few million extra). Either way everyone knew the reason they were funding them as they didnt want to lose face too much/pay for 650-700 redundancies.

    The car was developed by the Honda Racing F1 team, as were the previous cars, it never was by honda the parent company, but as they were leaving they could at least add value to the final years ‘throwing away money’ period? thats what i would have done

    1. A Honda-Merc? That’s crazy. It would be like Honda admitting they can’t make a good engine. They’d either compete with a Honda engine, or not compete at all.

      1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
        21st October 2009, 18:38

        Honda pretty much admitted that by pulling out of F1.

  32. It’s hard to guess whether the team would have been just as successful as Honda. I see a lot of “maybe, maybe not” factors in there. The car, for example, could have functioned better without having to compromise, arguably, significant portions of the design to accomodate the change, however, if there had indeed been a significant performance differential between, say, the Honda and the Mercedes engine actually used, these two factors might have canceled each other out.

    The drivers are a similar point. Barrichello’s experience was valuable to the team, on the other hand, had Honda remained and chosen to run Senna, he could have had the full amount of pre-season testing to get ready for his job, putting him in a position at least far better than any of the rookies who did debut mid-season this year. If he had delivered good performances, a young, motivated team mate might have pushed Button to the same results he was as things happened.

    And so on, and so forth…

    I agree it’s an interesting topic for speculation, but I suppose there really can’t or won’t be anything else than that. (Unless someone were to devise a machine that can help us tap into some alternate universes.)

  33. Prisoner Monkeys
    21st October 2009, 14:09

    Honda had to make a decision based on what they knew at the time. They had just endured two embarrassing seasons – the RA107 and RA108 were two of the worst cars in the sport’s history – they were losing money because of the well-meaning but fatally-flawed Earth Dreams concept, and the RA109 chassis had never been on-track. There was no way they could know that the car was a championship winner, and there was no guarantee the car would win either championship if hey ran it. I’m led to believe that the Honda engine they would have used was not in the league of the Mercedes, and while carving up the back end to make the Mercedes engine might have meant the car was less-than-optimal at the rear end, the Honda engine could have been just as detrimental, if not worse.

    1. Spot on!

      Now let’s celebrate in Brawn’s successes and leave this hindsight-fuelled game of “what if.”

  34. They gained through reliability which was essential given they did no testing

  35. I think the mercedes engine is indeed a better engine I think.
    That might have helped them… but I do think the development rate would have been higher if Honda stayed.

    But hell we now have a good racing team not backed by carmaker… not yet tough :)

  36. theRoswellite
    21st October 2009, 14:44

    If you cut out all the fat surrounding this little piggy you have a few acorns which will remain for years:

    Honda did blow it. Over the years they spent zillons on an F1 team, then walked away moments before the ultimate double success. In the long term it may be seen as a metaphor for the inability of huge corporations to simply “spend” their way to a championship. (although Toyota may have already acquired pride of place in this dubious category)

    The car design was the base from which all good things followed. It was originally (and for a long enough time)faster, considerably, than the other guys. Period.

    The prowess of Ross Brawn, not just as a technical mave, but as an organizational genius…………….now places him in very rarefied company.

    And, a side note which should certainly be pointed out…

    The REALLY big losers this year?……….Red Bull.

    They have finally defeated both McLaren and Ferrari, and yet are denied by a stepchild of a team…certainly a bitter pill to take, even if you get your energy drinks for free.

  37. It’s the engine; and another key factor: not all teams could exploit the rules equally.

    The Mercedes factory team was hamstrung because their squad was in the FIA doghouse. There was no way Whitmarsh was going to turn up in Australia with a diffuser design that other teams were going to scream bloody murder about. The FIA would have cleaned their clocks. For its part, recalling the whole bendy-floor business, Ferrari was also likely gun-shy about pushing into a clear gray-area of the rules and suffering a major development set-back

    This was the the jump-start Brawn needed and took. Woking, and to a lesser degree Ferrari, developed a car that was than miles off the pace into a race-winner, without private track testing. Brawn is brilliant technical director, but this tells you where the superior engineering resources are on the grid. McLaren had other aero issues early on, but, clearly, with the same motor, plus KERS, if they had a double diffuser-concept car, they would have been fairly dominant by mid-season. This season is where the team really paid the price for Stepney-gate.

  38. Honda most certainly did not throw away a championship. Had they continued on with team ownership they would not have been successful this year. The primary reason being that the team was overwhelmed with huge bureaucratic infrastructure. They probably had to have a board meeting to decide where the portable toilets were to be positioned. In addition to the reasons stated by Keith in the above piece, the absense of Honda’s corporate stucture immediately allowed the team to function in a fast, streamlined, decisive manner when implementing decisions impacting the day to day functions of the race team.

