McLaren and Honda to stick with ‘size zero’ for 2016

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Honda say they and McLaren will continue with their ‘size zero’ design philosophy for 2016 despite their reliability and performance problems this year.


Comment of the day

Bernie Ecclestone is talking tough on the BBC’s F1 contract – but perhaps he has cause to be concerned:

Ecclestone’s comments are further proof that he’s pretty much panicking. He’s not used to companies and broadcasters actively choosing not to invest in the sport… Sky are downscaling their production for next year and the BBC can’t afford it and don’t want it.

Ecclestone can’t force the BBC to continue – they will almost certainly have break clauses in their contract, on both sides and in the BBC’s current financial rut, taking the hit will be cheaper than running with it.

He’s just worried a deal with ITV can’t be done (either due to time constraints or them not actually wanting it) which would violate the ‘guaranteed free-to-air coverage’ clauses in the contracts with all the teams.

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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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56 comments on “McLaren and Honda to stick with ‘size zero’ for 2016”

  1. That must be the face Alonso makes me when he sees a Honda engineer…

  2. Only the boss could get away with doing that in the office under health and safety :)

    Also I see the no contact rules don’t apply either.

    1. Those cans of red bull at the end were a rather cheeky touch too…naughty naughty toto ;)

      1. Well in that case you’ve missed RBR’s Christmas card which was distasteful in the name of humour.

        1. pretty much that @neelv27.

    2. Anyone know what the karts they’re driving are? Would love one of those…

  3. That Alonso “thing” is a very typical figure in Spain. There are similar versions with other characters, from hello kitty to the pope, messi and the lot.

    1. IIRC, there’s a Basque tradition of having well-known figures doing… erm… that in the stable as part of their nativity displays.

      1. Not Basque… Catalan…and its called caganer, the one who is taking a s%|t
        and yes an integral part of their christmas nativity displays.

  4. Wow, my first COTD. Thanks @keithcollantine.

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    20th December 2015, 0:34

    Re: COTD
    I haven’t heard anything about Sky downscaling their coverage for 2016. As far as I’m aware their coverage will remain as is.

    Tried looking elsewhere for info but could find none. Care to share a linky link?

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        20th December 2015, 5:29

        So basically it looks like they overspent on their EPL license and so have next to no money for F1. So now they’re merging all 3 skyF1 channels to form Sky Europe.

        However the viewers will not notice any change in coverage.

        1. It’ll be interesting to see how the F1 show will work when they merge. Also I wonder if there will be a drop in complaints about the shows being biased

  6. sorry but i don’t understand what this ‘size zero’ thing is?

    1. I believe it refers to the waistline around the engine cover

    2. Size 0 = very tight packaging of the components of a car

      First time I heard of it was with the RB 10. Renault wasn’t happy with how Newey integrated their engine and blamed Red Bill for the cooling issues.

      1. And there was Adrian Newey’s size zero McLaren from 03/04 (was it the MP4-18 or 19?) that was so ‘aggressive’ that it never got beyond testing because they could get the whole package to work. I hope this isn’t history repeating itself for McLarens sake

        1. @unicron2002 The MP4/18 was to be their 2003 challenger but on top of the cooling issues, it crashed a couple of times for odd reasons and didn’t get through the FIA crash tests on a handful of occasions. As long as they can get the new cars through crash testing, it’ll be a better version of the concept than the MP4/18 was..

        2. The problem of McLaren isn’t size zero approach. Power unit was designed in a way that it’s components either popped out of the control loop or stayed within delivering to little. The consequence of first was self destruction. The latter: inadequate overall power output. Simple as that. Neither sounds good and that’s common thing today in F1 ;-)

        3. They still can’t get it to work, lol. Gotta love Ron though. If it’s broke, don’t fix it.

    3. It’s an allusion to ‘Size Zero’ models in the fashion world as a way of referencing the design target of super tight packaging around the engine cover area.

  7. On Rio Haryanto’s news, I think it means that Jakarta had to withdraw its city promotion on Rio’s car if he ever drive in F1. The main support would be still government of Indonesia’s Ministry of Youth & Sport and Pertamina oil-and-gas which will provide 20 million euro.
    The only blow to Rio Haryanto is that he had been given false hope from a governor that always throw promises he can’t deliver.

    1. That last one is simply not true. Please don’t spread false information. Some promises he manages to deliver, some haven’t been supported by the local’s people representative council, and some promises are simply to big to be delivered in a quick and timely manner. Of course if you read the news, the local’s people representative council also agree to help Haryanto, so it wasn’t just the Governor. They tried to find a way to fund Haryanto but eventually have to give up because the current law simply prevented them to do it. It doesn’t mean he stop supporting Haryanto since he will still ask other private companies to support Haryanto.

