Honda “confirm” plan to return with McLaren in 2015

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In the round-up: Further claims Honda will return as an engine manufacturer in 2015 with McLaren.


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McLaren leaves door open for Honda (Autosport)

“Honda sources have confirmed to Autosport that it plans to return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier to McLaren.”

Lewis Hamilton: I’m either hated or loved… (Daily Mail)

“Go to Spain and people generally hate me there. Whether it was something I said about Fernando [Alonso] or something he said to the people about me, they do not forget and you are branded.”

Lewis Hamilton plans to build a legacy as a great – and a museum too (The Guardian)

“It is a different era and I am not Ayrton Senna. I am my own personality, but I hope that I will have that greatness.”

Performance takes priority over reliability – Whitmarsh (NBC)

“Whitmarsh said McLaren are ‘constantly vigilant’ about improving their car’s reliability. ‘But we mustn’t become so obsessed by the pursuit of reliability that we don’t change the car.'”

Sam Michael Q&A (Sky)

“If I said, ‘We’ve got a new rear wing’, for example, there might be two reasons why we don’t run a new rear wing: it might not have correlated well or something else happened in the tunnel that changed our understanding and that wing became obsolete very quickly. So we’ve learnt from past experience not to say what the actual upgrades are until they’ve actually done the grand prix.”

Australians unhappy at paying ??23m fee for race (The Times, subscription required)

“Bernie Ecclestone will fly into Melbourne this week facing calls to cut his ??23 million race fee to save the future of the Australian Grand Prix.”

Formula One Betting: Pre-season Tips (Unibet)

My column for Unibet is back – here are the pick of the pre-season bets on the championship and the first race of the year.

Martin Brundle: Sebastian Vettel’s the best (Express)

Martin Brundle: “Max [Chilton] deserves a shot. He’s got a strong personality. I don’t see him as another Hamilton, but you can emerge from tail-end teams and we’ll see if he can do that.”

A lesson on how to drive on ice… Kimi Raikkonen style… (Lotus via YouTube)

Could we be in for a shock in Melbourne? (Intelligent F1)

“If there is to be a surprise, it is most likely to come from Williams, and I would expect them to be the only interlopers within the top ten (under normal circumstances) from this midfield pack.”


Comment of the day

@Bullmello has high hopes for Williams this year:

It would be great to see the Williams team have a competitive and productive season. Long one of my favourite teams, it is refreshing to see an underdog (privateer without the massive resources of the ultra-rich manufacturers) with so much potential going into a new season.

The car looks quite promising and the drivers are the definition of partially unrealised potential and a largely unknown quantity in F1 competition, yet good experience with the car and team. Maldonado should realise his potential this season and I think he will.

I think Bottas could be one of the better young drivers to come along in a while. How could any F1 fan not be excited about what the Williams team brings to 2013!

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Daniel, Garf, Michael Griffin, Monkzie, nitin24 and Obi-Spa Kenobi!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

It was a busy day’s testing for several teams on this day ten years ago. Cristiano Da Matta was quickest for Toyota at Jerez. Meanwhile Ferrari entrusted their car development to test driver Felipe Massa at Fiorano.

Image © Honda

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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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131 comments on “Honda “confirm” plan to return with McLaren in 2015”

  1. McLaren Honda? Oh, yeah!

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      12th March 2013, 0:07

      Hire Brunno Senna for a day, and paint the car in white and red. That would be so heart-sobbing and a little creepy too!

      1. Unfortunately, Bruno changed his helmet mid-last year.

        1. That was only due to a sponsor tie-in with Williams, He’ll be back to running his usual Helmet this year.

    2. David not Coulthard (@)
      12th March 2013, 0:59

      Rings better than McLaren Cosworth!

    3. Somehow, even after re-reading the article I failed to see where Honda sources confirmed anything. However that does not mean it is not true. For Honda adding an extra pair of cylinders to their V4 MotoGP engine and re-working for extra cylinder pressure and coolant capacity will be a doddle, I suspect McLaren will want to design the electric side of things so the powerplant will be a Honda/McLaren collaboration.

      1. Probably the bit where it says

        Honda sources have confirmed to AUTOSPORT that it plans to return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier to McLaren.

        Of course that’s a bit vague, but a lot less “rumour-y” than what has been printed before.

        1. @ral you made me laugh, thank you

        2. @ral, if you read that in the Autosport article you have better eyes than I do.

          1. @ral, pardon me, should have re-read the article after 8hrs. sleep before responding, but my point is that there is nothing to back-up that statement in the text of the article or a link to any official anouncement from Honda.

      2. I cant take any rumour until it comes from martin brundle mouth

      3. there is that one line that Keith quoted in the description of the article. Nothing more @hohum.