  39. Accidental Mick
    21st October 2009, 16:02

    Forgive me for going a bit off the point but this is a gripe I have had with the FIA for a long time.

    To his credit, Ross Brawn pointed out the loop hole regarding the rear diffuser last year when the rules were first published.Three teams backed his standpoint and developed double diffusers. The others didn’t.

    The FIA, when asked, should say, in advance, if something will be deemed acceptable. They refuse and will not give a decision until srutineering at the first race. This will always cost some teams money as the teams who have gone done the wrong route have to play catch up.

    I know this is an extreme case but it was this stance of the FIA that forced Ken Tyrrell out of F1. He spent a year developeing that awesome six wheel car and everone knew. Even the tabloid press discussed it. Yet on the first race of the season it was declared illegal and a new rule was introduced limiting the number of wheels to four. The Turell team never recovered.

    This is no way to run aprofessional sport.

    1. I know this is an extreme case but it was this stance of the FIA that forced Ken Tyrrell out of F1. He spent a year developeing that awesome six wheel car and everone knew. Even the tabloid press discussed it. Yet on the first race of the season it was declared illegal and a new rule was introduced limiting the number of wheels to four. The Turell team never recovered.

      I’m not sure you’ve got that right. The Tyrrell six wheeler ran for two years (1976-77) but what killed it was a lack of front tyre development. The concept was intended to reduce drag from the front wheels while increasing the overall tyre footprint. It worked well enough to run competitively and even win a race.

      But it was ultimately a dead end. Goodyear provided custom made front tyres, but couldn’t justify putting the same amount of time developing them and they inevitably fell behind the normal tyres in terms of grip and durability. The six wheeler was also notoriously tricky to set up, not a brilliant characteristic with Ronnie Peterson (fast but not technical) as your lead driver.

      The concept was dead in the water, but Tyrrell went on for more than 20 years – what really did for it as a competitive force was the ballast scandal of the mid-1980s and its opposition to turbo engines.

      F1 cars weren’t restricted to four wheels until the early 1980s, around the time Williams was experimenting with its own six wheeler – but this had four back wheels, not four fronts. Even this wasn’t a totally new concept – March had wheeled out a prototype a few years before, although it was more of a publicity stunt.

      1. Just a quick sidebar to your comment. Back in the mid ’70’s I saw the Tyrrell six-wheeler run at the Canadian GP at Mosport. Cool car. Funny thing happened after, I believe qualifying, someone made off with the front tires! A plea was issued to please have whoever took them to return them so the cars could participate in the next days race. (I presume with no questions asked as long as they were returned.) Sunday, race day, came and the Tyrrells lined up for the GP so I can only assume someone either found them or they were indeed returned.

      2. Accidental Mick
        25th October 2009, 11:21

        @ Tim

        I stand corrected. Thank you – you obviously have a better memory than I.

        But I still hold to the point that teams should be given the right to ask for clarification of the rules before race day.

  40. Fundamental to their success was being able to unilaterally make decisons without passing them up and down the management chain in a different time zone. Yes the Honda engine was 70bhp down on Mercedes and yes the DD was an allowed cheat but the key to consistency was being dynamic. No team really managed it this year when horses really were for courses but Brawn, if not Button, were at or very near to the front every race.

  41. Not sure about these ‘What if?’ pieces. Makes an interesting read but not discussion.

  42. what ifs are that and we will never know.

  43. Had Honda stayed, and the team stuck to a regular testing programme, its rivals would have known as early as January that the RA109 (not the BGP 001) was quick. It may have led them to develop double diffusers of their own more quickly, preventing Honda/Brawn from running away with all bar one of the first seven races, and changing the outcome of the championship.

    Keith didn’t they see the double diffusers from Toyota and Williams on the early tests??? And knowing this weren’t they tempted of using this loophole of the regulations?? Who prevented them of constructing their own double diffusers??

    1. Paige Michael-Shetley
      21st October 2009, 19:49

      The story actually goes that a Honda engineer who came up with the DDD concept went to Toyota and brought it with him.

    2. When Brawn finally went testing in March, they were immediately wuicker than everyone else.

      When Toyota and Williams tested their cars they weren’t that far ahead, if they were ahead at all.

      There’s links back to the 2009 pre-season testing articles here so you can have a look: https://www.racefans.net/2009/03/18/2009-f1-testing-march-18th/

      1. Thenaks Keith for the link, great to look at that article as I had not found this site at that point. :)

  44. Radical compromises by Brawn at the last minute, scary for everyone else to imagine what they will produce with all teething problems out of the way, and being Mercedes prefered team.

    Hard to evaluate the team moral aspect of having survived, making sacrifices for a car tyey belive in which then cleans up.

