McLaren MCL32, Albert Park, 2017

Honda woes deepen as engine penalties loom

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Honda are counting the cost of three MGU-H failures during the Bahrain Grand Prix which means their drivers can expect a string of grid penalties later this year.

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The newly-named Formula Two series has F1’s old problems, says Roger after watching yesterday’s season-opener:

It was a boringly easy and unexciting tyre nonsense race in which the car been passed had zero defence.

I’d forgotten how much I despise these high degradation tyres. they looked stupidly slow easy on as everyone was managing them & then we have a series of boringly easy and uncontested passes when they start to hit the cliff. Utterly boring!

DRS really has ruined the racing in this series, it’s either too effective and seems to hinder the chances to overtake as everyone is stuck in a DRS train.

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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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  • 54 comments on “Honda woes deepen as engine penalties loom”

    1. The day the Bahrain GP is off the calendar, that will be a great day. I cannot think of a GP less appropriate and more geared towards a show for the elite- exactly what motor racing in any discipline is NOT about.

      1. “The right crowd & no crowding” as motorsport’s elite edict goes all the way back to Brooklands heyday.

        1. I don’t think that had anything to do with the elite. It was probably just another way of saying “please behave in a civil manner.”

    2. Well, Toto, there’s only one proper way to prove that to everyone isn’t there!

      That article on the state of Bahrain really was saddening to read. I’ve been looking a bit at this issue recently and it is such a shame that in what would otherwise be a beautiful location, there are such disgusting acts of inhumanity. I’m not sure how it compares to the likes of the UAE, Qatar, etc., but I’m guessing it’s possibly the worst. It disappoints me that countries like the UK don’t do much to help. If I were a journalist I would not accept signing such an agreement and wouldn’t go (although I’m not, so maybe my opinion on that is invalid). F1 has never held much in the way of morals, so it doesn’t surprise me as much. They are only a business and as such don’t have such a duty to, not that I think it is right that such a large global business shouldn’t care morally.

      Is it just me or are negative camber corners where the biggest improvements are coming? In China many of the overtakes happened in turn 6 (or whichever one is the slow right), actually in the corner, rather than the braking zone. This is negative camber. In Bahrain the corners are largely positive camber and the improvements were minimal. Positive camber has traditionally provided more stability and therefore faster cornering, so it seems the effect of increased downforce and mechanical grip are less important.

      1. @strontium

        A joint analysis conducted by the Independent and Campaign Against the Arms Trade found £10bn in arms licences were issued 2010-2015 to regimes designated “unfree” by Freedom House, including China, Oman, Turkmenistan and UAE.

        Meanwhile £7.9bn worth of arms were sold to countries on the “human rights priority countries” list, which is maintained by the Foreign Office and includes countries judged by the FCO to have “the worst, or greatest number of, human rights violations”.
        Customers on this list included Saudi Arabia, which was sold bombs, missiles, and fighter jets, Israel, which was sold drone components and targeting equipment, and Bahrain, which was sold machine guns.

        The only time the UK government will mention human rights abuses is when they’re trying to sell the weapons and other equipment used to carry them out. Our government are selling weapons to Saudi Arabi even though everyone knows they’re being used to kill civilians, they sure as hell don’t care about some protestors being tortured, or human rights being abused.
        And, sadly, most journalists can’t afford to have our moral conviction, who would hire a racing journalist who won’t visit several of the countries that host races ?
        And as the saying goes, 90% of the evil stuff that happens in the world is done to pay the rent/mortgage.

        1. @beneboy sadly, you’re not wrong

        2. I have friends in Saudi Arabia and also friends in the government in Kuwait. I live in the Middle East. My Arabic teacher is Syrian. I have a free mind and don’t listen to the BBC like a drone.

          Can you please explain “how we all know Saudi is using arms to kill civilians”? You have this on what authority? You mean in accidental deaths that happen in war? Or you mean targeting civilians? And you mean Sunni civilians? What exactly are you talking about? And WHY would KSA be targeting civilians exactly? And you mean the same way the USA just recently killed hundreds of civilians and even admitted it in Syria? Can you explain how any country is doing anything in the world to help defeat the Houthis in Yemen? Do you have any idea of what the Shias backed by Iran are attempting to do in Iran? Do you really understand any of these words that you speak? Are you just regurgitating what you have been basically brainwashed to say? Why would I expect F1 journalists to tell me anything about other than F1? Would I turn to Anderson Cooper for commentary about F1? Do you realize the enormity of Chinas human rights abuses? Are you human beings or paid Google robots?