      Having said that, personally, Rio Haryanto doesn’t deserve the funding. He wasn’t really fast and he will only reduce money that can be made available to Indonesian people. If he was fast and really promising as Vandoorne, then I don’t mind the government support him because he can carry Indonesian name in a good and positive way. Right now Rio Haryanto is just another pay driver. At least Sean Gelael (another Indonesian racer competing in the lower formula) use his own money. I don’t feel I can support both to be honest. One because he used government money and he is not fast enough. One because he is simply too slow.

      1. Maybe the Indo govt should check the rules before drafting paperwork next time…

        1. You mean any government official need to had proper insight of regulation beforehand?
          You asking too much, bro…

      2. And Sean has more diverse CV (Co-driver, rally driver, single seater driver, and LMP2 driver) than Rio.

  8. Retaining the aero concept makes sense: I don’t think it was drastically failing them on performance or cooling later in the season.

    1. I think the FIA should reduce the total wing area but free up development, in all areas, stimulate creativity. I think wing aero should be minimized in an effort to allow cars to follow each other, like in bike racing.

    2. I don’t think retaining size zero makes sense. Compromising the engine for sake of aero in an era where engine is king seems fundamentally wrong.
      Also, the more stable the engine rules remain, the different approaches converge towards a common global optimum solution (As was seen during the V8 era, the engines were quite equal with Renault slightly better in fuel efficiency and Mercedes slightly better in raw horsepower).
      The Honda solution for the engine is significantly different than the Ferrari and Mercedes solution. And evidence suggests that the Ferrari and Mercedes solution is closer to the global optimum than Honda’s solution.

      As an afterthought, the size zero theoretically should have allowed Mclaren to be at least the best chassis this year. However, they were probably no better than the 3rd best chassis (after Mercedes and Red Bull). So, they are not even the best in the aero department, even though they compromised engine for aero (something no other team did except for Ferrari in 2014 and they quickly abandoned their approach).

      1. Compromising the engine for sake of aero in an era where engine is king seems fundamentally wrong.

        yes and no Sumedh.

        On the one hand you are right that compromising the engine like Ferrari did in 2014 clearly is not the way to go when a good CIE paired with powerfull MGU-K and MGU-H with well worked out power plans can offer so much more. But in this case Honda is convinced that they can get that power within the tight packaging.
        Now whether they can deliver on that promise or not (so far rather not) is the crucial question here! If they can, it might just be the package that can beat the top.

        1. If the engine was king Ferrari wouldnt be number two on the grid. Many times people qoute the McLaren as a great car with a bad engine but it wouldnt be such a great car without the size-zero package would it? Remember just a year ago McLaren-Mercedes 2014, It was beaten by a Ferrari and Renault engine aswell as two Mercedes teams.

          If Honda can get their super agressive packaging to work we might have a contender, if not there aint any shortcuts.

      2. I don’t think retaining size zero makes sense. Compromising the engine for sake of aero in an era where engine is king seems fundamentally wrong.

        That is one of the best bits of common sense I’ve seen for a while.

    3. Afaik @vettel1 the turbine is still small they’re just planning to turn it faster. I don’t get the feeling that’s going to be enough to catch up with the others on mguH charging, which is free under the regs. I fear it’s a losing concept, that they’re clinging to out of pride.

      The fact that mguH is one of the few areas open to development means it’s a moving target, and the others will be extracting more and more energy from their big turbines while Honda are messing about chasing a few more percent and with a ceiling of 125k rpm anyway.

      1. That’s true @lockup, and perhaps a specific area that they could look at. More broadly however I don’t feel the concept has been detrimental.

      2. I can’t understand how the turbine can’t turn faster. If the engine RPMs go up, then the exhaust goes up in direct proportion to the RPMs, so surely the turbine would have to turn proportionally faster as well, or something would explode. For example, if the RPMs double, then the exhaust would double, so one would expect the speed of the turbine to double as well.
        I wondered if the real problem was the alternator was hitting its power output limit, so that while it did spin faster and faster as the RPMs got higher and higher, there would be a point where its voltage and current output would stay the same, which is essentially what an alternator is supposed to do. For example if you doubled the RPMs then you’d expect the alternator output to double as well, but the alternator output might just increase by 5%. The way to fix that is to put in a more powerful alternator.
        I thought the concept of the MGU-K was very interesting, because in the future it may relegate the piston and crankshaft system to a secondary role, and the primary motive force is actually the turbine and alternators.

        1. I can’t understand how the turbine can’t turn faster.

          I would suspect that it was a combination of things: Bearings, gas flow, etc…

          If I remember right, they want to run the turbo at double the speed (or more) they normally do. This is no small feat, and one minor flaw in the design will limit this. Some minor restriction in gas flow, on either side, bearings having slightly too much friction, small inefficiency in the MGU-H… any of these could scupper it, before you even get to the control electronics etc.