    I suspect the lack of heavy heirarchy and corporate control frees a team significantly, when its full of so much talent, Im sure its beneficial for them to have freedom in all operations.

    If Honda cant make an engine that keeps up, of course they could not have done this without having switched to Merc. Someone mentioned 70bhp, thats almost the diff between KERS active or dormant, the whole all lap, each and every lap! No chance, wonder why they even bothered.

  45. We will never know, I think they would have probably win it – especially the WCC championship. Brawn dropped significantly after first half of the season and with Honda funding they could have developed the car better during the season.

  46. Paige Michael-Shetley
    21st October 2009, 19:47

    I think they would have been just as good. Brawn was pretty much given autonomy anyways, which he used to cease development on the RA108 early and concentrate on the 2009 challenger. The car was developed by Honda, too.

    I don’t know how bad the Honda engine really was. Was it on par with the Merc? No. But Honda didn’t exactly have the least draggy car in the field in 07 and 08, either, so that didn’t help.

  47. I think it will be so exciting to have Mercedes play an increasingly important role in Brawn

  48. Keith-you point out many of the circumstances-some deliberate and some accidental-that led to Brawn’s success.
    I particularly like your point that the team missed early testing. As you cleverly explain, this WOULD have led to an earlier airing out of the diffuser issue between the teams, which would have diluted Brawn’s advantage, for sure.
    Thanks for quoting the Brawn engineer who spoke of the particular compromise in the car using the Mercedes engine-I have been wondering about this all year.
    Watching the Brawns honking down the Interlagos straights, I felt no way would the Honda engine measure up.
    Reubens-and Jensons-experience and attitude was indispensible and well suited to this task. Sometimes failure teaches you more than does success.
    In all, it was a “perfect storm” of wildly different variables that resulted-amazingly-in triumph in this most tightly and highly engineered series.

  49. The Sri Lankan
    21st October 2009, 22:39

    No way! brawn won because of the Merc engines. had the honda turned up with the Ra109 they would have been fighting toyta,ferrari and mclaren. for sure there would have been wins. but we are getting ahead of ourselves when we talk about championships. i cant help but think if the Toyota engine was on par with the Merc where they would be by now. they are blistering fast. even at this stage of the season and not getting any credit for it. surely a 5th place in the championship shows that toyota was beaten to the 3rd and 4th spot by cars with kers

  50. so they hacked off this and that and the gearbox is in the wrong place.. does that infer 1) it could have potentially be even faster if everything was designed around the merc engine or 2) everything was designed wrong but after they accidently made those changes it became quick ?

    1. Watch this space :)

      I think the Jagwar effect was to blame – Too many chiefs – and even then they couldn’t get it together.
      But I think the Mercedes engine was the deciding factor.

      1. That is Honda, pre-brawn of course

  51. Personally, I think the Mercedes engine has been a little overplayed.

    It was the aero package that really stood out from race one for the Brawn, and it still would have been fighting for race wins with a Honda lump. That’s not to say the Merc wasn’t helping of course!

    I also think if Bruno Senna was in the car, that would have taken away a threat to Jenson for this season at least.

    All in all, if they were Honda I think it would have been vs Red bull all the way to the final race. The Merc engine ended it a little earlier.

  52. Firstly I don’t think Honda engine would have perform better than Mercedes,but the the aerodynamics would have been same so the car would have been good.
    Secondly yes if Honda have tested their car from January many teams like Mclaren & Ferrari would have developed double diffuser from the start of the season.
    But I am dissapointed about the fact that we loose a Manufacturer from F1,with the exit of BMW next year we are left with Ferrari,Renault,Toyota,& Mclaren.Even both Renault & Toyota still to confirmed.

  53. Honda = Fail

    1. Hona + Brawn = Success.

  54. Had Honda stayed, and the team stuck to a regular testing programme, its rivals would have known as early as January that the RA109 (not the BGP 001) was quick.

    Interesting view, I never thought about it and you probably are quite right.

    On the other hand, I have another theory:

    I think Max Mosley benefited Brawn GP because he wanted to use it as a good example of how an small team can be winner in order to support his capped budget proposal at that time, not forgetting he was trying to destroy FOTA unity also.

    So, if Honda had not left F1, I’m not sure FIA would have accepted double diffusers.

    1. Had Honda stayed, and the team stuck to a regular testing programme, its rivals would have known as early as January that the RA109 (not the BGP 001) was quick.

      I agree with this statement. Interesting point. Also the Max Mosley benefit makes sense regarding the diffusers.

      And another important point was that the Mercedes engine deal was approved by the FIA for the very reason of the strugle:


      In addition it could be also argued that the mere fact all of the staff of the Honda team were faced with the sack, this gave that extra energy and boost for them to work hard on the development. Everybody was fighting for the survival of their jobs and this really meant that everybody had to give 100%. In other words, change of circumstances and pressure changes the way in which people approach and do their jobs.

