Toro Rosso, Hockenheimring, 2018

Split from McLaren has helped Honda – Verstappen

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen says Honda have made better progress now their development programme is no longer being influenced by McLaren.

What they say

Verstappen believed Honda’s switch from McLaren to Toro Rosso has allowed them to extract more of their potential.

Basically now they just did their own thing, making the own engine instead of the team telling them how to make the engine. They got a few people on bard as well, different management, so it looks very promising.

Of course a year ago was a bit difficult to really judge that but that was always their intention, that is always you have to wait if they were really going to success in that but they’re definitely adding into the right direction. So I’m very happy with that.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Should F1 not fear losing its manufacturers?

I don’t understand the claim that car manufacturers are essential to Formula 1.

The drivers and the constructors are the lifeblood of the sport, and fact that the teams are constructors who produce their own cars means that the cars are the main performance differential. Apart from recently and in the 1950s, it has never been a manufacturers championship. Sometimes a team is owned by a manufacturer, but if they leave then their team can be taken over by a independent constructor, like happened with BMW-Sauber and Honda/Brawn.

You are suggesting that F1 would fail if a manufacturer left, and obviously there would be some negative impact, but would the loss of sponsorship etc not be offset by the other ways F1 makes money like hosting fees and TV rights? I doubt CART had similar revenues from these areas, and by the early 2000s it was basically a spec series with only two chassis manufacturers, so is F1 really in as much danger from a manufacturer walkout?

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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 “Split from McLaren has helped Honda – Verstappen”

    1. If Clare Williams really speaks in streams of double negatives it might point to a lack of comprehension of what’s required amongst the team, alternately she may just wish to be able to claim that whatever doesn’t work was not what she asked for.

      1. Having commented on the headline quote I felt obliged to read the article (or some of it), my advice; don’t bother, it’s all PRspeak and corporate gobbledygook, she can be a politician next such is her skill at talking all around a question without saying anything at all.
        Full disclosure; my eyes glazed over after half a page so if you are determined to persist there might be a nugget buried in there somewhere but I doubt it.

        1. I posted my comment & yours popped up. I should have waited… Lol!

        2. How can anybody read that article (or blame Clair for her answers) if the first question (?) is:

          Claire, we’re here in Austin and obviously not nearing the end of the season now-

      2. I came to comment that she’s been sounding more & more like a politician, & I don’t think that’s a good thing at all. Too much practice trying to put a positive spin on negative things, I fear. Lately it seems like she spends an awful lot of time talking about righting the ship, but she’s not really said much in the way of A: Whether they even know what’s wrong, & B: What they plan to do to fix it, other than everybody’s been “working really hard”.

        1. @aldoid, glad to know it’s not just me.

          1. @hohum: Definitely not just you. Clare for President! FIA President.

      3. @hohum – I thought you guys were exaggerating. But, holy hell. That’s a lot of words with nothing said. I too gave up midway, so I don’t know if she’s gone into anything more meaningful later on.

        Some team principals take the approach of dropping a vague hint of what’s being looked at, or the problem area identified, without revealing any competitive details, and I admire them for that. Horner, Toto are ones who come to mind.

        I also respect a (deputy) team principal’s decision not to share information, if they don’t want to (or don’t have anything do). But in this case, I’d just ask that they take the Arrivabene approach of not engaging with the media, and get on with it in the background.

        I sincerely hope she’s not speaking like this within the team to motivate them, because I’m sure they’ll be zoning out a minute into the sermon.

    2. Interesting. Has Max become the new Fernando?

      Seems to love having a dig :)

      1. @dbradock – if not Fernando’s job, could be coming for Andy’s or Adrian’s – such is Max’s expertise in every area of the sport that Horner sends him out to pontificate on.

        1. @jimmi-cynic perhaps he can speak for Charlie too.

          1. @dbradock: Wow! That’s it. Brilliant cost-cutting strategy from Liberty/RBR.

            They’re grooming Max to make redundant many high paying positions in F1 – engine guru, aero genius, racing tyre maker, race official, PR mouthpiece and weekend race driver.