      4. So, extra pair of cylinders and that’s it huh? under such a simplistic interpretation, why not go for the even easier ‘stick in an indy engine’ one?

  2. Martin, you really, really do. If you had done last year you could have won both championships…

    1. But who’s to say if they *had* focused on reliability, they’d be leading the pack?

      Still, don’t forget that the majority of McLaren’s cock-ups were operational and/or fuel-pump failures.

      Yes, Hamilton threw a few gearboxes, which can be construed as genuine unreliability, but fuel-pump failures are less a ‘McLaren’ problem because they’re part of the Mercedes engine package, just like the Renault alternator failure(s) can’t be laid at the feet of either Lotus or Red Bull – the respective car packages didn’t help, but it wasn’t their problem to solve.

  3. Kimi sounds like a horrible back seat driver! Best personality in F1, so glad he’s back.

    And McLaren Honda…
    That has a good ring to it.

    1. “Whatever you want, I don’t mind” – best driving instructor ever!

      1. And it makes for a great passenger!

        1. “Video is unavailable” :(

          1. …if I try to play it on the site (Safari OSX – opted in), but works fine in Chrome. Stupid web.

  4. Just a thought:
    Would a Honda powered McLaren mean an end to the silver paint?

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      12th March 2013, 1:21

      The livery is because of Vodafone

      1. The silver livery is because of McLaren according to their own statement. The same question was asked when Mercedes announced their own team and McLaren replied that it’s their livery which isn’t there just because of “silver arrow” angle. Vodafone hardly has anything to do with silver, but I’d welcome a change from that horible silver, red mish-mash, hit and miss theme.

        I wish they’d race in orange. Black and orange is an absolute killer color combination and is an actual McLaren color.

        1. So why were triple 8 cars silver/orange only under the vodafone sponsorship?

      2. I thought it was just the red and white that were due to Vodafone?

      3. No, the livery is a Mercedes thing.

      4. @lite992 – Only the red is Vodafone’s colour. The silver stems from Mercedes. McLaren picked it up when they started their relationship with the engine supplier back in the mid-1990s, but only changed it to chrome some time in the 2000s.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys

          Whilst the silver might stem from Mercedes, it’s more likely that it’s from “West”, the tobacco company that started sponsoring McLaren in 1997. If you remember rightly, McLaren ran with Merc engines during 1995/6, but still had their Marlboro sponsorship (with the iconic red/white).

          McLaren changed to all silver in 1997, along with West sponsorship. When that deal came to an end in 2005, McLaren painted the car chrome with a red accent on the wings (for Emirates) for 2006. Finally, in 2007, Vodafone joined giving us more red and the livery they’ve currently got.

          So really, their livery is an evolution (like all liveries). I personally think the 98/99 ones are the best looking though. Iconic.

          1. @uctq – I should have refereshed before commenting, at least my comment backs up what you said!

        2. @prisoner-monkeys the livery was unaffected by the switch to Mercedes engines and remained the Marlboro red & white until the change to West sponsorship which first brought in the silver livery (but with much more black and white than at present).

          The change to the current chrome sytling took place following the departure of West sponsorship and was likely influenced by a combination of the existing silver colour from the West design and the continued influence of Mercedes. So it can probably fairly be described as a McLaren livery but one borne of the influence of West and Mercedes.

    2. David not Coulthard (@)
      12th March 2013, 2:01

      I don’t kmow, we certainly won’t see cigar ads, so…

      1. David not Coulthard (@)
        12th March 2013, 2:02

        I don’t know – I’d love to see an edit button!

    3. Does this mean orange McLarens?

      1. David not Coulthard (@)
        12th March 2013, 5:03

        The first image was meant to be of a Honda R108, the 2nd of a Honda R107

      2. I think they might go for their classic McLaren-Honda livery: white with a red stripe – of course this livery isn’t directly a link between Honda and McLaren, but I guess most people associate McLaren-Honda with the red and white cars Senna and Prost used to drive.

        1. Thatclassic livery ismeanttolook like a pack ofmarlboro cigarettes.Might not be allowed.

          1. They can still use red and white without looking like a cigarette packet.

          2. i thought cigarette packets nowadays are pictures of emphysema and gangrene?!

          3. @sato113
            Honda’s racing colours tends to be white and red.
            Their last F1 cars (if you take off the green and blue), the BTCC cars, GTs, the Type-Rs…

            Also, Lotus went to the old black and gold livery, and williams with their 90s livery. So who knows?

