Honda not shying away from podium target

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Despite their poor start to 2015, Honda still believes it can achieve podium finishes with McLaren this year.


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Podiums ‘a realistic target’ in 2015 - Honda (F1i)

"I think our power unit concept is good enough to get a podium. Whether it will be soon or we will need more time, I don’t know, but our target has not changed."

Two U.S. teams on the F1 grid in 2016? It could happen (Motorsport)

"The group is headed by New York financier James Carney, and Austin businessman Tavo Hellmund, who developed the Circuit of the Americas track and cut the deal with Bernie Ecclestone to bring F1 back to the country."

Jolyon Palmer Q&A (Sky)

"Every time I get in in P1 we are on the same fuel loads, the same engine settings. Of course in a practice session sometimes there are different things that need testing, some different updates to the car, so one car might have slightly different parts on it, but roughly the run plans are exactly the same."

Real Madrid top Forbes' most valuable teams list (Reuters)

"Formula One's Ferrari (1.35 billion) were ranked 32nd while the Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.3 billion), tied in 37th, were the only National Hockey League team on the list."

Sainz welcomes increased driver input in race starts (F1)

"If it’s more and more driver dependant and the driver can make a difference with his feelings and his calls, it’s more than welcome."

The Secret Behind Formula One's $4.4 Billion Profits (Forbes)

"He even gets bottles of milk delivered to his doorstep every day."

Has Germany fallen out of love with F1? (Girts F1)

"Several circuits offer spectators a lot of off-track entertainment, such as concerts or an ‘action zone’. There was little of that at Hockenheimring a year ago."


Comment of the day

Has F1’s superlicence points system contributed to poor driving standards in Formula Three?

The massive number of points on offer to Euro F3 competitors appears to have attracted a phalanxx of karting graduates this season, who are doing their first season of car racing at a level which is probably beyond a lot of them. Not everyone has Verstappen like levels of talent at 16.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there’s a connection between the number of serious crashes we are seeing this year in F3 and the rich picking super licence points on offer.

Overall I do think the revised system is an improvement over the original proposal, although I would still prefer that, subject to basic competence and safety levels, it was left to the teams to decide who they think is ready to graduate to F1.
Tyler (@Tdog)

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Alain Prost won a special ‘Race of Legends’ DTM event at the Norisring in competition with fellow F1 world champions Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jody Scheckter plus motorcycle world champions Mick Doohan and Johnny Cecotto on this day ten years ago.

The three-part qualifying format event saw each driver set a flying lap in an Audi, a Mercedes and an Opel. Prost’s combined three best times around the 50-second lap put him almost two-and-a-half seconds clear of closest rival Mansell.

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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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67 comments on “Honda not shying away from podium target”

  1. I don’t know whether or not I should take Honda seriously now. If I were Alonso and Button I would get out of McLaren now. Come 2016, the car / engine could be good, or it could be another year of the same. They are getting to a late stage in their careers now so if I were them I wouldn’t want to hang around waiting for the grass to grow.

    1. The real problem is that they won’t really know whether Honda will have their act together until the end of the season. By then, the top spots on the driver market will most likely be long gone. While I am still hopeful that Honda can continue to eliminate reliability issues and finally turn up the juice by year end, I don’t think I’d be my career on it.

    2. @strontium And go where? Do you think they’re stupid and didn’t know what they were getting into in the first place? They knew that if they win another title it’ll be when the grass grows at Mclaren or not at all

    3. @strontium Where would they go though?

      If Ferrari are looking to replace Kimi I can’t see them picking either of them over the younger talent available & I can’t see Alonso wanting to go back there anyway. I also can’t see Mercedes wanting to replace there current line-up.
      If Williams lose Bottas to Ferrari then thats an option but like Ferrari I can see them looking for a younger talent to lead the team over the next few years.

      Force India, Lotus & Sauber are struggling financially so I can’t see them been able to afford either Button or Alonso unless there willing to take a substantial pay cut & been perfectly honest I’d see moving to either team more as a sideways move which would be completely pointless at this stage in there career’s.

      There’s Haas, But woudl either really want to gamble on a new, unproven team thats likely to be a struggle for the 1st year as the team builds experience.

      There best option & the most sensible option is to stay where they are because of all the other Mid-field options McLaren are actually the best placed financially & have the biggest potential to make big steps forward.
      Both knew that this year was going to be a struggle & both accepted that, To leave after this year makes been there this year completely pointless & a total waste of time.