            Why didn’t we see this before? It’s how F1 will save millions in future. Get Clare some racing gloves now.

            1. @jimmi-cynic – “I’m working really hard to put on these gloves. We all are. We’ve changed some processes by which we put on these gloves, and we should see the results of that shortly. For sure, the way we’ve been putting on these gloves until now hasn’t been ideal, so I look forward to turning a corner.”

            2. @phylyp: LOL! SoTD. Sarcasm of the day…

        2. He is a number goeroe (guru) so i wouldn’t find it strange. There is a reason that Daniel says Max is a F1 nerd…

    3. on COTD: manufacturers are important because they can divert their parent company marketing budget to F1. Other than that, I can’t really see that much of “road relevancy”.
      On Honda: Will Honda really bring it on, or will we see a F1a, with Mercedes/Ferrari, a F1b with Renault/Honda RB, and a F1c, with the rest? If so, the only good prospect would be that Leclerc wake up Vettel, and both wake up Ferrari, lest Hamilton will have a sixth title.

      1. But F1 was thriving when there were only independent teams participating (with 1 team milking their F1 success and making a sportscar).

        Maybe if manufacturers wouldn’t have stepped in, then besides McLaren there could also be Jordan, Minardi and Benetton (super)cars.

        1. @coldfly

          But F1 was thriving when there were only independent teams participating

          Not necessarily.

          The ‘boom’ periods of F1 always occurred when there was several manufacturers competing. The 1980’s, Early 1990’s & 2000’s for example.

          While many modern fans look back on the 1970’s as a ‘golden’ era with it’s largely independent teams & lack of big manufacturer’s, At the time it was actually seen more as a negative & there was a bit of a stagnation on F1’s interest during this time with categories that featured manufacturer’s who were really pushing performance/technology forward been the one’s that were gaining interest.
          When F1 started to really pick up manufacturer’s thanks to the turbo’s in 1980’s it really began to regain it’s image as the pinnacle & gain a significant more interest thanks to the publicity the manufacturer’s were providing.

          It was the same if you look over in the US, The CART/Indycar series was at it’s most popular & was gaining the most publicity during the 90’s which was a time when it featured more engine manufacturer’s than F1 did as well as competition between chassis, tyre suppliers & so on. Both CART & IRL stagnated when they reverted to less/single engine suppliers.

          And more recently look at WEC, Le Mans & the ‘Le mans series’ as it was at the time had declined since the early 90’s when the popular manufacturer driven Group C series was around. It wasn’t until manufacturer’s started returning that the series took off enough that it became a world championship again. And it’s been since most manufacturer’s left that the series has declined once again.

          1. RogerA suggest you register otherwise I don’t get advised when you use my ‘@ handle’.

            I used ‘thriving’ on purpose as it is subjective, and thus always serves the point I want to make ;)
            I think it is better to have 10-12 independents (Jordan, Minardi, etc.) than a few big corporates who have other teams in their stranglehold and can leave on a whim.

            1. Thanks for the COTD Keith!
              @coldfly I agree with you wholeheartedly.
              When people talk about manufacturers being important in the past they seem to confuse ‘manufacturers who own teams’ and ‘manufacturers who are engine partners’.
              For example, the boom years of the 1980s and 1990s RogerA describes were driven by the star drivers of the time and constructors such as Williams and McLaren. Not by engine manufacturers, who were just technical partners of the teams in the same way as Magnetti Marelli or Goodyear.
              They were important technical partners granted, but if there had been no car manufacturers involved it would just have been Ferrari vs Williams-Judd vs McLaren-Hart or similar, and Formula 1 would have carried on just the same.

        2. Maybe car manaufacurers aren’t needed @coldfly. But then we would stil lbe missing the money from other addictive things sloshing around in the sport especially cigarettes.

          As I mentioned in my reaction to the CoTD yesterday, it is wholly unrealistic to expect teams to build what in effect will be completely different cars (since any engine out there will mean a complete rethink), something that costs enormous amounts of money. Money the smaller teams don’t have (well and if the larger ones pull out, they won’t be doing either). Not to mention the lead time easily being 2 years.