        2. I think it’d be great if they did go with a red and white livery (obviously if they partner with Honda). Certainly as a homage to iconic liveries, as Lotus and Williams have done, but also because of Honda’s racing colours which are iconic of their country of origin.
          And I guess if Jenson is still part of the team, the fact that he has a Japanese girlfriend and huge interest and respect for Japan and its culture couldn’t hurt the team’s image or relationship with the motoring giant Honda.

      3. @mouse_nightshirt – Not necessarily. Colours are often decided by sponsors, so even if McLaren abandon the chrome look, it’s no guarantee that they will take that yellow-orange colouring. Honestly, I’d be very surprised if they did pick it up, since it’s very difficult to match with any colour before you even take into account a sponsor’s desires.

  5. Everyone complains that Kimi never smiles, let alone laughs, but I think he got a good, honest laugh out of that crash in the snow. :)

  6. Another engine supplier can only be a good thing for the sport, and a return for Honda with McLaren would be fitting. I’ve only ever really known McLaren with Merc engines so this would be a huge change indeed!

    I guess economics plays a role, but would McLaren be taking all the risks? By 2015 we’ll have had a year of the new regulations and McLaren will know the strengths and weaknesses of the 2014 engines and their suppliers. Would Honda becoming their supplier represent a potential unknown and a huge risk to their future competitiveness?

    1. Its a risk for 2015 but its worth it for works backing from manufacturer. Honda normally supply 2 teams, who else will they pick up?

    2. The current regulations make it almost impossible to make an uncompetitive engine.

      1. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that. I know that even now the current engines seem to have performance parity but there are minor differences. Take reliability for example. I’ve read comments on this site suggesting that reliability may take a nosedive next year when the engines get real world application. Honda might bungle it in 2015 and we’ll have McLaren with a competitive engine but terrible reliability while the other engines reliability improves having a full season under their belts.

      2. @hohum – the regulations don’t stop any manufacturer making an uncompetitive engine, the difference is that annual updates can be applied over time to remove any major disparity so if Honda didn’t get it right first time they should be competitive within a few years.

        I think the important point here is that Honda will have a further year to get it right, whilst the other manufacturers have a deadline one year sooner. Honda may have the benefit of seeing a range of other engines in action to help understand the relative importance of different aspects of the engine under the new formula.

        It makes much more sense for them to enter a year or two after the new regulations are introduced and take advantage of a situation which the current manufacturers can’t afford to.

        1. @jerseyF1, since the regulations stipulate the 90deg. V6 layout, bore and stroke, 4 poppet valves, single turbocharger etc.etc. and a fixed fuel supply curve, I find it highly unlikely that a company with Hondas design experience could not design an engine that burnt the available fuel as efficiently as any other engine manufacturer. Honda already have a 250cc per cylinder 18,000 rpm 90 deg V4 NA MotoGP engine that is currently the cream of the crop, for them to make a 266.666cc per cylinder 15,000 rpm 90 deg V6 Turbo engine using knowledge gained from their MotoGP engine would be a very simple and quick design excercise.

          1. @hohum
            I’ve got to agree with that, Honda make amazing engines and with the experience they’ve got I’d be very surprised if they weren’t right on the pace straight away.

          2. @hohum I’m not an expert on engine design, but wouldn’t they base the new V6 on their existing knowledge from the F1 V8 engines rather than a quite different bike engine design?

          3. @jerseyf1, I am not familiar with thedetails of the current F1 engines but they have a 300cc cylinder capacity for a start and an 18000 rpm limit, nearly all engine designs start with a single cylinder prototype to test how the gasses flow and I suspect the bore of the V8s is substantially bigger than the 80mm bore of the new V6s, the Honda MotoGP engine has a bore of 81mm so is much closer to the new engine and since it will be a lower rpm motor a slightly longer stroke should not be a problem.

  7. Go to Spain and people generally hate me there. Whether it was something I said about Fernando [Alonso] or something he said to the people about me, they do not forget and you are branded.

    I guess that happens (or used to happen) to some extent with Alonso in the UK. The thing is Alonso is Spain’s ONLY star. F1 had very little following before him. So anyone that spoils their kid’s life is generally looked as a villian. In the UK they’ve been watching F1 since the very first race, so they are more… erm… experienced? in what they see.

    I remember watching the 2008 Valencian GP, and it was all AlonsoAlonsoAlonsoAlonsoAlonsoAlonsoAlonso in the broadcast. And after he retired on the first lap, everyone left the table and did sommething else, cuz it was “unfair”. I have many friends over there, and most of them (not all ofc) are very very fans of Alonso, and it’s understandable, really.

    It’s like asking who’s better, Schumacher or Fangio to an argentinean.