      I’d also remind people that many of the new personnel McLaren have brought into the team over the past year (Most notably from Red Bull Adrian Newey’s long time right hand aero guy Peter Prodromou) & the restructuring of departments those new people introduced won’t have an impact until next year with the 2016 car been the 1st car they have full input on.

      I also wouldn’t right off Honda, There struggles are/were expected & I don’t see why things won’t be better next year.

      1. Thing is, Honda don’t seem to be learning lessons.. at least 80% of McLaren’s woes are Honda’s hybrid system. To put that into perspective, McLaren would have been the 3rd fastest car at Silverstone with a Mercedes engine. No doubt Alonso would be taking it to Mercedes/Williams.

        Honda refuse to use McLaren technology (their KERS was strong, Honda’s never raced), bring in engine experts.. they ditched their original engine and tried again when it was apparent it was nowhere.

        On that note, Renault’s pistons are worse this year than last year.. Maybe both are not spending enough? The engine regulations are to try and focus that spending, but at the same time upfront investment is the best way to start with an advantage, e.g. Mercedes.

        1. It comes down to Honda’s tokens.. if they can apply and fix the MGUs so that the PU can run on full chat (especially in races.. see Ferrari 2014), then McLaren can run full downforce and their package might finally come alive.

    4. @strontium

      Do you think Honda seriously believe that they will get to the podium this year? No chance. This is PR talk and nothing more, behind closed doors, the truth will be prevalent. It is not uncommon for major corporations, which Honda are, to employ such tactics, they almost have to, to keep the shareholders are bay. Arai-san would have little or no choice but to say such things.

      Honda cannot afford to fail, their reputation is at stake. This move to partner Mclaren has been a much publicized affair, and if they dont come out on top, or somewhere close very soon, heads will roll.

      As for the drivers, Alonso isnt going anywhere, the Merc door is firmly shut, and I doubt he would go to Williams, simply because they cant afford him and frankly, they arent going to be winning a championship anytime soon. I guess in his case, finishing 3rd, 4th,5th or 13th doesnt really matter, its the title that he wants. Jenson on the other hand could find himself another drive if the planets align.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        16th July 2015, 8:56

        @jaymenon10, doing this off as typical PR talk ignores Japanese (business) culture.

        I’m not saying that I’ve already updated my prediction competition entries on this site, but hearing this form Honda means something different than coming from Dennis or Boullier!

        1. @coldly
          I think you’re discounting how important it is to “save face” in the Japanese culture. Once they comit to this path, they will NEVER admit they were wrong until the whole program does a crash and burn and they are ready for the leaders to do ritual public suicide….THEN they can start over with a new direction.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            16th July 2015, 12:19

            @daved, I don’t disagree.
            But it’s certainly no simple PR talk. ‘Save face’ means doing everything humanly possible to achieve the stated goal.

          2. @coldfly
            Yes and no. I agree with you that it’s no simple PR talk! But to me (as an outsider with no solid facts but only observations of results to date), I meant it more in the definition of saving face: When one realizes their blunder and uses a tactic to try & cover up their mistake.

            Every culture is unique and interesting. I’ve spent 20 years doing heavy international business:
            We Americans think that we know the ONLY way to do everything. It’s not just that our ideas are the best, there’s simply no reason that EVERYONE shouldn’t see the world the way we do and have our values. LOL

            Brits: Their management style is in some ways scary. They literally think that to admit you’re wrong shows weakness and they’ll try to bull their way through a problem and assume the guys just aren’t implementing it correctly. To admit that new facts have come to light that might change the initial decision? Hell no! That would show weak management. I exaggerate….SLIGHTLY.

            Japanese: We have declared this path. We will NEVER admit it could be wrong until our burning plane has crashed and created a whole in the earth in which to bury our dead bodies. The next generation can dig their own hole to die in while denying any problems they create as we’re too busy saving face on our own path.

            Chinese: There is no such thing as “owning an idea”. You can own this coffee cup. You can own this pair of shoes. You can not own a way to make a phone or a piece of software or etc etc etc. Westerners like to say Chinese “steal ideas and don’t honor patents”. If you get them drunk and talk with them you realize their looking at us like we’re saying “Hey, breathing was my idea and you owe me royalties for doing it”. It just doesn’t compute to them and they try to humor us the best they can…but they just don’t get it :)

          3. @DavidD, don’t forget burning holes at nuclear plants. Sigh.

  2. I don’t know how F1 can ever hope to attract new manufacturers with these stupid restrictions on development. Imagine some manufacturer joining in 2016. They’d barely have any development allowed. Once again, F1 shows an absolute lack of foresight.
    I really like these new complex power units, but I hate this freeze on the development. It’s an absolute suicide for healthy competition.

