Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Honda plan upgrade to cut Red Bull’s ‘party mode’ deficit

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Honda will bring upgrade aimed at giving their teams the ability to use the similar high-power qualifying modes which their rivals have.

What they say

There’s stuff in the pipeline that will certainly help. But of course others aren’t standing still.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Are McLaren on the right path after years in the doldrums?

McLaren have clearly turned a corner in a sense because you can only compare their current form to the past few seasons. To be honest, compared to the last few years, any improvement is a good thing considering how badly McLaren were performing.

In the hybrid era, McLaren have suffered much in the same vein as Williams. Two legendary teams that have fallen completely from grace. Williams really have floundered, considering the fact that they have access to Mercedes power, an advance McLaren rejected years ago after a long partnership.

The road to success is going to be hard for them, but McLaren are probably the most capable of teams in terms of reassertion themselves at the front of the grid.

Bad management got them in this mess, and only good management can get them out if it.
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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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  • 9 comments on “Honda plan upgrade to cut Red Bull’s ‘party mode’ deficit”

    1. McLaren’s situation for me is far more complicated than it seems. From the fastest car (and the most unreliable) in 2012 to sub-ordinary midfield car in 2013 and beyond.
      Their problems at the V6 hybrid era wasn’t the engine in the first place. They just finished 5th overall in 2014 as the third placed Mercedes engine team (behind Mercedes & Williams) and behind Red Bull & Ferrari in much less powerful engines.
      The Honda engine looked super just outside of the Mclaren, can’t imagine they (Honda) made a miracle between 2017 & 2018.
      Hope Mclaren and Williams can bounce back from their situations and compete without embarisment.

      1. Congratulations, you’ve managed to add 1 + 1 & come up with 72.

    2. I agree with the COTD. Mclaren indeed seems to have improved on their form of the recent past pace-wise even if the results thus far haven’t really shown it yet, and yes, the management is perhaps the reason they got into where they have been in the first place. As for getting rid of the Mercedes PU: Yes, they could’ve stayed with that, but at the time the reason for trading it to Honda was relatively valid as by doing so they got to be the de-facto works team of a manufacturer rather than a full-customer team. If only they had foreseen the extent of the struggles to become competitive over the three seasons that followed. I also agree with the third paragraph in that they’re probably the most capable team out there (after Renault) to reassert themselves on the top-end of the field.

      1. @jerejj, even so, McLaren could have handled the situation better than they did, but there is the problem that Ron’s personal preferences seem to have interfered with the more pragmatic decisions.

        On Honda’s side of the argument, they originally wanted to postpone their entry into the sport until the following year in order to develop their power unit. McLaren could easily have done that – indeed, it seems that was Whitmarsh’s original plan, with McLaren’s contract with Mercedes including the 2015 season – but Ron seems to have decided to rush Honda into the sport a year earlier than planned, quite possibly out of a sense that McLaren must be a works team rather than being a customer team for one more year.

        In doing so, it could be argued that Ron was in part responsible for Honda’s struggles, as he pressured Honda to enter before their development programme was fully up to speed. Now, Honda themselves also made mistakes in the way that they handled their programme, and Honda’s senior management made a bad decision to rush the programme when they didn’t really have the resources in place to do it, but I do wonder if perhaps some of those mistakes were made as a result of corner cutting in an effort to meet that deadline without the resources to match it.

    3. Honda tweaking the engine sounds good so long as they don’t go back to it being prone to self destruct.
      I still suspect that when they have the engine where they want it they might form (or buy out?) a team leaving Red Bull as just a secondary customer again.
      Not sure if that makes me happy or not to be honest.

      1. @nullapax – I’ve always got the impression that Red Bull would sell their team to Honda and exit the sport.

        1. @phylyp That idea makes a lot of sense!

      2. @nullapax, at the moment, I suspect that Honda don’t have the desire to enter as a chassis manufacturer – it sounds as if they are content to act as an external supplier for now, which seems to be the position they’ve usually preferred in the past.

        As for the comments about self-destructing engines, well, the evidence is a bit mixed – up until the Chinese GP, they had been one of the more reliable power units, with both Renault and Ferrari hitting problems. However, Kvyat did have to change his entire power unit during the practise sessions, and whilst there were claims that it was a “precautionary” change, there were those trackside who reported that it sounded as if Kvyat had a fairly significant engine problem, if not a major failure, during the practise sessions.

        1. I suspect that Honda don’t have the desire to enter as a chassis manufacturer

          That may well play into @phylyp idea if the package works well over the next season or two.

          I’m pretty confident that they have sorted reliability now but that they are still experimenting just to find the very limits.
          Whatever occurs I just want to see three teams up front instead of two … indeed the more the better ;)

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