    1. Good point, in Spain Alonso is the only real F1 star so it makes sense they would hate anyone that would get in his way, especially his team mate and a rookie! But I can definitely see same situation happening in other countries, can you imagine if Button made life difficult like that to Pérez? the Mexican GP wouldn’t be is favorite that’s for sure :)

    2. The’re a bit funny about Francis Drake as well.

    3. They must’ve really hated Hamiltion in Brazil, back in 2011^^

    4. I think that loving a driver doesn’t necessarily mean hating his fiercest rival. I don’t think I have ever really hated any driver.

      If Hamilton really said that (you have to be careful with anything that appears in tabloids), it’s an unfortunate choice of words. For sure, F1 fans are passionate people and a part of Alonso fans probably really hate his biggest rivals (I doubt if they love Vettel more than Hamilton though). But one shouldn’t insult the majority of fans that respect the drivers they don’t cheer for, too. And I’m not even mentioning the Spaniards that either are Hamilton fans or love the sport more than they love Alonso.

      1. I think that loving a driver doesn’t necessarily mean hating his fiercest rival. I don’t think I have ever really hated any driver.

        @girts many of us like or respectfully hate (or “don’t like”) certain drivers, but there’s a lot of fanboys out there. Fanboys tend to happen more in a country with only one star, a guy that changed the sport in that certain country forever.

        Not to mention the racism he suffered a while back in Barcelona.

        I don’t think what Hamilton says is far from truth, and I don’t think he chose the wrong words to describe it. It’s what it is…

    5. Im a Spaniard and I think Hamilton is one of the best drivers and I love all the spice he adds to the “show”. The sports would be much more less interesting if he were out of the sport. I think that F1 fans here in Spain we have learned to appreciate Hamilton’s skills. Is people who don’t really follow F1 (just show up when Alonso is winning) who are still fixed in Hamilton-hating. So basically I agree with Hamilton’s headline: you either love or hate him ;-)

      1. I agree. Here in Spain, most F1 fans have stopped hating Hamilton, and appreciate his skill.

      2. “Is people who don’t really follow F1 (just show up when Alonso is winning) who are still fixed in Hamilton-hating.”


        I’m English, and my ex gf is Spanish, she is a non F1 fan but had a hatred for Hamilton! which i think came from all the negative media between him and alonso in 2007. But when she took me to my first race in 2009, the Spanish fans seemed to give Hamilton good responses after the race on the slow-down lap, and we was sat in ‘alonsos stand’ after turn 7-8 chicane

    6. I remember the volume of cheers that went up when Hamilton retired so close to the end in Spain 2010.

  8. Button will be pleased.

    1. Button Says Oh No Not Again !!!!!!!!

      I thought I was done with them :)

  9. Why is it that Australia in particular, year on year, have to make a drama of the cost of their race and state how each year the current race could be the last blah blah… It’s not like the stands are empty in Australia, there is a huge following and a great show is put on regardless of the cost. Plus, it’s not like it’s easy for anyone to get to being so far out in the sticks! (Compared to the rest of the world that is).

    1. @nick-uk Because they love to stir the pot. The majority of people either a) Enjoy the Grand Prix too much to care about the cost or b) Just generally don’t care.
      It’s just the media generating stories, usually correlating to whining Victorian politicians or a few locals who have to leave for the weekend when the race is on or can’t “sail on the lake”.

      It’s a guaranteed story every year for the newspapers anyway. But it bores the bejesus out of everyone.

    2. Living in Australia it is safe to say that as much as they have a go about ‘whinging poms’ the average Australian has the ability to drone on more than a jet engine about absolutely nothing.

      Its not that I don’t want to understand their concerns more that I just don’t care.

      They waste so much money here subsidising a car industry making vehicles no one wants to buy that spending a bit more on the GP makes no real difference.

      I enjoy the GP here and at $99 for a child ticket up to 4 days in a grand stand its family friendly too.

      Keep it up Melbourne, a great city and a great GP.

    3. I think that price tag does worth some outrage…

    4. @nick-uk, I don’t remember the Govt of England offering Silverstone 23million quid when they were a bit short. How happy would the English taxpayer be to pay 23 million quid to have V8 supercars come over for a race?

      1. @hohum Well that’s not quite the same, Formula 1 is a global sport and we have a number of British drivers, successful ones at that. the V8s are an iscolated, purely Australian series which we have no ties to.

        1. @nick-uk, Apart from the word “Global” you could re-write your response from the average Australians point of view and it would be equally valid. F1 is based in the UK mostly, V8sc are based in Australia mostly, we havea couple of drivers in F1 also but many Australians are not interested in any motorsport and it has been a long time since anything for F1 has been manufactured here.

    5. I wouldn’t read too much into it. The Victorian government has undergone a change in leadership this past week, which the media see as their opportunity to put pressue on the premier to abandon the race.

