McLaren running 2016 parts on half the car – Alonso

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso revealed the McLaren he will use this weekend is running a large number of parts intended for their 2016 challenger as the team seeks major gains in its second year with Honda.

Alonso expects the team will end the year with only Manor behind them in the constructors’ championship as he considers it “unlikely” they will score enough points this weekend to overtake Sauber.

“They are nine points ahead,” he said in today’s FIA press conference. “We have scored points three or four times only this year. To score as many as ten in one race is a bit difficult.”

“We will try to do our best, try and perform a good weekend but our minds are on next year’s project. Probably half of the car is next year’s parts and next year’s philosophy as well. So I think we are not too worried about beating Sauber this weekend or not.”

Alonso reiterated his view McLaren offers him “the only way to become champion again” but said he isn’t sure if it could happen as soon as next season.

“At the moment it’s a question mark, I guess, where McLaren-Honda can be next year. There are a lot of expectations in the team. I think we worked hard all season, been united in some difficult moments and always moving forward.”

“For 2016 the main goal is to come back to where we belong, being competitive, fighting for the top positions. I don’t know if that means fighting for world championships or victories or just being on the podium sometimes. That’s always difficult to know in a very complex sport like Formula One.”

“It’s definitely some big challenge ahead in the winter and I see all the things the team has done in the last couple of months. All this seems very logical, very positive. I’m confident it will be a completely different season next year and I’m happy with the progress.”

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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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    16 comments on “McLaren running 2016 parts on half the car – Alonso”

    1. Sensible idea. After all, they haven’t got much to lose, have they?

    2. He says half the car is next years but not worried if do not beat Sauber. So half next years car is not better than the 8th best team using a full 2015 car would not be a worry?

      1. Well, the 2016 car itself will be built with those parts in mind. If a car has parts stuck to it that isn’t REALLY intended for it, those parts won’t be 100% effective. Hopefully in 2016 they will be, but now they are only testing those specific parts instead of the whole car as a unit.

        1. I am sure next year they will be very good. I see a similar situation to Ferrari where due to the lead time of changing things over the winter all of a sudden an engine can take a huge leap forward. Renault will be interesting as possibly budget was not used to investigate and make changes whilst their participation next year was in doubt. If they only recently decided to change then next year maybe hard but the following year may see a huge jump for them also. I know they have tokens but they have to be pre planned a long way in advance.

          1. The main problem with McLaren has been their energy recovery. Despite the amount of time that has passed and the number of engines (& upgrades) brought in, they still haven’t solved it. I think that any success for them next year depends on whether they were truly hampered by the regulations preventing them from introducing an improvement or whether it was a lack of knowledge of how to improve the power unit. I suppose we’ll have the answer in 2016

            1. Their energy recovery systems is largely compromised by the ICE, as it’s been explained by experts. Mclaren’s issues reminds Ferrari’s situation last year, as they have done the same small engine choice to have aero improvements and it both projects went wrong.

              There’s an interesting interview with Luca Marmorini, former Ferrari engine department chief I think, where he explains the 2014 PU was designed as demanded; he knew a smaller PU would deliver less power, by was told the aero gains would compensate it. Ferrari abandoned it and things changed completely since then.

              It looks the more radical McLaren-Honda approach is making thing even more difficult, and you can add the fact Honda is been out of F1 since those KERS systems started to be developed so they look less experienced with this hybrid stuff as well.

              Renault is struggling in a way we could say Honda can catch them soon. if they are on par with Ferrari PU next year it would be great.

      2. Plus there’s that underpowered dog of a PU still in the car, don’t forget ….

        1. It’s not the engine that’s the issue, relatively speaking, but the energy recovery.

      3. No matter how good is the half-car for 2016, the engine is the same, and the engine will drag down the best chassis always.

    3. And during the last race weekend one of the 2016 bits was the in-car camera ;)

      Which was why you never saw an in-car from Fernando all weekend (Or Lewis on Friday if you were wondering since Sky pointed it out).

      1. So the 2016 cameras doesnt send out any picture or what?

        1. They do, But its all still in the testing/trial phase with some little niggles to be worked out before its ready to be introduced into the broadcast.
          Not just the actual camera units that are new, The whole in-car system is been upgraded as well as some other things for next year & they like to test everything thoroughly & get it working to the quality they want before bringing them into the broadcast.

          1. So I gather this was correct then?

            They were asked to remove some bits from that article including this sentence which was there a few weeks back.

            “In 2015, every car is fitted with several SD cameras, with up to nine cars at any time each sending 2.5 to 3.5Gbps of footage back to the tech center via that cellular network. Even bigger things are in store for next year as the network is getting a speed bump up to 10Gbps and beyond. That way every car will be able to send HD footage simultaneously.”

    4. It’s ironic that the best possible eventuality for the career of Stoffel Vandoorne is if McLaren-Honda arrive at Melbourne having made no perceivable progress whatsoever, because have no doubt, despite eight figure salaries, both of McLaren’s world champions won’t stick around for another season like 2015. Mark Webber has just proven that there is success to be had in the wider world of motorsport, and that LMP1 can offer a level of challenge, professionalism and competition comparable to F1.

      McLaren has already wasted an option to put Vandoorne in the car for 2016 by adhering to their sponsors demands to retain Button – in order to invest in their future and to preempt the inevitable exit/retirement of their incumbent champions, McLaren should at least explore the possibility of a shared drive.

    5. I’m not too hopeful about the direction I was reading about where they leave the undersize turbo/impeller in the vee just run it faster. That sounds like a small, incremental step. I hope the skunkworks version with full size but bulkier bits gets the go-ahead, then the Honda could suddenly be a different proposition.

      Ferrari have already tried the aero-first philosophy and binned it. Please learn from others, Honda. What’s that saying? Those who won’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

    6. Somewhat related, iracing released screen shots of the mp4-30 in the sim today. They’re saying it will likely be released for purchase in the next build in a couple weeks. This is significant because the team allowed iracing incredible amounts of access to data about the car WHILE the season was going on. How many F1 teams let ANYONE touch that stuff in season? For those not in the know, iracing goes to extreme detail to model the physics of the cars they put in service. Going so far as to using the weight and mass of individual parts to determine how it drives. Sure, the car had an awful season, but this was unprecedented access for a modern sim developer from a current f1 team about a current car. This is a good sign! As a McLaren fan I’m extremely excited.

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