    4. All this positive spin from RB on Honda…I wonder what will happen when their engines start blowing up next year…haha Lets hope not though, we need RB to be quicker than Merc.

      Max is right though, Mclaren’s “size zero” stipulation (thanks Martin, or was that Ron?) definitely boxed Honda into a corner. They basically had to start from scratch (again!) in 2017. At the end of the day, it was a scenario that just didn’t work out. From a risk perspective, Mclaren’s decision to ditch Honda was the right one.

      Compared to Williams, Mclaren appear (stress the word appear) to be doing the right things. Zak Brown admits there are issues and appears to be working to restructure the team. They’ve let some of their senior staff (the untouchables as we learned post Fredo fiasco) go, and blooding a new organization. This will take time as Zak has mentioned time and again, but I suspect it will bear fruit before Williams finds its way up the grid.

      I’ve stopped reading interviews with Claire Williams. As many of you have mentioned, I too find her PR spin really off putting. She isn’t admitting to the issues the team faces and appears to be living in the past. I dont know who makes the ultimate decisions at Williams, but they have to consider changing the approach, their business model needs altering to suit their current circumstances, this is not 1997. Do the sensible thing and buy a Merc gearbox for chrissake!

      1. Renault has had 6 PU failures this year – by far more than anyone this year.

      2. @jaymenon10 I very highly doubt either Martin Whitmarsh or Ron Dennis had anything to do with the “size-zero” concept.

        1. It is weird how it is mclaren’s fault for making a size zero car and not honda’s fault for promising to make a size zero engine and then failing to deliver. Honda was not working as a contractor for mclaren. It is a collaborative process. Both mclaren and honda ask things from the other party all the time and promise to deliver things which they agree on. Honda promised to make a size zero engine. Mclaren promised to make size zero car. It is not mclaren’s fault when honda agreed to it and failed at it horribly.

          And the size zero is pure marketing speech from ron anyways. It was all about look at our cool cars. I can already ron hear ron saying “”Focus is thought to be good, obsession is thought to be bad. But basically they’re the same thing. And then there’s ego. Ego is a core ingredient of ambition. Ambition and ego are close bed-fellows. And, like everybody I suppose, I seek happiness. It’s an uncomplicated objective. I don’t see happiness as laughing or clapping your hands. I see it as the opposite of unhappiness, the opposite of anger, of depression. If you can get honda to make size zero engine, you’re going to be far more productive in the sponsor negotiation table.”

          1. Exaclty @socksolid. McLaren and Honda took the step together. Both overestimated what they would be able to deliver.

            Sure, McLaren was pushing for an innovative engine (otherwise they could have just stayed with Mercedes who already had the best unit), and they wanted it a year eaerlier than maybe was wise. But Honda also entered because they had an idea they thought would be revolutionary and they could make it work (didn’t their plans figure a different kind of turbo?) to enter with a smash. And they agreed to the timeline.

        2. I’m pretty sure that “size zero” was a key component of what Ron agreed on with Honda from the outset. At least it was presented as the key to building better cars than they could do staying with an engine built by and for a competitor.@mashiat

          1. I don’t think they (or anyone anywhere) would ever nail down some very important technical aspects like that when writing their first contracts. The size zero was all about making the rear of the car better aerodynamically. Not something you decide before any technical work. Mclaren and ron especially wanted to do something new and revolutionary. They wanted to show they are the ones who push the aerodynamical envelope of f1 hardest and deepest of anyone. Show that mclaren can do magic with the right engine. How much worth the design even was no one knows. All we know is the hyperbole and in the end the disappointment of their season.

            And the size zero wasn’t even a failure. The failure was the honda engine. Size zero is just convenient thing to point finger at and laugh at mclaren for something which was effectively totally honda’s failure. After all some seasons ago we had the super tiny williams gearbox as well. The public who are mostly totally ignorant of technology tend to put the blame on parts of the car they can see. In reality there is rarely a single thing wrong with the car if it doesn’t win and in mclaren’s case even if the size zero was total failure in race car design it would not alone be able to make the honda engines or the car look like total junk.

