Dennis would have ended McLaren-Honda union too – Brown

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren CEO Zak Brown says his predecessor Ron Dennis wouldn’t have kept Honda’s under-performing power units despite his history with them.

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Just 12 months ago some felt Valtteri Bottas would only last one season at Mercedes but Hans is impressed with how he handled his short-notice promotion:

He has definitely silenced many critics, he may have had a few off-moments through the season but on the whole he was well in the mix.

At this level, a huge change like this could easily be expected to leave a driver floundering behind or over driving to compensate. Bottas however was well in the mix from the start.

It will be exciting to watch him next year, will probably be his one and only shot at the title, he’ll be highly motivated!
Hans Herrmann (@Twentyseven)

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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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58 comments on “Dennis would have ended McLaren-Honda union too – Brown”

  1. The Montreal renovation looks pretty impressive. I hope they don’t touch the track layout and run-off though (any more than they already have)

    1. If i was running the thing i’d have the teams set up shop in an oily garage With some Worn out toolkits and some lewd posters on the wall. The less they can be professionals about it the better!

      1. The memberberry has spoken and I concur!

    2. I was there last year (the track is open to the public you can just stroll round it – pub intended).

      Those run offs they’ve tarmaced on the whole aren’t all that big – in general that track has scarily small run offs. You stand in it and think – would I drive at this in excess 150mph? Answer – no.

      Still somethings like the exit of the hairpin make no sense and I normally am all for some form of pentaly in the run off areas but that place is tiny compared to somewhere like silverstone (which I would very much like a crack at driving at silly speeds at the corners)

  2. This Williams debacle has been exhausting. I feel sorry for everybody involved, especially the drivers. At this point, it clearly has to be down to things far from the sport side of it.

    1. Controversial thought, but the two female-lead f1 teams we had of Late seem to have done not too well, and in similiar fashion. Could it be these team principals lacked ‘killer instinct’ and tried to play it too safe financially? Especially williams Never even seemed to try and progress from lucking into 3rd in 2014.
      Please don’t be offended i just couldn’t help wondering

      1. There’s nothing offensive in your observation whatsoever.
        Lacking the killer instinct and playing it too safe? Hmm, I don’t think it’s playing it safe, since there’s not much risk there to play with. They will eventually get a second driver and it’s secondary who that’s going to be.
        To me, it looks as if they made the candidates bid for the seat and are waiting for the highest offer. Right now, the bidders are negotiating with their sponsors, because so far neither of them was able to satisfy Williams’ demands.

      2. The only coincidence is the indecision of who gets to wear what clothes for the next season, or whose clothes. 2 many drivers for only 2 seats. I think Damon is right, it’s just a commercial and financial decision.
        I don’t disprove of Monisha, trying to keep the team afloat on it’s own, that said they would’ve drown anyway, had not luck come to save them, Honda would’ve been the platform on which Sauber could’ve found their feet again, then there’s also the Ericsson backers, so all things considered Sauber under Monisha was going to survive to fight another day. Vasseur lucked into the team as well, he has “free reign” and he saw himself in a great situation. Freddie or the backers got ambitious, maybe rightfully since they’ve secured a sponsorship deal alongside the 2nd best engines. I wonder if Vasseur hadn’t been so eager to jump on the Ferrari opportunity that Sauber might’ve got something out of the Renault/STR/McLaren/Honda swap around. In the end everyone’s happy.

        @fletchuk Sorry to be picky myself, but the ballast has nothing to do with increased times, the ballast relates to the minimum weight, but it’s weight that’s already there, the rule sets how light you can go, if any team is running much ballast if any at all (Sauber wasn’t) that weight is for them to manage and is partly responsible for the difference in time we see between the cars but ultimately ballast doesn’t slow cars, the minimum weight does, those 6kg are going to affect the lap time of all cars. Having the 6 kg and the Halo weight up above the centre of gravity is also going to slow cars down.

      3. @mrboerns, how exactly is a team with less than half the resources of the big three teams realistically going to have a chance to beat them over the longer term?

