Honda find so­lu­tion to per­for­mance woes

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

Honda be­lieve they have found a tech­ni­cal so­lu­tion that will en­able them to make a sig­nif­i­cant leap for­ward in 2016 af­ter a dis­as­trous re­turn to For­mula 1. Works team Mclaren have lagged about 2.5s off the pace for much of the sea­son, the vast ma­jor­ity of the short­fall ac­counted for by the lack of per­for­mance from Honda’s turbo hy­brid V6.

The en­gine’s main weak point is its hy­brid sys­tem, which runs out of elec­tri­cal boost be­fore the end of long straights. Honda have traced the prob­lem to an in­ef­fi­ciency in the com­pres­sor, part of the tur­bocharger sys­tem, which is ham­per­ing the abil­ity of the re­lated mo­tor gen­er­a­tor unit (MGU-H) to sal­vage en­ergy.

The 2015 Honda en­gine has a rel­a­tively small com­pres­sor. This re­stricts its abil­ity to com­press the air needed for the turbo, but Honda had hoped to cir­cum­vent that by mak­ing it spin faster than a stan­dard com­pres­sor. Since they failed to make that idea work, their so­lu­tion is to design a big­ger and more ef­fi­cient com­pres­sor for 2016.

Honda F1 boss Ya­suhisa Arai said: “Ef­fi­ciency of the com­pres­sor is the first ob­jec­tive. In other words, at the mo­ment it is in­ef­fi­cient, there­fore it has to run fast to make up the ef­fi­ciency. My way of think­ing is that if we can get the ef­fi­ciency up, we can keep the revs lower. But to do that we need to in­crease the size to main­tain the in­take.”

Arai says he ex­pects the com­pres­sor to in­crease to around the size of the one used by Mercedes in 2015. De­spite this, Honda will re­tain their com­pact pack­ag­ing ap­proach in which both the turbo and the com­pres­sor are sited within the vee of the cylin­der block.

Other than this com­pact­ness, the Honda lay­out is sim­i­lar to that of the Mercedes, with the com­pres­sor in front of the tur­bine and sep­a­rated by an elon­gated shaft, on which the MGU-H sits to re­cover en­ergy cre­ated by ex­haust gas. Mercedes’ com­pres­sor is in front of the en­gine.

Fer­nando Alonso has heaped pres­sure on Honda, say­ing he be­lieves it is “re­al­is­tic” for them to close the gap to Mercedes and win races in 2016. Arai re­sponded: “It’s Fer­nando’s wish, his take on the sit­u­a­tion. We think he is try­ing to en­cour­age the whole team and the project it­self. We think his per­cep­tion of the gap to the top teams is cor­rect. So the team – Mclaren and Honda – must close the gap. That is the tar­get. A car 2.5 sec­onds faster than us al­ready ex­ists. So in that sense it isn’t a mir­a­cle. You can do it with the tech­nol­ogy.”

Af­ter a hum­bling re­turn in 2015 – and out­right ran­cour with their Mclaren part­ners – Honda claim to have found a way for­wards

Ya­suhisa Arai: “The team – Mclaren and Honda – must close the gap. That is the tar­get”

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