            And staying with mercedes was not good solution for mclaren. I mean in hindsight it was trillion times better than going with honda but in the end what was the future of mclaren with mercedes engines? Best case scenario mclaren would be p3 or p4 from 2015 to 2018. Mclaren wanted to fight for wins and championships. Not have guaranteed p3 for every foreseeable future season with second rate mercedes engines. Without factory support it is almost impossible to win in f1. Red bull is pouring money into their car design hand over fist and at best they can luck couple of wins when everything goes perfect for them. Trying to something with honda was smart from mclaren. At the time nobody knew how horrible engines would make. Before their first season together people were afraid that honda would come and kill everybody. Probably the same people who are now saying it was an obvious mistake to go with honda.

          2. I guess this size zero ideia was put on the table by the team, and both McLaren and Honda underestimated the challenge. Probably looking after an aerodinamic ideia developed during the V8 era.

            Ferrari also was trying to develop its PU around the car, and then the poor performances in 2014 proved them wrong. I remember an interview (couldn’t find it right now) with the director of Ferrari’s engine department at the time, just after its firing, where he explained that he was asked a smaller PU to fit into a small car’s rear – a kind of Ferrari’s size zero concept, without the marketing. He objected that such design would compromise PU’s power, but the direction explained that the biggest gains would come from the chassis side. After the failure of such ideia because the car wasn’t fast enough, Ferrari completely redesigned its PU for 2015, as we know.

            Honda was already commited with such concept when Ferrari dropped it, it didn’t even run it on a track at the time.

            It was simply a wrong bet, in my opinion.

    5. I’d pay extra to have an entire race broadcast from the driver’s eye camera that we saw from the Grosjean experiement.

      1. Yep. And any idea Indycar has can’t be used by F1 because they didn’t invent it. I would suggest all teams be required to put the driver’s name on top of the halo so we can know who we’re watching with the incar camera without the need for an onscreen graphic. Seems so simple and helpful to the viewers…………

    6. We do see the presentations, only they’re at a fancy gala some weeks later.

      Maybe an idea to have some sort of podium celebration after the top 3?

      1. As F1 is a team sport (made abundantly clear with the team orders this year), there should be a podium for the top 3 finishing teams, and a small sidekick podium for the fastest driver.

        1. The results this year would then be:
          AUS: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull
          BHR: Ferrari, Mercedes, Toro Rosso
          CHN: Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari
          AZE: Mercedes, Ferrari, Force India
          ESP: Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari
          MON: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes
          CAN: Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull
          FRA: Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari
          AUT: Red Bull, Ferrari, Haas
          GBR: Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull
          GER: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull
          HUN: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull
          BEL: Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull
          ITA: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull
          SIN: Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari
          RUS: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull
          JPN: Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari
          USA: Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes

          And the Championship Ranking, would still be very much alive (Red Bull was still in it until Austin)
          1. Mercedes 370pts
          2. Ferrari 344pts
          3. Red Bull 285pts

          1. Colour me convinced! I like it!

            I will however continue to bang the drum of all F1 drivers should be employed by FOM and have to drive each car once through the season, order of driving dictated randomly.

        2. Can’t see how the season decider could be at any other race bar the one it’s decided at.

    7. I believe Max’s comments all come from his own TV/website, primarily for his ‘orange’ supporters. However, it surprises me, with all the money involved with this enterprise, they don’t have an English-speaking copy-reader…
      For 1,000 $US/year I’m available – and I have many year’s experience… ;)

      1. Just send a email to him but as American i hope you have a degree in English and not American English…

        1. Hahaha… I used $$$ to make it easier… but… I’ll accept 1,000 Sterling if you prefer… ;)

          BTW… It’s now known (internationally) as ‘British’ English… There are now many more people around the world learning ‘English’ as a second language than there are using ‘English’ as a first language. They all have their own version of the language, and some of them are very amusing.
          It’s a bit like Dollars – outside the USA you have to specify which ‘dollars’ are being used…

    8. I went to the Donington Museum at the weekend, very glad I got there before the Williams and McLarens were returned to the teams. Absolutely amazing collection of F1 cars ranging from the 50s right through to 2015. And it turns out that the Williams walrus nose has grown on me, looks great!