        Williams have the 5th or 6th largest budget in the field at best, and in a period where there have been significant changes in the regulations (the change in the new engine regulations for 2014, then the change to the new chassis regulations for 2017), the wealthiest teams will have a major advantage.

        Yes, Williams did grab a short term advantage in 2014 when Ferrari slipped up, and again in 2015 when Red Bull fell back, but when those other teams have significantly more resources to throw at their teams, you’re always going to face an uphill struggle – especially when the 2017 regulations had a number of changes made to them that seemed perfectly suited to outfits like Red Bull.

        Force India are, in some ways, now in the situation Williams were in 2015 – they’ve had two reasonably strong seasons back to back, but have some teams behind them that are much richer (Renault and McLaren) and are making significant reforms that should push them much further up the field.

      4. Hmm… you could reasonably accuse Monishia of playing it safe… …right until she took the gamble to put 6 drivers in 2 cars in 2015. That was not a conservative move; it was a serious gamble, and it was nearly a lot messier than the expensive shambles it eventually proved to be.

        I’m not sure Claire’s actions are so much related to indecision (or gambling, for that matter). Rather, she’s taking a leaf out of Frank’s playbook. Cast your mind back to 2005. Frank Williams was looking for replacements for Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher. Now, Mark Webber got announced fairly quickly after the double vacancy revealed itself. However, the second vacancy stayed open. The end of the season passed, then Christmas. The day before the launch, it was still unknown as to which of the shortlisted candidates got the nod. (I can’t recall if anyone jumped the gun and stated who had it early, but it wouldn’t surprise me).

        Finally, the curtain was drawn at the start of the Williams launch, Nick Heidfeld was called forward, and in the ensuing interviews he admitted he’d been given the nod only 30 minutes earlier. Frank had done this before, but never waiting quite that long. Why? To play both sides against the other, make sure the team got the best deal and avoid picking anyone too impatient or weak-willed to fit the Williams way.

        Frank isn’t the only team manager who’s done this either; Vijay Mallya has done so several times, most notably waiting until the start of the second test one year to declare a second driver after conducting a shootout in the first pre-season test. (Note: this was 2013, when teams were only allowed three tests total…) There’s good reason why the “trial by nerves” method of driver selection went out of fashion elsewhere, but perhaps it explains why Claire is doing it now.

  3. Sorry to be picky, but reading the article it doesn’t actually say the Halo is increasing the laptimes by 3-4 10ths. The minimum weight of the cars is going up by 6kg and there is a mention in the article that “its generally accepted” that 10kg adds around .3 seconds depending on the track, and doesn’t discuss aero.

    I still hate the Halo, but I think its a little unfair to directly attribute it to slower lap times considering the ballast most teams are still running.

    1. The quote here on F1Fanatic under the article link has been taken directly from the article. In the article, this quote is from Pirelli F1 Race Manager Mario Isola.

      I don’t know if the halo will necessarily directly increase laptimes in that range, but what is quote here is quoted in the article.

    2. The minimum weight is going up by 6 kg – but the Halo system the FIA has asked teams to include is 15 kg, not the 5 kg originally promised. Therefore the minimum effective weight increase is 9 kg. This would lead to approximately 0.3 seconds of time loss in sheer weight. The relatively small amounts added by the increased drag could plausibly raise the total time loss to 0.4 seconds, especially at longer tracks like Spa. This is before taking into account extra weight for such things as mounting supports (that are for the team, rather than the FIA, to decide).

      Given the complaints from midfield teams (notably Force India, and to some extent Haas) and the weight distribution requirements meaning some teams are forced to put some ballast in the back simply to meet the distribution regulations, only the top teams are likely to be able to get away with using pure ballast removal to compensate.

  4. Bruce McLaren is the Mr. McLaren.

    1. Boullier’s grill the grid has some other nice history black holes. He got the McLaren question right, though he forgot the 2nd part of the answer. Ron is the Mr. MP4 The Honda deal was Whitmarsh’s making, he ran with it, and I think he approved of it, but Ron must’ve known that it was never going to work out, McLaren never succeeded with a new engine manufacturer, the team always waited long enough until the engine became competitive.