    6. Michael Brown (@)
      12th March 2013, 13:52

      It’s some media outlet that likes to speak for all of Australia, even though they are just the vocal minority.

    7. Because we have the laziest journalists in the world. Just drag up last year’s copy and change the dates and numbers, run it again then off to lunch. You should check the lack of news coverage of the event on Channel 10, the people who actually have the national rights to the broadcast, virtually nothing. Yesterday we had Ricciardo on a boat – that was the extent of the coverage. Cripes!

  10. Why is it that Australia in particular, year on year, have to make a drama of the cost of their race

    Because we are a democracy with a vigorous press, becasue the fee is significant and the race runs at a loss each year despite the excellent attendance.. I think the cost is worth it, and the race clearly is popular with those who attend.

    So I support the cost, but I also support the right of those to question whether the significant public subsidy is justified. Of course, in places like Bahrain you won’t see the press ask questions like this, but that’s a different issue…

    1. Agreed but that vigorous press should have a look at the cost to the tax payer of almost all arts festivals. Sure, they don’t soak up 35 mill at a time but they certainly don’t make money.

  11. So McLaren really wants to “get rid” of Mercedes? Ok,word in the streets is engines are not that important this days so I guess they will do well.

    1. IIRC the new contract(s) between Mclaren and Merc are not as they used to be. I believe Mclaren are to become just another customer rarther than a works(ish) team. In a nutshell Merc want paying more.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        12th March 2013, 11:07

        Mercedes have their own engines as do Ferrari. Red Bull are Renault’s “first” team so McLaren risk being left behind.

        I would imagine any potential deal with Honda would involve them being treated as the preferencial customer with a sponsorship package to do with it. Honda don’t want a full blown F1 team but they’d love to have a car with their logo on winning races again.

  12. I think people are going to get a bit carried away with these McLaren-Honda stories. Take, for instance, the opening line of the Autosport story:

    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has left the door open for a switch to Honda engines in 2015 after refusing to confirm that it will continue with Mercedes beyond next season.

    Of course Whitmarsh isn’t going to commit to Mercedes in the long term! As has been well-documented, 2014 will see a new set of engine regulations. Why would McLaren commit to a Mercedes engine supply in the long term when they haven’t tested the next generation of Mercedes’ engines? It’s madness; after all, the engines might be terrible, and there is no way anyone in their right mind would commit to using them for the foreseeable future before they’ve had a chance to assess them.

    Similarly, look at the next line of the story:

    Honda sources have confirmed to Autosport that it plans to return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier to McLaren.

    They can plan all they want, but any engine they develop will again be subject to rigorous testing before anyone agrees to use them. Of course, the risk is greater for Honda, since they’re the ones who need to invest the money, but they’re going to have to demonstrate that they can produce an excellent engine. The RA808E engine was medicore to say the least (which wasn’t helped by the way the RA107 and RA108 chassis were seemingly designed to have the drag coefficient of a brick), but they’ll be up against Mercedes, when the FO108Z engine is arguably the best on the grid.

    It will certainly be interesting to see how this story develops, but I’m not counting on seeing a McLaren-Honda reunification in 2015, whatever some anonymous source says.

    1. As you quite rightly point out,the door has been left open for any (or no) engine, Briggs and Stratton maybe.

      1. David not Coulthard (@)
        12th March 2013, 5:00

        Rolls Royce?

    2. @prisoner-monkeys Hate to burst your bubble, but I think McLaren-Honda is 2015 is pretty much done and dusted. It’s just a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. There is no rush in announcing this – it’s not for another two years yet, and Mercedes won’t be too happy when this is confirmed, so might as well minimize the pain period.

      In any case, if I were McLaren, I’d love to have Honda onboard and have a direct say in how that engine would be developed – something they wouldn’t be able to do at Mercedes. 2014 resets the engine game, so any advantage now would be irrelevant then. One can argue that by waiting until 2015, Honda can observe what the other manufacturers do and avoid some of the mistakes they would make in Year 1.

      1. It’s just a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.

        Maybe – but there is still plenty that can go wrong there.

        1. Yeah. Like using the wrong colour crayon for Ron Dennis’s liking ^_~

        2. I agree with you here @prisoner-monkeys. In the world we live in, its even possible that Honda builds an engine, even puts it on the testbed, or even install it in a McLaren and find it should work perfectly, and even the financial side gets prepared nicely and to everyones good feelings, but still the Honda board (or McLaren board even) decide not to take the risk.