    1. @brace I believe the restrictions are been lifted for new entrants for next year to avoid someone coming in & having the problems Honda have suffered.

      The problem with opening up engine development is that it would raise cost’s & with 6 teams struggling financially as it is introducing extra cost’s for extra engine development (Which would be passed onto the teams) would just see a couple teams go bust fairly quickly.

      I’d also remind you that the engine manufacturer’s were part of the discussions that ended up coming up with the current restrictions. I would also point out that most other racing categories are also moving towards similar engine development freezes to cut cost’s.

      I get the frustrations many fans have, But the financial situations not just of F1 but the motorsport world in general isn’t what it was 5-10+ years ago & cost savings have to be made which has led to the majority (if not all) categories to look at various freezes, restrictions etc…. in the name of cost saving.

    2. +1 Exactly right.

      A huge issue not really addressed, but then I guess it all stems from ensuring Mercedes as a mainstay of F1.

      1. Renault were the ones who pushed for this engine formula (heck they wanted 4-cylinder engines originally). They were the ones who threatened to leave the sport if hybrid engines weren’t introduced. Mercedes were initially on the fence, they were open to the idea of it but were concerned about costs. Ferrari were flat-out opposed to it.

      2. Renault were actually the ones who demanded the current engine formula and threatened to quit if it wasn’t introduced. Mercedes were sort of on the fence – they were open to it but concerned about the costs involved. Ferrari were flat-out against it though.

  3. Canyoudigit44
    16th July 2015, 1:29

    Anyone else think it’s suspicious Gutierrez is promoting being involved in property development 2 days after El Chapo broke out of prison?

    Now I don’t think Gutierrez has any ties to the Siniloa Cartel but I am wondering if he is promoting his business acqueman at a time when a fellow Mexican is front page news – perhaps as a way to say to other drivers “don’t mess with me you don’t know who backs me?!”

    I personally wouldn’t want to risk offending anyone who was affiliated with the cartels…

    1. Whaaaaaaaa?

    2. This gets my vote for ‘Best Drunk Post of the Week’

      1. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
        16th July 2015, 16:23

        @motor and it’s not weekend yet, but this guy is sipping tons of beer right now!

      2. @motor Hope @keithcollantine will now what to choose as CotD today…

    3. 2+2=7

      1. I think it’s more like 2+2 = 17 on this one LOL

  4. I’m sure the owners of the independent teams must be thrilled to see how much money their efforts have made for other people.

    1. Mosley has singlehandedly ruined F1 for the next 100 years (or 80+ now). The worst deal in the history of sports. It’s interesting though that Bernie is on the commission, when FIA had to sell the rights because they weren’t allowed to control both sporting and commercial side of things. They could have just sell 51% and for much shorter period. What a horrible foresight and business analysis, all at once.

      1. @hohum @brace At the same time would the teams have made the money they did if it wasn’t for Bernie.

        Lets not forget that back in the 70s the teams were getting far less of a percentage than they do now & that it was Bernie who made many of the commercial deals in the late 70s/80s that saw the teams getting a substantial amount of the money.
        Many of the long term teams that have been around since the 70s/80s have made a fortune thanks to the commercial deals Bernie put together.

        And lets not forget that it was the teams of the time that put Bernie in the position to negotiate those deals, it was again the teams of the time that allowed Bernie to grab as much power as he did, it was the teams who kept re-signing the concorde agreement which was the backbone of F1’s commercial side until recently & more recently it was each individual team that agreed to & signed the commercial deals they now have with Bernie.

        I’m not saying that the current situation is correct, I happen to agree that the distribution model is absurd & that Bernie/CVC are taking too much for themselfs… But the teams over the past 40 years hold some responsibility for letting it happen.

        1. Yes, Bernie definitely was the early driver of the sports growth. But somewhere after that first decade or so. But about that time he started collecting $83/year in salary and when he got that $1.4 bond….his interests and the sports interests diverged. What was good for the sport was no longer good for Bernie but rather what was good for Bernie (and Max) had better be good for the sport. If not, then screw them.

          I’m on the same page as @hohum in that I think a lot of people have toiled away and in the end it only served to make Bernie, Max and CVC types obscenely wealthy.

          1. That should have said “about the time he started collecting $83M/year in salary and $1.4 BILLION bond”.
            Shouldn’t do this when I’m in a meeting and not paying full attention to what I’m typing LOL

      2. So true

    2. Funny article that. Calling money sucked out of the sport “income from refinancing”. Then it goes on to pitch BE as the saviour of F1 and that the having him in sole control is what makes F1 a great asset.