      1. Yes that’s quite true @peartree . Williams had a couple of horror years with the twin turbo V6 when Keke (Rosberg) described the throttle as an “on/off switch.” By the time McLaren took interest, it was fully sorted and went on to score some great results for the team. McLaren did however take the pioneering plunge with the heavy Porsche TAG V6 and later, the disasterous Peuegot N/A from endurance racing neither of which delivered spectacular performance, but the Porsche being by far the better of the two. So Ron did take risks with the engines when it seemed his other choices were limited. His entire thesis though was always about having a unique power plant to give him the edge.

        1. @baron, you say that the TAG-Porsche engine was heavy, but all of the turbo engines of that era were rather heavy by modern standards – in fact, at “just” 145kg the TAG-Porsche design was one of the lightest designs in the field (only the Hart 415T was slightly lighter, at about 140kg), with their rivals weighing in at between 155 – 170kg.

          I would also hardly call it “unspectacular” in terms of performance either, given that same engine helped the team to three WDC titles and two WCC titles and was one of the most successful designs in that era.

          Also, Williams were not the first team to use Honda’s V6 engine either – Honda used the short lived Spirit Racing team as a guinea pig for the RA163 series engine, with Williams only picking it up from them at the end of the year.

          1. Anon, well my memory still tells me that the Porsche engine/gearbox combo was overweight and became uncompetitive for that reason. Perhaps you have the benefit of Wiki for those numbers. You are quite right about the Honda pioneering with Spirit, I had forgotten about that episode, which was quite easy. Of course Honda were also present for some years in F1 under the Mugen badge who were a top Honda oriented tuning company started by Honda’s son but were never actually part of Honda. I would imagine all kinds of Honda R&D took place in this guise. I suppose the setup was much like Schnitzer BMW or ABT Audi is today.

        2. @baron Exactly, McLaren never succeeded with new manufacturers, so Ron must’ve known that this time it was not going to happen. When they were competitive so were the engines. The DFV was used by several teams and had won multiple titles, then the Honda was first on Spirit, then Williams who kept losing by themselves and then McLaren poached the engine, finally Mercedes was first on Sauber.

    2. I’d argue that Ron really is Mr. McLaren.
      Bruce definitely is the founder, of course, and no one can take that away from him.
      But it’s about who made McLaren in his own image, and that’s Ron.
      McLaren is the team that kept setting standards for what is cutting edge in F1 for decades.
      Just look at that photo of Ron. So sharp, so subtle, no flash but a lot of class. Few men could have made McLaren into what it is today, because few are like Ron, and he made it in his own image. His vision for turning a bunch of mechanics into a highly professional motorsport company was successful because it was genuine. He stayed true to his character and that’s why he knew where to go.
      I won’t argue of course that Ron doesn’t have many flaws either. Every genius is a flawed genius to an extent.

      But you can’t deny that McLaren today, for both its genius and its flaws, really is Ron Dennis.

      1. Bruce McLaren started a racing team.
        Ron Dennis grew it into a corporation. Racing teams have to be corporations to even consider F1 today.
        The garagistas are dead.
        Long live the Garagistas!

        Granted, without Ron Dennis, McLaren might not exist at all now. Though I’m not a big Ron Dennis fan, I can appreciate his skills. Like everyone else he has his faults. I’m still a fan of McLaren sentimentally, historically and greatly admire the fact that as an independent they still have the ability to produce a competitive F1 car. I believe they will again, hopefully soon.

        1. @bullmello, it is pretty certain that McLaren would not exist today without Ron Dennis and his takeover of McLaren – the team was really struggling by the early 1980’s, and given Marlboro would have left the team if they did not accept merging with Ron’s outfit, they would almost certainly have gone into bankruptcy.