  13. @kcollantine I must admit, I was a little surprised with your title confirming (all though in quotes) the Honda engines in McLaren for 2015. as @prisoner-monkeys pointed out the opening sentences of either of the article does not explicitly state the fact. My surprise was that usually i have not seen you speculate on the rumor mills unless it is a concrete news. So is it a change of strategy of 2013 or is there some insider news that confirms this upcoming event :)

    I feel McLaren is playing hard ball with Mercedes. Mclaren indeed had some legacy with Honda but Mercedes has been their partner for the last 15 years. I would say a known devil is better than an unknown angel. McLaren knows that Mercedes do not want to lose them because they receive a lot of mileage from the McLaren name. what is the guarantee that Honda engines are going to be super hit off the blocks ? they are out of the F1 business for a few years now. agreed they are the leading supplier of engines to Indy car, F1 is a slightly different ball game. anyway good thing for Fans like us. keeps the speculation on and the interests growing.

    1. Oops Typo…. I meant @keithcollantine above.

    2. @tmax I don’t see anything wrong with the title. This is a direct quote from the AUTOSPORT article:

      Honda sources have confirmed to AUTOSPORT that it plans to return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier to McLaren.

      Yes, it’s not an official statement, which is why quotation marks are used. But it definitely should be treated as ‘insider news’.

      Switching to Honda engines would be a risk for McLaren but there is no guarantee that the new Mercedes engines will be good, too. Moreover, McLaren are not Mercedes’ first team anymore, whereas they would be Honda’s number one customer team.

      1. Why’s everyone saying Honda engines will be a risk , the last time they were in the sport they won the constructors and drivers championship aka Brawn

    3. @tmax @reg I’m not speculating, the headline points out it’s referring to a report through its use of inverted commas.

    4. @tmax Considering that Keith’s headline only really relates to the sensationalist claims made by other motor sport media, that’s not really a fair point.
      I’ve always found Keith’s blog to be the last media outlet to jump on any speculative rumour or “story”, rather than squeezing any “rumour-juice” out of a nothing story like so many of the others do.

    5. By putting confirms in inverted commas Keith made it pretty clear that nothing has really been confirmed.

  14. I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Hamilton, but isn’t a museum to show off your trophies something you’d want to do once you’ve retired from the sport? Not something I would expect an active driver to do.

    1. I admire Hamilton now more than ever, especially because has taken a very brave move to Mercedes, and I’ll be cheering for him this year and years to come. But there are some elements about him that I don’t particularly like, and this is one of them.

      It is no secret that he likes comparing himself to great legends like Ayrton, even if by saying “im not Ayrton, [but I WANNABE, or I am better!]”. At one stage early in his F1 career it seemed like he was trying to paint himself to be a legend before his time. First with an early release of his Autobiography after just one year in F1. And now a museum. What’s next? Is he is going to build his own statue?

      Anyway, he has some way to go yet to show his legacy as a great. And I hope he concentrates on doing that and realises that a legend is made by the “people” who watch, judge and admire the qualities and talent of a driver; and not because the driver said so.

    2. Paul Ogbeiwi (@)
      12th March 2013, 9:33

      I’m sorry, did i miss the bit where he said he was gonna make a museum while he was still an active driver?

    3. I kind of agree. I also think, and this is just a personal oppinion, that chasing greatness is not the way to get it. I am pretty sure that none of the racing legends started races thinking ‘ I want to have greatness’. I admit i’m not a Hamilton fan but I respect his talent, unfortunately i think sometimes he still comes across naive/immature.

  15. One possibility is that McLaren will push Honda to get into F1 for 2014 to get experience and then join Honda for 2015 or 2016. So we’ll probably see Marussia Honda team (or whatever there’s left of Marussia) in 2014!

    1. I think you’ll find that it will be near-impossible for Honda to join in 2014 – they won’t have enough time to get their engines ready. Anything they do will be rushed, and very probably a poor product. All of this amounts to commercial suicide because Honda won’t be able to get any customers in 2015 if they run in 2014 with a poor engine.

      1. I would say they wouldn’t even want to try 2014, because its far easier to see first what does work and not work on track to learn from that and come with an engine based on the best practice rather than just give it a shot in the dark, like the now active engine suppliers are having to do.

        1. @bascb, the rules for the internal combustion engine are so tight and the revs/power output so low (fuel flow) that any experienced engine maker should have absolutely no problem making a competitive engine, any advantages or disadvantages would be subtle and probably less evident than across the current engines.

  16. Now Christian Horner and Martin Whitmarsh can both complain about having under-power engines.

  17. Probably an irrelevant comment here: But if someone(Lotus/Red Bull) can get the Passive Drs to work it could be huge.. In Circuits like Monza, Austin later in the Calendar which has slow corners followd by Long straights it could be worth more than +0.5 secs over a Lap . It would have also suited Sepang but I guess its too early in the season.