          1. I think he’s on your side.
            Let’s not talk politics on F1. Let F1 be what it is, an elite sport for oil rich country and enjoy.
            Let’s not start talking human right abuse by other country if we only talk about primitive kind of abuse not all aspect of human right abuse like electronic surveillance too.

          2. I agree with most of your points but man you need to take it easy.

            You might be the one who is most correct in a debate or argument but if you’re hot headed like that it doesn’t give a good impression

          3. @ibrahim, no offence, but by repeatedly lashing out at the other posters here and accusing them of being drones or of being paid to promote their views, you come across as being extremely intolerant of any other point of view and treating any criticism of certain regimes as if they were personal criticism.

      2. Easy to say “if i were a journalist” the thing is though these journalists haven’t signed up to be warriors for justice, they’re just folks trying to earn a living reporting in what they love.

        I mean if people want to show solidarity then fans need to refuse to watch the race or buy any publications which cover it. And then we can maintain our moral pedestal by scrapping all that technology we use to follow F1 which has morally questionable origins.

        Maybe even stop being a tax payer considering all the questionable things our taxes fund globally.

        Or we could just enjoy the race and not hold journalists to a higher standard than ourselves.

    3. I believe Honda, Alonso, McLaren & Ron Dennis are regretting the decision to bring back Honda back to F1. There is no reprieve in sight.

      And BTW what was that costume Christian ????

      1. @tmax To be fair, who wouldn’t regret the Honda decision by now. McLaren went with Honda believing that to win championships you need your own engine. Personally I think both McLaren and Honda should be prioritising the view Ferrari have, that in order to win, first you must finish.

        It does seem that they are getting fed up with it now. Previously there was no end of positive talk of progress and pushing forward from all sides of the project, but since their new engine layout failed so badly, it seems that with it failed all remaining motivation (and hope). I really wish for both their sakes they make big progress by the end of the season, if not sooner, but no matter what happens at this late stage in the development race it will always be catch-up.

        I believe the costume thing was just some banter between Zak Brown and Christian. There was a very interesting live interview with Zak Brown on the qualifying build-up on Channel 4 today (in which the tweet was mentioned). I’d recommend it for all to watch. It shows what a different person Zak is compared to Ron Dennis, and how more refreshed the new approach to McLaren is

      2. @tmax that was in 2006 – Horner bet his drivers that if one of them finished on the podium he would jump into the swimming pool in the Red Bull ‘motorhome’ naked. On race day Coulthard finished third! Red Bull were sponsored by the new Superman film that wknd so he borrowed a cape to cover his modesty. But without knowing that it does look weird!

        1. Didn’t DC also wear the cape on the podium?

    4. Not sure if Byron Young is legitimately angry about Finnish mannerisms, but I think it’s great that not everyone reacts the same way. I had a nice chuckle at the little fist pump as he got out of the car.

      1. @george – I agree. Scandinavian cool – its as enjoyable (in its own way) as seeing an excited driver hollering and jumping around.

        I still remember one of the early races between Bottas and Massa (2014 Russia maybe?) where they were racing each other, Massa was hot under the collar and Bottas was just “Eh, I’m faster than him”. Made me laugh at the range of emotions over the Williams radio waves.

        16th April 2017, 6:37

        It’s the big picture mentality. P1 in quali is zero points in the scorecard.
        And the pressure is immense for the drivers who come up in Finnish openwheelers.
        In the history of the sport, all classes combined since formula racing became a thing from 1930ish? there has never
        been more than a couple hundred Finnish drivers alltogether nationally, less than a twenty that have made it to the international level lower formulae and there’s been 7(1/2) who’ve made it all the way to F1 and three(1/2) of those have won the WDC!
        So the pressure to succeed is enormous, from within and from us (very, very spoiled) fans.And handling that pressure takes a certain type of personality, that comes across to y’all foreign folks as reserved and aloof, cold and unemotional.

    5. I am worried that the F1 GP at Barcelona Spain could become Alonso’s last F1 race (at least for 2017) , if the trend continues this way. He might permanently switch to Indy or sit out if further races if they can’t complete a race.

      What is the point flying half way around the globe if you are not sure if the car can finish the race !!!!!