  5. That Canadian revamp photo is so much Lol. They specifically mentioned a glass elevator, anyway the funny bits are the lack of many mandatory and sensible ugly-ish safety barriers, on the pit wall and to the left of the pit entry and finally the prediction, following the pit box order, that Ferrari is going to be 2018 champions, they have the 1st pit box.

    1. And the cars having no halo’s ;-)

      1. And no more DRS.

        1. @Egonovi It has to stay at least as long as following another car closely through the corners is too difficult due to how the cars are designed Aerodynamically.

          1. It’s a tongue-in-cheek response as the photo-art shows cars closely following without DRS.

        2. @Egonovi You seem to have misunderstood my point to some extent at least.

      2. @spoutnik didn’t see that, grass, what is grass in modern tracks? and @demercer of course the Halo!!! No homework done and lots of wishful thinking from their behalf, professionals, “it’s only 46 million”

    2. And grass everywhere :)

      1. With a Marussia leading the pack

  6. Way to go Max. Nice to see young man who was not too sensitive about everything and unafraid to speak their mind.

    1. A Bild article. I would not get too excited about what’s written there.

  7. ”Ron Dennis would have dropped Honda engines too” – I doubt it.
    – The new Montreal pit building looks cool. Still, though, I’m going to miss the old (current) one to some extent.
    – Just make up your mind already Williams! The announcement was supposed to take place by Christmas, but now we’ll have to wait till next year, LOL.
    – The weight increase due to the Halo is nothing compared to the weight increase from 2016 to ’17, though, so I don’t expect it to affect lap times. Just based on overall weight lap times this year should’ve been slower than not only the season before, but even more so than 2004-2008 when the minimum overall weight was around 600 kg, so I’m not pessimistic about this 6 kg increase due to the Halo because it’s nothing compared to the previous increases between any given two seasons and yet the lap times were never really affected, so that’s why I don’t expect them to be affected this time either. BTW, I thought it was supposed to be 5 kg due to the Halo, so where does the one extra kg come?

  8. Williams react angrily to Massa saying “the path of the team is financial”

    1. I don’t think Massa should be bad mouthing the team that gave him 2 post retirement seasons, well after his time was up.

      1. I’m not a big fan of Massa, but I do agree he’s faster than Kubica at least and possibly also than Sirotkin. He’s also show he’s faster than Stroll over the whole season and it wasn’t like Stroll came closer at the end of the season either.

        So it makes sense that they are only replacing Massa because of the money.

  9. The Williams situation is sad and appalling. Obviously we understand them not taking the risk on Kubica if the pace wasn’t quite there and all the insurance and other issues might form a serious impediment. But there are plenty of talented other drivers who deserve a chance at that seat. 15m promised by Russian backers (friends of Putin, if you’ll google the Rotenberg brothers), it’s just the wrong incentive and not what we should want in F1. People will complain I’m unfairly prejudiced agaisnt Sirotkin, but he chooses to be tarred with that brush.
    Williams went down the pay path with Maldonado and Senna (although Maldonado had more talent than either of the line-up we’d have now) and you would have hoped it was a one time thing. Sirotkin and Stroll are talented, for sure, but neither is good enough to deserve F1 ahead of Wehrlein, Kvyat, or any number of young racers who never quite made it like Rosenqvist, Frijns, Da Costa. That money is the deciding factor is bad, for me, without exception. And that Williams would need to resort to this situation says plenty about the state of F1. Williams went down a dangerous path letting Lawrence Stroll essentially take over the team, but at least you expected the money to guarantee a competitive second seat, for a driver Stroll might learn from. Instead it hasn’t turned out that way.
    Why the delayed announcement when all of F1 expected Sirotkin to be announced yesterday? Did the promised Russian money fall through again? Did someone in F1 make a plea? Did Wolff put in a word for Wehrlein, did someone else put in something for Kubica? Who knows. This saga is so frustrating.