    1. @sonkky – I think you are correct: Red Bull in particular would be huge benefactors from it as they traditionally have a very high downforce and high drag car. Perhaps not a 0.5s gain, but a 0.2 gain would be significant in such a tight grid.

  18. Yet another blow for McLaren…
    1. Lewis gone
    2. Paddy Lowe gone
    3. Mercedes Engine gone
    This is beginning to look like a very slippery downward slope.

    1. Um, where are you getting some of this stuff from?

      2. Paddy Lowe gone

      Look at Sauber – they lost the very talented James Key to Toro Rosso. In his absence, they promoted Matt Morris to design the C32. And what Morris produced is one of the most interesting cars on the grid, what with the skinny sidepods. based on testing, it’s certainly brimming with potential.

      So just because McLaren lost Paddy Lowe, it’s by no means the end of the world. There will always be other designers out there, and McLaren are big enough and powerful enough to attract some of the most talented people out there.

      3. Mercedes Engine gone

      Sure, McLaren might part ways with Mercedes for Honda, but where is it written that that is a bad thing?

      Furthermore, if you read between the lines of that article a bit, this is not a case of McLaren leaving Mercedes because the relationship turned sour. This appears to be a case where McLaren have approached Honda, or Honda have approached McLaren, and by mutual agreement, McLaren have decided to take Honda engines instead of renewing their contract with Mercedes.

      1. Exactly its McLaren’s choice if they go for Honda. Surely expecting the engine to be an improvement for them. The contract between McLaren and Mercedes gives McLaren the option to use those engines until 2015, if they choose to do so (Mercedes must supply them) @jason12.

        1. @bascb, taken context of McLarens 2 latest road cars, 1 turbocharged V8 designed by or for McLaren and 1 pure electric drive designed by McLaren, it makes sense for McLaren to distance themselves from Mercedes who are direct competitors on the road with McLaren. I for one would not be at all surprised if McLarens next F1 engine was labelled “McLaren”.

          1. taken IN context…..

          2. I think it will rather be that Honda, after all isn’t there more to win by having an engine manufacturer sponsor the F1 team by developing an engine and building them at their own cost instead of McLAren having to do it themselves?

            I do think that McLaren will want to work on a bigger part of the hybrid half, so working together with Honda on such an engine would make sense (more than buying the package from Mercedes)

          3. @bascb – There was a rumour during testing that McLaren had purchased Cosworth, or maybe just its assets and facilities. If so, this might actually work out well for both parties.

            When Honda was competing in 2007 and 2008, their big problem was that they kept trying to run things from a boardroom in Tokyo. They were making decisions that were good for the company, but bad for the team; for instance, they made Shuhei Nakamoto the lead designer of the cars because they wanted a Japanese designer making their cars.

            If McLaren have indeed purchased all or some of Cosworth, then I could see them developing their own engines for 2015, and badged as Hondas. In exchange, Honda would invest in or back the team, turning them into an unofficial works team, rather like McLaren’s relationship with Mercedes from 1995 to 2010. This would give McLaren full control over the engine and development so that they make the best decisions for the team, but would give Honda plenty of exposure in Formula 1 without the risk of making decisions that are bad for the team. Meanwhile, McLaren could supply Honda’s road car division with engines, because Honda doesn’t actually produce that many engines (particularly V8s).

      2. +1
        This path of divergence from McLaren using the Mercedes engine probably started even before Mercedes came into direct competition with their own team. Seems there were rumors of McLaren ditching the Mercedes engine right away after the Mercedes team was announced. Wisely, they have taken their time to find what is, hopefully, a qualified replacement. I would love to see McLaren and Honda back together, if, the Honda engine is not a detriment. Honda can make a competitive engine. Let’s hope they do.

  19. Those Autosprint magazine covers remind me of teen magazines’ obsession with Tokio Hotel or Justin Bieber.

  20. I wouldn’t be surprise if Mclaren turns to red and white once again. Besides, it makes sense for them to come back when the new rules go along with Honda’s vision for green and efficient engines. I didn’t know Karun had such a smile. Looks like he was asked by the dentist: “Show me your front teeth”

  21. Sounds great for Honda – sign with McLaren now for 2015 and have all of 2014 to study the new Mercedes powerplant!

  22. Just one comment. In the Lewis article, he mentions about meeting people and making a difference, and I have been to goodwood once and met him and Jensen, and Lewis (from the current crop) was so much better to interact with. He genuinely seems to be personally invested in the fans, and the sport, and was (or at least looked) happy to make eye contact, and actually listen and respond. It reminded me a bit of Tom Cruise. I’ve never liked him, but i love how he attends premieres early, and talks to the fans, takes pics on their phones, etc. It may be done to generate publicity, I don’t know; but either way I really appreciated it from Lewis, whereas Jensen just flicked his eyes up at people and was signing and answering the occasional question. As an aside to this, johnny Herbert must be the best F1 racer for public meets. He is such a brilliantly happy character.