  9. I just realized it looks like Toto and whoever else that is drove the karts through stacks of empty Red Bull cans. Perhaps a sly jab?

    1. That other guy is non other than Aldo Costa

    2. Not surprising after RBRs rather distastefull Christmascard (it was in yesterday’s roundup) @joey-poey

      1. Yeah I agree @bascb the Red Bull card was poor.

      2. re the RB xmas card. It’s all a matter of one’s sense of humor. I didn’t find it in poor taste, and I’m sure TW/Merc didn’t either. High level sports teams are made of pretty sturdy stuff, and I’m sure harsher words and sentiments have been spoken between RB and Merc this year.

        I think RB would find Merc using Red Bull cans in the Merc video rather funny — in fact, it’s great marketing for Red Bull (even the Mercedes F1 Team drinks Red Bull, even though they have Monster as a sponsor lol).

    3. A perfect take that moment for RB..xD

  10. The Haryanto news was from last month though – makes me disappointed with Ahok, that he was considering using public funds for this in the first place, but at least that’s scrapped. Unlike the funding from the Ministry of Youth…

  11. Look at that photo of Alonso. If Kylo Ren had an F1 car he would definitely have a McLaren Honda.

  12. So, Honda keeps this failure and tries desperately to improve that for next year. The concept is completely wrong (Ferrari failed last year, too). But for some reason no one learns from that. It looks like “We know we are going to die, but we just pretend that is not going to happen.” I fear Alonso and Button will finish their careers next year, because there is no reason to be at the back of the field all the time.

    1. they didn’t say that they’re gonna keep the concept of the small turbine, they said they’re gonna keep size zero. All that means is that they’re gonna package the new engine as tightly as this one. BBC states Honda are designing a new engine with a larger turbo/compressor and fixing their issues this year. So, saying they’re going with size zero doesn’t mean they can’t have the new engine. They’ll just fit the bigger engine in, and design a size zero body round that

      that’s my guess

      1. Well I hope you’re right. If they don’t fit everything into the vee it means ‘size zero’ doesn’t actually mean anything, but I suppose that’s not really a surprise.

  13. So Rosberg’s contract extension is depending on ‘how the season pans out’ according to Wolff. As this comes right after Wolff said he will dump drivers if camps form within the team, I suppose the fear is that Hamilton will go into meltdown should Rosberg continue winning races. I can see how it would be a nice fix just to get rid of Rosberg for a quiet no. 2 like Wehrlein, but it would more than ironic if it’s Rosberg would gets the boot under the new ‘team spirit’ rule. Somehow doubt Zetsche would be as practical about it as he’s the one talking about higher values and specifically praising Rosberg for his spirit.

  14. Ahok cancels fund support for racer Rio Haryanto

    What do you mean cancel? I’ve never even heard of it being there to begin with….

    I’m getting the impression some ar#3%^$3s in Jakarta’s (not to be confused with the Indonesian national) parliament came up with this.

    1. @davidnotcoulthard there was a picture of a letter of intention that leaked some days/weeks ago.

    2. @davidnotcoulthard, it stems from what was claimed to be a leaked letter between Manor and the Minister for Youth and Sports that supposedly agreed to pay Manor €15 million in return for Haryanto being given a seat (although, as an aside, I’m not sure if the letter was authenticated in the first place).

  15. The Renault interview with Jérôme Stoll is interesting. He admits very clearly several things: (a) F1 is the top of motor racing, (b) the publicity around the Renault engine was negative, (c) part of his job is President of Renault Sport F1.

    Ghosn will make a formal announcement in January, but Stoll implies that it will cost them nothing (i.e. current engine budget) to bring the Enstone workload back to France and use French pride (“la fierté du personnel de Renault”) to move forward (note, he’s not clear that he would close Enstone, just hints…) Perhaps meaningfully, he does not mention the name Lotus one single time in the interview.

    It’s fairly clear that Stoll is putting his career on the line for Renault as a constructor to get back to the top again. He’s been with Renault for thirty-five years or more, mostly on the financial and marketing side, so he must be conscious of how much internal support he’s got.

    Somehow, I think he could be right. (Disclaimer: I bought a Renault “Dauphine Gordini” brand new in 1961 and loved it … until I rolled it down a mountain side.)

  16. You’ve got to hand it to McLaren for taking their description of the engine as “size zero” from the modelling world though:

    Anaemic, underdeveloped, pushed beyond design limits, unattractive to the world at large, and permanently on the verge of a breakdown.

    Sounds about right.

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