McLaren push Honda for im­proved power units

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Eric Boul­lier says poor per­for­mance “hurts com­mer­cially” with Honda hy­brid sys­tem thought to be to blame for lack of power

The rst vis­i­ble ten­sions have be­gun to emerge in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween McLaren and Honda as the two con­tinue to strug­gle at the back of the grid, half­way through the rst sea­son of their re­newed part­ner­ship. McLaren rac­ing di­rec­tor Eric Boul­lier has ad­mit­ted that the car’s lack of com­pet­i­tive­ness is dam­ag­ing. He said he was re­mind­ing Honda “ev­ery day that we need to be suc­cess­ful as soon as pos­si­ble”.

He added: “The dam­age is easy to un­der­stand. You es­tab­lish the brand with your suc­cess and by re­peat­ing it. McLaren have a num­ber of wins and cham­pi­onships and have es­tab­lished their ex­cel­lence. Com­mer­cially it hurts be­cause a lot of com­pa­nies are in­ter­ested in join­ing us, but some ques­tion the lack of re­sults – and I don’t think we can wait for very long any more.”

“We put pres­sure on Honda, they put pres­sure on us. Maybe more on them so far be­cause we need to have more per­for­mance. Ev­ery­body knows this, they know this, we know this. It is true there is a tim­ing is­sue be­cause Honda are in F1 but their main busi­ness is selling cars. But we are in F1 to win races. We have to make sure the tim­ings of both projects are aligned.”

The Honda en­gine is thought to be the big­gest fac­tor in McLaren’s lack of per­for­mance. In­sid­ers say it is as much as 150bhp down on the Mercedes and Fer­rari units. It is fur­ther be­hind in races than in qual­i­fy­ing be­cause its hy­brid sys­tem does not re­cover energy sufciently for it to run fully boosted on con­sec­u­tive laps. That means that be­tween 80 and 90 per cent of the car’s lap­time decit to Mercedes is down to the en­gine. Honda re­ceived good news when the FIA passed plans to give them an ex­tra en­gine. Both Fer­nando Alonso and Jen­son But­ton had al­ready been given penal­ties for us­ing fth and sixth power unit el­e­ments. The ‘free’ en­gines were tted to both cars in Hungary, and McLaren scored their best re­sult of the year, with Alonso nish­ing fth and But­ton ninth. The re­sult was a boost, but it was largely down to the many race in­ci­dents, and not a sign of im­proved form. Honda have promised McLaren an up­graded en­gine in time for the Bel­gian GP at Spa.

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