  23. McLaren are definitely moving away from the team I truly disliked for many years, and becoming a team I can actually get behind fully.

    – Ron Dennis isn’t at the head
    – Martin Whitmarsh is a much more likeable character
    – Employing Jenson Button
    – Employing Sergio Perez
    – No more Hamilton

    Obviously, it’s not that I disliked the Mercedes engines, but it seems that they are moving further away from the team they used to be, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them using Honda engines in 2015. Red Bull have the advantage of being the Renault works team, Ferrari of course have the same advantage with their engine, and Mercedes do too, so it would be a very logical move for McLaren to harness a new engine supplier so that they can have the engine to the specifications that would best help their car, rather than that of the other leading teams. Not to mention, that I’m sure this would lead to a change in livery, which would probably be quite appealing to many fans.

  24. “Kimi, Which gear?” -“Whichever you want.” -“Kimi, what do I do?” *silence*
    Worst or best techer ever?

    1. @chebeto0 – As an actual teacher, I can confidently say that this is perhaps the worst example of teaching that I have ever heard of.

  25. Kimi , you’ve got to give some tips on how to drive this thing

    kimi : uh , just go ! :P

  26. I don´t hate you, Hamilton.

  27. I think many people have seen a different side to Hamilton in the past six years, as they have to Alonso, which was not presented to them in 2007. Yes it is a fair point to suggest that Alonso ignited Spanish interest in F1, or that the Spanish people would want to protect him from criticism. Yet the British media too, in all their glory, were no different with Lewis Hamilton.
    The British had for many years been starved of success in F1 until Hamilton came along. There had been other drivers in the form of David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine, Johnny Herbert, and ofcourse Jenson Button. However, Damon Hill’s 1996 title was the last time we had tasted real success as a country in F1. The other drivers I have mentioned all won grands prix, but at that moment in 2007, and never won a championship. Jenson Button was at Honda, and to be fair, 2007 was the year that things turned really sour for them. So much infact that they, as a team, never recovered.
    Hamilton brought optimism, and a return to the kind of hysteria not seen since Nigel Mansell in the 1980’s. Not only was Lewis an obvious race winner, but he was a handful for even the top men in the sport at the time. With Schumacher retiring the year before, every man and his dog expected Raikkonen and Alonso to dominate. Nobody thought that a rookie, even in a car as good as a McLaren, could have much impact.
    It became obvious that at McLaren we had two drivers who were obviously going to be favourites for the title, what transpired was more Mansell/Piquet circa 1987 than Senna/Prost, atleast from a British perspective.
    The British tabloids loved the after effects of Monaco that year. The suggestion that Hamilton had been ordered not to fight Alonso for the win, Ron Dennis trying desperately to convince us that all was rosy between them, a myth banished by the events that were to follow in Hungary. Then, Spygate. Alonso was painted public enemy number one for shopping his employers to the FIA, an investigation followed as did a wapping $100 million fine for McLaren.
    At all times, the consensus was that Alonso could not stand to be beaten by a rookie. That he had believed, by signing to McLaren, that he would be the number one driver. In Spain, the consensus was the opposite. There it was Hamilton, Ron Dennis’ starlet, who was being shown preferential treatment. It was Ron Dennis and McLaren, who had insulted their double world champion by putting every obstacle in his way. Remember China. The race in which Lewis ended up in the gravel and Ron Dennis admitting that ‘we weren’t racing Kimi, we were racing Alonso’. It all but ended their relationship there and then. So, it takes two to tango. Who was wrong and who was right. In my opinion, there was plenty of truth in both sides of the argument.
    With great irony, it is now Hamilton who is past tense at McLaren. Forced out in part because his team mate, Jenson Button, had become too powerfull within the team. Deja Vue indeed!

  28. Love the COTD. I’ve been a Williams fan for a number of years but I’m more optimistic/excited pre-season than I’ve been for a while. Probably one of the most interesting driver line-ups of any team.

  29. Here is an artist impression of the how the livery would look for McLaren-Honda..

    1. Ohhh… I do like that!

    2. what a beauty!!!! wow!!!

    3. but McLaren uses Mobil and not Shell so the V-Power in the rear wing is wrong

    4. great !!!! but needs more red

  30. These are sensational news if it takes place! Although it won´t be that welcomed by other teams since Honda + v6 turbo power is going to be a deadly combination….
    I really hope this happens!

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