      And the 2014 ‘probiscus-nosed’ McLaren was more hideous in real life than on TV. Shocker. Sorry to see the collection go, but it was such a well hidden gem I’m not surprised sadly.

    9. Spark overtakes Sky to pick up rights for Formula 1

      I can’t remember when F1 races went off Free to Air TV in New Zealand, but it was long ago. Spark’s pricing and plans haven’t been disclosed, so we’ll have to wait and see. From the way the article is written, it sounds like their pricing will be “competitive”. 2019 might be a good year for F1 in NZ.

      1. As an F1/V8SC/WRC fan that might mean to watch all 3 I would need Spark, Sky Sports and the WRC subscription next year.
        That’s not going to happen so I’ll end up probably with just the F1, which is a shame. These streaming services are okay until you start needing all of them at once!

        1. Spark will be streaming Formula Two, GP3, and the 2019 Porsche Super Cup Series’ besides F1. So there will be plenty of high end motor racing to watch.

    10. Getting some distance from McLaren seems to have really energized Honda. I think that relationship was probably quite toxic – neither party trusted each other, and the huge pressure they were both under brought out the worst in both. Honda have had a great year with TR, away from constant negative press and lazer focused scrutiny. I hope they continue to improve as a team, and make a great engine.

      1. Honda were sandbagging, little did we know the bags of sand were actually McLaren’s cars

    11. I agree with Verstappen, and an interesting COTD as well, although I don’t entirely agree with it.

    12. did anyone understand the “Strong growth for F1’s TV and digital audiences in 2017 (F1)” story? it seems to say that the cumulative tv audience grew at the same time as not growing. the statistics they quote seem to be completely meaningless, or least complete gibberish.

      how has italy got +19% growth in audience? didn’t they take it off free-to-air? or did that happen in 2018?

      1. @frood19 in Italy we had 9 live races free-to-air in 2017 (all races in 2016), only Monza in 2018. Anyway the free service is absolutely crap so I hope no one really miss it.

    13. Strong growth for F1’s TV and digital audiences in 2017 (F1)

      I smell the unmistakeable scent of fish. The numbers are simply not credible. The people publishing the figures are the same people (or paid by the same people) who then seek advertisers based upon this “data”. Are they counting illegal streams perhaps? Does a Twitter mention count as a “digital audience”? Talk about vested interests; the conflict of interest is obvious. Unless this (survey) data is gathered and presented by an independent body it cannot be trusted. Where, for example, are the Japanese numbers? The country used to be F1 mad – people queueing up for days to get a ticket when F1 was free to air. I suspect that no amount of massaging can make the once-mighty Japanese figures look anything other than disastrous.

      Worse, this kind of pretense will do nothing for struggling teams, never mind bring in new teams or improve the racing.

    14. I think McLaren and Williams wanted their collections back to try and work out how they used to build competitive cars. Or to raise funds on eBay.
      Claire and Zak have a tough job. The cars are both dogs, but they have to talk the good talk every week to keep the money men happy. They could always pool resources as McLaren-Williams?

      1. I think McLaren and Williams wanted their collections back to try and work out how they used to build competitive cars. Or to raise funds on eBay.

        That is cruelly funny, well done!

      2. Keith M Crossley
        29th October 2018, 0:19

        I notice that Zak seems to have vanished. He, generally, most of the time, seemed like a sad Charlie Brown. Opposite of what he wanted.

    15. On COTD, I tend to agree that losing one manufacture wouldn’t be that detrimental to F1 as some might put, though that will send a very negative message/image to the interested people, be it fans, other manufacturers or any other interested party. But losing more than one manufacturer will bring the entire thing down to its knees leave alone losing more than two. If you look at the current ones, Mercedes and Ferrari alone control more than half of the grid’s political sphere. If these two were to leave, consider the ramifications that will have to F1 considering right now few entities are interested in entering the sport.

    16. Nothing has helped Honda. They are still crap. Lot of PR BS.

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