First McLaren-Honda since 1992 debuts at Silverstone

2015 F1 season

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The first Honda-powered Formula One car produced by McLaren in 22 years had its maiden run at Silverstone today.

Test driver Oliver Turvey was entrusted with shaking down an MP4-29 chassis fitted with a Honda V6 turbo engine.

Aside from the Honda logos in place of Mercedes on the engine cover and reshaped rear bodywork, the car was outwardly similar to the one used by the team this year.

Teams are permitted to conduct two days of running per year, designated as Promotional Events, with a car built to current or future technical regulations. They are limited to a maximum of 100 kilometres of running at each and must use specially designated tyres.

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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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77 comments on “First McLaren-Honda since 1992 debuts at Silverstone”

  1. Wow, that’s a tight coke bottle design.

    1. @atticus-2 …It’s the current car there’s no new bodywork, don’t know why that’s written in the arcticle.

  2. They should ditch of metallic/gray livery.

    Time for reddish orange and MP5.

    1. They will I think… Got to see out the season first though, they have contracts with sponsors and McLarens this year are chrome.

      1. @john-h a lot of people thought they would this year and they didn’t. No guarantee, but that said it will be different without a Mercedes engine.

    2. mp4 is mclaren project 4, when mclaren and ron dennis’ project 4 teams merged. there will never be an mp5.

      1. MP 5, only around the neck of an armed UK policeman!

      2. It’s not about Ron, it’s about Marlboro. Originally MP4 was Marlboro Project 4.

        1. Good Lord, some creative imagineering going on here. MP4 = McLaren Project 4.If there was any other relevant ‘M’ it would have to be Mayer.(sp Meyer?)

          1. “MP4” stood initially for “Marlboro Project 4”,so that the full title of the cars (McLaren MP4/x) reflected not only the historical name of the team, but also the names of the team’s major sponsor and its new component part. Since the change of title sponsor in 1997, “MP4” is now said to stand for “McLaren Project 4”.

    3. @regs I get the feeling that they will. The silver/chrome era has to finish. 2006-2014 is a long time already.

      Time for white again with red, a colour scheme that’s very familiar with McLaren and Japan.

    4. Anything but grey, please …

      1. Papaya Orange me thinks

  3. To be honest, I thought that McLaren would have given a chassis to Honda to test in Japan first. Maybe they already have.

    1. how can they with testing limits?? this will be the only run they get before preseason testing 2015.

    2. Honda wouldn’t be legally allowed to run a current chassis because it’s McLaren IP. If the FIA got wind of it, they’d be penalised under the regs.

      1. Would they?
        Supposing a company built a car according to next year’s spec, to a design provided by an existing team and gave it to an engine manufacturer that didn’t have an official entry until next year, would that be illegal?
        Conversely, could Haas have taken delivery of a Ferrari F1 engine this year and built it into a test ‘mule’ this year prior to their entry in 2016.

        1. In the first scenario, article 22.1 of the sporting regulations has it pretty well covered. Any track running including “in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor” is restricted, for anything “built in order to comply with the 2014, 2015 or 2016” regulations.

          In the second case, Haas has already undertaken to comply with the sporting regulations (see appendix 2 of the same document) when they applied to participate in the championship. I suppose there could be at least a grey area if somebody with a lot more money went and designed and built an entire 2015-spec F1 car, then carried out a track testing programme before finally applying at the last minute for a place on the grid. However the FIA would face a revolt if they accepted an application following such unfair play (and it’s at their absolute discretion – article 13.5) and to keep such a scheme a complete secret would be unthinkable.

          1. So what’s the situation for someone “thinking” of competing in a sports car class powered by an F1 engine ?

          2. Thanks to WH and @optimaximal

          3. @hohum as far as I’m aware, F1 engines running in non-F1 chassis are A-OK. I think the development freeze limits the performance benefits on offer for doing something like that, so there’s less risk of manufacturers sinking money into it in a way that could be prevented with stricter running restrictions.

          4. @w-h, Right, could be very useful though, say your sportscar weighed in @600Kg and had the same cd as a McLaren F1 car, you could compare acceleration and top speed to the data collected by McLaren during the year for their MB engined car and come to the correct conclusions, the benefits for reliability are even more obvious.