      So overall: Did Honda throw championship away?

      Answ: No.

      I think Honda would not have been as competitive as Brown, since many of the circumstances following this transition would not have taken place. So there is very high chance that Honda would have been slow.

  55. I dont think you can underestimate the role of the team principal. Nick Fry was woeful for the years he was in charge- what is he anyway by trade? i think a car plant manager. Its no coincidence that in the year they (BAR) had Dave Richards (what is he doing out of the sport?) they had podiums, if not wins, a plenty.

    Williams have still not really recovered from Patrick Head taking a seat upstairs, Ferrari have gone backwards after Todt as have Mclaren after Dennis..Of course there is always 20 reasons given why the lack of form is because of this or that but fundamentally the winning mentality seeps down from the team principal. Get the appointment wrong and you can have all the double diffusers you want, you wont win.

  56. Anyone who has worked with/in a Japanese corporate environment knows that nothing remotely as creative and fast as needed to be successful in F1 can come out of it.
    Half of the time the team principals will be occupied with reporting to the mothership and explaining obvious things over and over again. Add to this possible directives from Japan which have to be followed without any consideration to reality.
    In order to be successful the Japanese company culture and politics have to be completely removed from the development process and the daily running of the team. When it comes to manufacturing however, this can/should be done in Japan.
    Ah yes, I’m in no way a burned child of Japanese corporate culture whatsoever! ;-)

  57. Simple answer is no, this is a team built from the ashes of Honda, also the honda engine probably would not have been as reliable as the Mercedes engine. This is about a magnificent job done by Brawn, not Honda.

  58. I think Honda have been slightly hard done by. Ok the way they operate may not be condusive to winning grand prix’s but they made the decision not to fold the team when there was no buyer and committed to 100 mill of funds despite their name being taken off the car. Thats a big act of philanthropy in anyones book.

    Also, lets not forget Hondas engine was as good as there was in F1 in the 80’s so its not that they’ve not got talented engineers it would appear they just cant join everything together as well as German or British run teams.

  59. From Japanes point of view, Honda’s dicision was correct.
    After they pulled out F1, Honda’s image in Japan is improving, because they switch thire promotion cost from F1 to environmental project.
    Honda now focus on what is important for Humanbeing’s future. They are not interested in emitting CO2 at track!

    The idea that Honda’s withdrawal form F1 was the big mistake was worng, Racing in not so important for ordinaly Japanese people. Honda just choose what people need(environmental techinology)

    Honda’s new hybrid car is so popular in Japan now.

  60. Honda and Toyota are the two most advanced hig-tech car maker in the world. thire technology is far beyond BMW,Renount, even Mercedes not to mention Fiat.

    But Honda and Toyota could not succed in F1.
    It means modern F1 has nothing to do with car making techinology any more.

    Being fast in race trac is valuabule in this environment age?

    Europian people shuld think about the meaning of F1 and motersports. F1’s regulation is less environmental.

  61. People don’t seem to be taking into account the lack of continuous development resources at Brawn this year. They started ahead but were caught up by the summer and second fastest car for the second half of the season. With Honda backing they would have been able to continue development throughout the year and maintained any advantage they had. Personally I think they would have been as strong as the McLaren of the late 1990s when Hakkinen was dominant. This car wasn’t built for a Mercedes engine, it was built for the Honda set up. As a result performance was lost in all areas. Yes there may have been more durability issues with the Honda engine over the year but I don’t think they would have made that much of a difference.

    Essentially it was a Honda FAIL!

  62. Bahjat Tabbara
    15th December 2010, 9:14

    Honda F1 may or may not have dominated. Clearly Mercedes power is superior to Honda power, but if the team had not competed at all then Toyota and Williams would have claimed wins. Toyota had a tendency to start strongly only to have a dismal mid-season & occasionally a late season surge. On this occasion wins would have been possible.

    I am guessing that Honda would have not been stupid to replace Rubens with Bruno; while also would have had the KERS (which may or may not have added much; but again its use would have depended on performance) thus I believe Honda and Toyota would have dominated the first six races (before other teams hurried hasty double-diffusers), while the rest of the season it would have been fairly close & competitive with their initial edge dropped. Honda-engines also aren’t as reliable as Mercedes, so again that leaves a big question mark.

    Ultimately it also boils down to the quality of the drivers. With all due respect to Jarno or Timo; or for that matter Nico & Kazuki, none have the depth of Jenson & Rubens; in fact, on paper both Jenson & Rubens are much better drivers than the other lads. One wonder if Toyota had attracted (say) Kimi or Fellipe, or even Lewis to drive for them.

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