    1. @hahostolze is there a remote possibility that the delay is to allow Kvyat a crack at the seat? Or do you think that ship has sailed already? I’m still hopeful but I’ve no idea if he’s quicker than Sirotkin. If I was Williams, I would want a revitalised DK driving for me. He’s quick, experienced and has the fire that Stroll & Massa lacked. (Massa did have it but I think the Brawn spring put the fire out). I can’t believe that the delay is due to Sirotkin or Kubica, as they have been ‘negotiating’ for months now and I’m trying to think laterally..

  10. Williams to wait until new year to announce driver line up

    I can’t but help suspect tardiness in selecting a driver will result in poor race results regardless of the quality of the car, especially if the driver doesn’t have recent F1 experience. Massa’s replacement needs to be putting in lots of hours on the simulator, so waiting until next year is going to hurt Williams because all the other teams have chosen their drivers and presumably have them putting in the hours on the simulator. Williams should have earned more points than they did this season, and one can’t but help point the finger at Lance Stroll for not earning more points, so it is essential for him to to perform better than he has.
    Williams should have tried to woo Alonso from McLaren, even though he wants to dip his toe into other racing series’, but maybe he felt obligated to give McLaren at least a year of his time since he was arguably a factor in them terminating their Honda contract.
    Lance Stroll needs to be putting in lots and lots of hours on the simulator because at the moment he is their senior driver, and his performance isn’t anywhere near good enough. This is his opportunity to shine. Once another driver has been selected that driver will be wanting to use the simulator to catch up on the time lost due to Williams indecision.

    1. And I think the ‘Williams angry at suggestions it’s all about money’ thing speaks for itself. They know it.

      1. Woops, reply to the wrong one

      2. @hahostolze To be fair they were going to either stay silent (thus admitting it) or react negatively to it (….thus admitting it).

        Which doesn’t necessarily mean that this admission isn’t just that, just that if it actually isn’t I doubt we’ll know it anyway.

        1. @davidnotcoulthard My head just exploded into my porridge..

      3. Anger is a sign you’re not in control of a situation, so Williams being angry about a link between their indecisiveness selecting a driver and money suggests they aren’t in control of that situation. They should have set a path towards certainty many months ago.

  11. That Narain Karthikeyan news is just what I wanted to read today.

    1. This is a slow news day every year in F1…

      …*cue someone doing a vitally important F1-related item in the next 8 hours*

    2. @major-dev Why do you say ‘news’?

      1. I’m from India, so I take whatever good news I get lol

  12. Can’t say I can go along with much of the rhetoric being used here wrt Williams’ situation. Debacle, sad, appalling, frustrating saga, tardiness, only for the money. Really? Something tells me Williams has things far more under control than would be indicated by such words being used from those in their armchairs not knowing any inside details at all. I’m sure they’re doing their best as usual, working very hard behind closed doors, including in simulators, and would have preferred to just still have Bottas there, but they’ve had to adapt, in an F1 environment needing improvement in several areas, that still has much of BE’s influence over it.

    1. Yes.. well.. that.

      None of you lot made the mistake of going out for new shoes with your wife/girlfriend? She wants to try em ALL… in ALL the shops… in ALL the shopping streets. .. and beyond.
      Interestingly, only now I realise Claire will end up with the first one she tried..

  13. 3 major Red Bull characters being publicly for grid girls very quickly. Red Bull are quick to associate themselves with fit young and attractive across all their marketing, it doesn’t surprise me this is the stance their team has taken.

    They know what sells.

    I’m not sure where I land on the issue. On the one hand I entirely understand the position of not wanting women to appear as sex objects. But as a feminist once pointed out to me, the true feminist perspective is that women should have the choice as to what they choose to do, and whether or not they want to take advantage of their attractiveness, just as men do.

    Saying that women shouldn’t be able to sell their body image is as repressing as saying that is all they are good for.

    1. What I find interesting is that it’s mainly men discussing the grid girl issue. Surely this is a subject for the women themselves? Whatever men say, you know it will be wrong. So it is, so it always has been, so it always will be..😬

      1. This is F1. It’s going to be mainly men discussing everything…

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