          5. The contrarian in me would point out that the sportscar would have less downforce and probably less sticky tyres, so the lack of traction would force running at lower peak torque, not to mention subjecting it to smaller g-forces in all directions. Without a doubt it would be useful – and perhaps more useful than the dynos, vibration rigs etc that they have – but I don’t think a manufacturer would be happy to, say, double their budget in order to do it. So either it’s too expensive, or it could be affordable but doesn’t offer much performance, or perhaps somebody at Honda missed a trick!

  4. They should stick Honda engines (and Stoffel Vandoorne) in the Caterhams at Abu Dhabi, that might get them some useful data. Honda did something similar with Williams in the last race of 1983.

    1. @bullfrog I suspect that it’s harder to do that sort of thing nowadays. Caterham’s entry may be lined to them running a Renault engine so unless Renault is unwilling/unable to supply them then that’s unlikely to be possible. Also, the Honda engine is not homologated for 2014 and if they did somehow manage to run it then they would surely then come under the partial engine freeze in place which could potentially harm their development.

    2. Yes, because putting an entirely different engine in a car they have no knowledge of is the work of a moment, isn’t it?

      1. Brawn did similar (albeit reverse) with the Mercedes engine to good effect.

        1. Similar != the same. They had to initially cut pieces out of the floor and chassis to make it fit.

          Also, they had more than one week to do it!

      2. All the engines share mounting points by regulation now because of the quick rush that brawn had to do for 2009.

        but just bolting the engine on is one thing, making sure it all clears the engine cover and all the exhaust works is another, and a team that had to beg for money to get on the grid to claim last place. there not going to spend that money or have the time frame.

        1. Ah the joy of once more seeing F1 cars with exposed engines.

  5. The extra shark gills cut into the rear top bodywork aren’t encouraging as an indicator that Honda have met the standards set by the Mercedes engine. Honda haven’t made a competitive engine for over 20 years, have they cracked it this time, in a shorter time frame than everyone else? I have my doubts.

    1. what are you talking about?? when Honda was in f1 from BAR days they had one of the best engines – by 2004 it was regarded the most powerful, it was the chassis that was the problem. they have always made great engines and this will be too.

      1. I seem to remember them making great grenades.

    2. I don’t know but i’am guessing that is far from what the real rear bodywork will look like come Australia

    3. I guess they want to make sure and get the mileage rather than overheat on the first runs, data is all important.

    4. I’m pretty sure they had a competitive engine between 2004 & 2006, given BARs results.

      Also, the ’07 and ’08 fell over on their aero package.

    5. @hairs surely they want to make sure it runs okay, they are not trying to push the engine hard.

      Besides, each engine have different needs in terms of cooling. This car has it’s sidepodes shaped for the Mercedes engine, and cutting some shark grills in the engine cover is far easier than re-doing the sidepods or whatever inside.

      Basically, it all means nothing at this stage.

    6. @hairs – Button was third in the WDC in 2004 with 10 podiums and a Honda engine. He was behind only the Ferraris. While Ferrari destroyed everyone that year, the Honda engine wasn’t bad.

      Available podium spots = 3 x 18 races = 54
      Ferrari had 29
      Honda had 11 (Sato had 1)
      Renault had 6
      McLaren had 4
      Williams had 4

  6. @hairs There are no extra gills, McLaren have used this rear bodywork many times this season…

  7. There’s no new rear bodywork I have many pictures with this configuration on my desktop, especially from suzuka onwards. Besides the new engine McLaren at most triallied some development aero parts, possibly part of their Abu Dhabi assault.

  8. From what I have understood, Honda have not been subject to any restrictions in engine development during the last year/season.

    At what point do they become locked into the “91% freeze” like the other engines?

    1. Presumably in a similar time frame that applied to this year’s engines. There will be a cut off date for Honda beyond which they will fall in line with the regs. I assume it will be somewhere between 2015 tests and the first race in Australia.

    2. last week of feb i believe

  9. I must say that despite most people wanting an orange livery, I’d love to see them a in red / white one. I know it would not make sense, but still …

    1. @spoutnik Red and White are the colors of Honda, they could go for it.

      1. White is the racing colour of Japan, but in all honesty, the colours of the Honda McLarens were down to the Marlboro sponsorship.

  10. Whats keeping Honda from building/buying a F1 car and test it on their own?

    1. @austus Nothing. There was a rumor that James Allison was gonna go to japan to build a car for Honda where they could test it all this year but he felt that was a very grey area of the rules and decided against it.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        14th November 2014, 21:44

        @beejis60 – Why would the Technical Director of Ferrari go to Japan and build a car for a competitor?