      1. @tmax

        Because racing…

      2. @tmax, don’t worry, Fernando can think of 40 million good reasons to continue starting races.

      3. @tmax while your suggestion is not impossible, there is a fair reason.

        £€$ 30 million or thereabouts. I know that’s not what he’s interested in really, but you’d have to be mad not to for that money. Furthermore, if he wants to move teams to a competitive seat in 2018 (which by the sounds of “I’m at the best of my career”, he appears open to doing), he needs to stay in F1

    6. “I think if I could have persuaded McLaren not to go I would have done it.”

      As far as I can tell there isn’t any significantly more benefit to an F1 team from Monaco that they don’t get at other tracks. So why shouldn’t a team consider sending their top driver to race in another equivalent racing series, especially if their corporate sponsors get better brand recognition for it? The team is still using 2 cars on the grid, it is just they have a third car racing in another series.

    7. So Ecclestone would have blocked something that’s turned into a really big story, and has given both F1 and the Indy 500 a lot of extra attention on social and traditional media ?
      Something that’s given both series and Honda the kind of positive PR that money just can’t buy ?
      And he was surprised Liberty wanted someone else to promote the sport ?

      The only possible down side to this is the chance Alonso could get injured and be unable to race again, but that could happen every time he gets into his F1 car (assuming they can get it started), or enjoy himself so much he doesn’t want to come back to F1. Although even that could be good, if McLaren are struggling to finnish races they may as well use a reserve driver while they work on the engine, let Fernando have a few months of fun, and come back stronger next season. The only thing he’s bringing to F1 at the moment is confirmation that you can be one of the greatest drivers in the world, but without the right car, you’ve got no chance.

      Seeing him trying to perform miracles with those cars has been fun at times, but the novelty has worn off and it’s getting quite sad watching it all again this season, a driver of his abilities should be racing, and he can’t do that in F1 right now.

      1. +1 so glad he’s gone. I was starting to think it was never going to happen

    8. COTD When you go artificial you get unnatural side effects, defenceless battles and DRS trains. If there’s a series that becomes useless with gimmicks, it’s junior championships. Let’s find the best driver at winning the lottery.

    9. Neil (@neilosjames)
      16th April 2017, 2:43

      [Zak Brown’s Tweet] Ahhh, back when Red Bull were that quirky, strange little fun team that just turned up and advertised stuff, and Christian Horner spent his days trying to be everyone’s friend. How times change!

      1. @neilosjames – pitlane mechanics dressed as Stormtroopers!

    10. Fernando would be crazy to quit the season and he won’t due to the money he is being paid.
      If he decides to leave McLaren at the end of the season he may be hard pressed to get a decent seat.
      The best seat would likely be Renault – Palmer might be vulnerable and the engine is getting better. Red, Merc and Red Bull are not interested.
      If Grosjean or Sainz goes to Red, ALO could end up in one of those seats but neither cars have the ability to contend with the big 3.
      In the end if ALO wants to stay in F1, McLaren may be his best (or only) option other than walking.
      if Honda doesn’t get their act together and soon, I think there may be a chance they will quit or at least supply another team and free McLaren from their contract which would enable the latter to go with another engine supplier such as Merc.
      I hope Honda will progress enough so ALO will stay but hearing him say today he may have gotten 12th, 13th or 14th if his engine hadn’t broke is testimony to how far Honda ha slipped.
      Somehow I think McLaren will get out of this hole but it is hard to imagine how. Zak Brown seems to think outside the box – he will need to pull off a minor miracle.

    11. Has Ricciardo signed with another team already? He seems to be dropping truth bombs all season now. First at Melbourne where he said, watching the onboard of the Ferrari and Merc, they were not having the downforce required to brake later.

      Next was about the rear being less stable than them and now about not winning Monaco.

      Don’t think he can be this critical when the team have been consistently giving him good to great cars in his career.

      Renault doing so much better has made RB’s ‘our PU is shot’ excuse void.

      1. @evered7 Why can’t he be critical? RBR never gave him the tools to challenge for WDC, a challenge that he deservedly believes should be coming. And even if it has, why is it not allowed for him to criticize? All the drivers are criticizing their teams constantly if they feel the team’s not up to their end of the bargain. Alonso’s been doing it for 13 seasons straight now including in seasons when he was WDC. Hamilton’s done it, Vettel’s done it, Kimi’s done it etc. etc. So why can’t DR?