      And when it writes BE has control over who gets let in the paddock, this is not true at all, its the FIA who decides on media access.

      Overall, maybe there really is a buyer on he horizon, but they do not want to take BE with the package, so the old man needs his drum beaten by a appreciating writer. No need to say who that is, right.
      I think the sport needs a fresh breath to have any long term future. BE with his 84 years is not looking to the future at all and while he has done some amazing things, now he is just repeating the same trick again and again, seemingly not understanding it doesn’t quite work anymore.

      1. @bascb
        One would think the author was trying to insure they were “on the list” when it came to asking for paddock passes. I’d say he made the cut.

        1. LOL, funny enough it seem the author actually does not attend events as part of the accredited media (because he never got in) @daved

          1. @bascb
            Perhaps he’s a forward looking chap and he hopes to be ADDED to the list LOL

  5. The sooner Mclaren recognises and they are the new Williams the better for everyone concerned.

    1. If Mclaren were the new Williams, they would have met their target already though.

    2. “The New Williams” LOL +1

    3. Williams were never the 2nd slowest team on the grid. I think Mclaren is the new Minardi… they also have an ex Minardi driver leading the team

      1. Bit of a of short memory because in 2013 Williams built an absolute pig of a car. By far the worst of the established teams, it only scored 5 points all season long.

        1. Still ahead of Caterham and Marrussia if I remember correctly. Still made them the 3rd slowest team on the grid

          1. @todfod They must have been at some point, maybe in their early period? Running customer cars of the 60s/70s.. but that’s not in F1’s DNA, is it?

  6. Nice read about the reasons behind declining audiences in Germany @girts.
    It seems that for many Germans it was more of an obsession with Schumacher than a great love of the sport that brought them in.
    And I think the way the sport conducts itself – sucking money out of who will allow it without giving much back in return – sits badly with many too (compare with Greece asking for money without doing much to “earn” it)

    1. @bascb Thanks very much! And thank you @KeithCollantine for including my slightly article in the round-up.

      The CEO of Hockenheimring yesterday said that the race would certainly happen in 2016 and 2018 but was not so sure about 2017 and the future. He also did not mention any planned improvements / changes that would help to attract more fans, only expressed hope that German fans could be missing F1 and will feel excited about Vettel at Ferrari and possibly Rosberg, who might win the championship this year. Does not really sound convincing to me.

      1. my slightly *chaotic* article :)

      2. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
        16th July 2015, 16:25

        @girts congratulations!!! I didn’t know you posted your own blog. Maybe you can start a predictions championship as well? This year I lost interest when the top prize of the weekend is a bunch of plastic bricks :P

        1. @omarr-pepper Thanks mate :) I don’t have enough time, skills and discipline to maintain a decent blog myself. Besides, F1 Fanatic is my virtual home! I post my thoughts on my own website only when they become too long or too weird for F1F ;)

      3. @girts Nice article! Does this leave Germany in the same situation as general F1? I.e. it’s too much money, the fans are too old and hence no ‘younger’ entertainment is on show?

        2017 will open up a chance for Qatar, or Monza alternating if they are also broke..

        1. Also another question. Kirchhoefer is the first East German driver that could make it.. could this reinvigorate the ‘working classes’ that used to support Schumi?

        2. @fastiesty Yes, I believe Germany is also facing the problem of aging F1 fan base. However, I have not seen any data regarding that so it is just a speculation.

          In any case, the number of German fans, who have stopped caring about the sport since Schumacher’s golden years is much higher than the number of new fans. So something has to be done if the aim is to reverse the trend. Honestly, I do not think that a successful debut by Kirchhofer would change anything. I guess a huge revamp of everything is needed to ‘bring back the love’. More flexible pricing of tickets, more entertainment for fans of all ages, better facilities, more promotion, a new team of commentators and presenters at RTL and so on. Some of these things might not even cost a lot of euros so the powers that be should start improving things today instead of hoping that Rosberg wins the championship and everyone wants him after that…

          1. @girts Makes sense. There could be a direct comparison with the Bundesliga which is probably doing most of those right… cheap GA tickets, crowds are huge, new stadiums like Allianz Arena etc. Even if Schumi’s ‘peak draw’ can’t be matched, there could be a better retention rate with proper FTA! Like ITV vs. BBC..

    2. NetworkBurger
      16th July 2015, 14:10

      ‘compare with Greece asking for money without doing much to “earn” it’.

      Wow. What is your position in the IMF?