        1. @braketurnaccelerate It was before he was hired at Ferarri.

  11. I don’t know how Honda will perform, but it sure will sound the best among all engines in 2015 is what I like to believe. Maybe Honda will have an edge at times, good for Fernando

    1. It wold be very hard to imagine that Honda could come out of the doors with an enginge that can compete with the Mercedes in 2015, the teams are a year ahead in dev cycle already. Ferrari & Renault have had a whole year of engine data and real world running and they arent confident of getting on par with the Mercedes, So what would suggest that Honda will? There hasn’t been any of the rumors that happened with the Mercedes engine, apart from Ron Dennis, which of course has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

      Will Honda make a good engine? History is on there side but history is just that. We will wait and see in Australia next year but I find the idea of seeing 2 Honda powered Mclaren’s sitting on the front row when those lights go out, a little…Well…optimistic.

      As far as sound is concerned, It will more than likely sound pretty much the same as the others, maybe a slight pitch difference here and there but the engines this year dont sound all that different from each other. Will it be louder? Well I bet Honda’s engineers are hoping not, after all, sound is mostly wasted energy, energy that the engine manufactures wont to capture not waste.

  12. Aaah, It’s nice to finally see the Honda name back on the McLaren again. Hopefully another legendary partnership in the making!

    1. And hope to see a livery change next year. This year’s livery is absolutely disgusting!

      1. Define “absolutely disgusting.” To me, that would mean something like boiled tripe & onions, but you clearly have different tastes.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          14th November 2014, 21:45

          +1. Bland? Yes. Disgusting? Probably a reach.

        2. Sorry, I forgot to add that it was my opinion. Still, I’ll define absolutely disgusting for you. When you mix a dull chrome and black together and add a dash of ghoulish yellow and then add an ugly nose at the front. That’s absolutely disgusting. I’ll also define absolutely beautiful, which is when you either mix the classic red and white, OR the vibrant chrome and red, OR the original orange. That’s absolutely beautiful.

          1. Fully agree with you Uzair Syed…

      2. @ultimateuzair
        I quite like McLaren’s chrome look but I’d love to see them with a Repsol livery similar to the Honda MotoGP livery.
        I know it’s unlikely given they’re already sponsored by Mobil 1 but maybe the new engine partnership will bring some sponsorship changes too.

  13. Anybody heard how it sounded? Would be intrigued to know. My pick for best sounding 2014 motor this year would be Renault followed by Ferrari followed by Mercedes, although the Merc sound is out there on its own but I do like the sound of the Renault.

    1. So basically, the worse it sounds, the better it goes? :)

    2. My opinion is that the Mercedes is the best sounding 2014 engine this year, followed by the Renault and then the worst V6 engine I have ever heard in my life IMO, a.k.a the Ferrari.

  14. I don’t see why the Honda PU performance wouldn’t slot in above the Renault and Ferrari units next year, given all the information they’ll have had from McLaren, the freedom to design whatever they like, and their resources.

  15. But is Honda a brand pensioners with fat wallets will buy? I fear F1 might not be the place for them.

    And SAP? Old people don’t use computers to register things. Maybe they should sponsor whatever channel kids these days watch.

    1. Honda is absolutely a brand that pensioners buy.

      Looking forward to the McLaren Jazz in showrooms soon.

    2. Nick@npf what’s your definition of old ? I’m a 57 yr old female ,i do the majority of stuff on line and in June this year drove a Mclaren MP4-12C around a Prodrive track.

  16. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    14th November 2014, 21:46

    I think the Orange SAP logos give us a strong hint at the color of the Maccas for next year.

    1. I was thinking this too.

    2. @braketurnaccelerate
      SAP recently rebranded their logo, it’s now gold with a slight change to the A to make it look like it’s smiling. It could be they wanted their stickers to be changed as part of the rebranding.

    3. Perfect, orange lettering on an orange car!

  17. I can not wait to see that car on Alonso’s hands.

    1. Thats not very nice LOL

  18. How do we know that it isn’t just an MP29 with the Mercedes stickers taken off and Honda ones put on?

    We need proof – show us the engine in situ!

  19. Here a little clip that we can hear The new engine in action:

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