        1. And DR is probably the best of them

        2. I think you are way off the mark when comparing Alonso’s misfortunes and complaining to Daniel’s.

          He has been exemplary considering the grief he has had to deal with at McLaren. Hamilton and Vettel would have reacted much worse and may well have left by now.

          Ferrari screwed him out of one WDC and failed to progress although he made them look better than they were.

          Alonso has shown time and time again he can drive anything and if he was in a Red Bull at this time he would at least be on pad with VES.

          Daniel is a good driver as he proved against Vettel at RB. But VES has proved to be faster more times than not. VES is driving the same car and isn’t complaining.
          RIC claimed he liked a “loose” rear end in the past so why the bickering now?

          Quite frankly , I think he is letting Ferrari know he would like the empty seat when Kimi leaves.

      2. @evered7, that said, Verstappen has been making similar comments about the team lacking downforce as well – whilst he’s not been quite so outspoken, his comments have been similar in nature to what Ricciardo has said.

      3. @evered7 I had understood that Ricciardo is already contracted to Red Bull for next year, although maybe I am wrong. Or it is possible that he has get out clauses. However, I can’t see who he would have signed for. We can safely say not Mercedes or Ferrari at this stage, for all the obvious reasons, and of all the other teams, only Red Bull and Renault are the ones likely to become championship challengers in the future

      4. @evered7
        Probably just because he’s still embarrassed at dropping the car in Australia. What he says appears to be true anyway, he’s just making sure everyone knows.

    12. Here’s a wild idea – let’s stop reporting on Ecclestone.

      His era is past.

      And reading pretty much anything he says just removes the positivity that 2017 has brought – every utterance of Ecclestone this year has just riled me up. It did so in the past too, but back then he was the ringmaster, now he’s Gollum without his ring.

      1. I agree completely. His opinions on the sport are now completely irrelevant.

        1. I agree. Please Keith, stop reporting on the evil dwarf.

          1. Paul Stilwell
            16th April 2017, 8:57

            I dunno, I quite like hearing his opinions just to realise how thankful we all should be now he can’t actually impose them on us.

          2. I saw the article elsewere so it really doesn’t matter…. But removing the positivity of f1 was always his job.

    13. It is nothing less than a disgrace that F1 is in Bahrain. Does the F1 circus have no scruples or principles at all? What depths of depravity would a regime have to descend to before F1 said “enough”?

      Journalists require visas to cover F1 in some countries, like China, Russia, and Bahrain. If they so much as tweet a remark critical of the host country they can kiss next year’s visa goodbye. So they say nothing about the imprisonment and torture of local journalists and dissidents.

    14. I think that maybe F1 should have moved the race forward 1 hour or so, as now it clashes perfectly with the Chelsea vs. Man Utd game, which would lower viewership, and leave the likes of myself trying frantically to switch my attention from one to the other.

    15. The old lady in pink looks suspiciously like MSC.

    16. Byron Young is one of the stupidest journos out there, yellow press impersonated. So BY has an idea what a driver should do when he’s happy and if someone doesn’t conform, suddenly he’s ripe for criticism. I have a suggestion for you Byron: since you don’t conform to my vision of what a decent journo should act like, please retire at once!

    17. Sviatoslav (@)
      16th April 2017, 8:13

      About Mercedes: if you can’t fix something with duct tape, it only means you didn’t use enough duct tape. Hopefully, their t-wing won’t break.

    18. I had a personal and very negative experience with McLaren several years ago and I have been thoroughly enjoying their misery with Honda since day one. But now even my cold, dead heart is starting to feel a bit of pity towards them.

    19. I agree with the COTD: having seen the two races in F1 this year, I don’t miss the old Pirellis at all. As a random occurrence in a few races during the year highly degrading tyres would be a nice novelty, but seeing them in every race? Nope. I do hope that next year GP2 (sorry, F2) will have proper tyres again, and as it’s supposed to mimic F1 I fail to see the point in having the current kind of rubber in the series.

    20. Can we please ignore anything that Bernie has to say? His views now carry ZERO relevance to F1.

    21. Have to say that I do agree with COTD.

      Watching the cars driving so slowly managing tyres & then seeing a bunch of utterly meaningless passing depending on tyres with cars that are not managing tyres been 4-5 seconds a lap faster is just so unsatisfying to watch imo & I tuned out of both races as a result of it, I just hate it.

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