      1. Sorry for taking this off topic, but What did Greece do to earn money from them (actually the IMF seems more reasonable in admitting that restructuring of the debt is needed compared to the other EURO countries and especially the German finance minister) then?

        Certainly not much more than FOM is currently doing to promote F1.

  7. Honda could still come good, even if the organisation has had a lot wrong with it so far. I think they’ll be allowed any updates irrespective of tokens, and with the current formula drivers could go on longer, I wouldn’t be surprised. I haven’t given up on Alonso’s career yet.

  8. “I think our power unit concept is good enough to get a podium. Whether it will be soon or we will need more time, I don’t know, but our target has not changed.”

    So from beating Mercedes and being a benchmark, now they have gone to podium places. They don’t know when that will happen as well.

    Hope Alonso wasn’t in the earshot when this statement was made. He will most likely be depressed and tweet something in Samurai language, afterall he left Ferrari because he didn’t want to be second/third for more years :)

  9. As a Greek i really need to smoke what Honda smokes and have so high hopes and that will make me to forget what is going on in my Country the last days…

  10. ColdFly F1 (@)
    16th July 2015, 9:07

    Crucially, Mr Ecclestone is a people person and, as he told GQ magazine in 2013 “I’ve done so many deals on a handshake. The biggest thing for me is people trust me so people rely on me.”

    Stupid me; I always thought that trust was not something linked to him, but rather playing parties out against each other, and then running away with the bone.

  11. @girts (assuming it is you), good read!

    1. @girst, something different then? How is the WEC perceived do you think. We now have a race at the ring, two very competetive teams and several top line drivers in all classes.

    2. @xtwl Yes, that’s me! :) Thank you! I guess my English could be better and the wording could be improved but I believe the readers get the point and can compare my observations and thoughts to their own views. I am really glad Keith included this in the round-up.

      As for the WEC, it obviously has the momentum and I know that some German fans are very passionate about the series. As you say, all the ingredients (a race, top teams, top drivers) are there but you could say the same about F1 in Germany (at least until last year). The main difference is that there is more positivity surrounding the WEC and the tickets are much cheaper.

      At the same time, endurance racing will always be different from F1, mainly because of the length of the events. I do not believe the WEC can ever be as popular as F1 but its fanbase in Germany seems to be growing (I think RTL has started showing short highlights of the races this year). As far as I know, Germany’s mainstream media has ignored even Le Mans so far so there is definitely room for more recognition.

      1. @girts, the WEC might have some momentum now, but that momentum is perhaps more fragile than people realise.

        Ghosn has publicly stated that Nissan are now re-evaluating their commitment to the WEC – the proposed changes to the LMP2 engine regulations are expected to push Nissan out of that category, and they are now reconsidering whether they want to continue with their LMP1 program too.

        Furthermore, the ACO’s planned changes for 2017 will also push Acura out of the LMP2 category – raising the possibility that, after a few years of growth, the ACO’s latest policies might actually result in the WEC contracting again.

  12. I wonder when Honda will finally come out with the truth. They took a risk with design, and they ended up with the worst outcome possible. They still haven’t got their heads around getting their MGU-H and MGU-K to work properly, and the system they devised is so unnecessarily complex, that by the time they figure it out there will be another regulation change in PUs.

    It has been a failure in every sense of the word, yet they come out with statements saying that they will win the championship someday. They say podiums are the target, when in reality they are just about ahead of Manor in the standings. I don’t think anyone is buying their PR nonsense anymore, so it would be better they either come out with the truth or just keep mum and work hard

  13. The power of dreams… huh?!?! Ahahahahahaaaaa!! They barely gain 1-2 points every 5 races and all of a sudden they see the podium achievable in 2015??!?! Everything is possible, of course, but it must one hell of a race! I mean, many retirements/accidents in the 1st half of the field, otherwise… just the POWER OF DREAMS! :)

    1. Honda are definitely dreaming the impossible dream if they think that piece of garbage is ever going to get onto the podium.

  14. I still have hope for Honda. I doubt we will see any good this year, but next year I think they could be a top 4 team. We all forget that the other engine providers are around 2 years ahead in development. Fortunately catching up is easier than pulling away, as Merc/Ferrari innovations can be copied.

  15. From the round-up lead:

    Palmer satisfied with practice performance

    I am not satisfied with Palmer’s practice performance…

  16. Personally I think Japanese is just Germans, they will make everything right finally. But until they reach the explode point, all the efforts and steps might looks very slow.

  17. Esteban is loaded, I wonder how he got the kick out of F1.

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