Opinion: #BelieveInMcLaren… Honda

believeinmclaren-honda-f1-2017-201630906

In the month of April, after three runs and a single point won in Bahrain by Stoffel Vandoorne, as I wrote in this fantastic house from the car is the engine.it is the conformity which it considered had been put in place at McLaren-Honda. In his speech, both others are limited to applaud by end careers, no higher aspiration than that. There was the feeling that neither McLaren had enough ability to design a race car really fast, or Honda knew what to do to check the reliability while improving the pure performance of the engine.

six months Have passed of that, and I have to say, the reality has put me in my place. it Has become clear that Yusuke Hasegawa knew what he was doing and that Honda has done their homework. They realized that, to advance, it was necessary to risk the introduction of developments, even if that meant the cost of the public criticism as a result of the lack of reliability.

“Honda already allow McLaren to ‘unlock’ their potential”

The motor is not, yet, as competitive as the Mercedes or Ferrari -or even as part of the Renault-but if enough powerful as to not to force Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button to race at circuits like Spa-Francorchamps or Malaysia as if they were circuits of minimum downforce like Monza. Or, put another way, they have already passed the phase in which, unfortunately, is Carlos Sainz with the Toro Rosso and their obsolete Ferrari engine of 2015. A phase in which the strengths of the chassis and the aerodynamics cannot make up for the weaknesses of the propellant.

believeinmclaren-honda-f1-2017-201630906

Honda has achieved several things. On the one hand, shake that pressure suffocating that it threatened to sink the project definitely. It has also managed to be in a position to be able to handle 2017 with options, at least, to withstand the comparison with their rivals. And, perhaps most importantly, allows you to McLaren’s ‘unlock’ their potential.

Eric Boullier explained it at the end of July: as the engine gains power, you can go implementing new parts in the chassis that provide more downforce. it Is relatively common that, when it generates more downforce, it also generates more drag (although not necessarily in the same proportion). It is one of the problems that you have found Toro Rosso with its evolution, which premiered at Hockenheim and that prevents them from finding balance in a circuit of a half load as Sepang.

believeinmclaren-honda-f1-2017-201630906

The aerodynamic efficiency is important in 90% of the circuits of the world and without a propeller to go with a chassis that is well designed, it is very difficult to survive in the first half of the grill. At this point is McLaren: starting to have enough tools to be able to, not only defend, but also attack to teams like Williams and Force India if given the right circumstances.

“McLaren begins to have the tools to attack, not only defend themselves”

McLaren and Honda have solved many problems together this year and have managed to get to a point where they can cope with 2017 with hopes realistic, and palpable. Obviously, are not -or much less – to a level sufficient to provide for the fact that they are going to be able to challenge Mercedes, but in a position of thinking that it is possible to. 2017 assumes start from scratch at the level of chassis and aerodynamics. Or, what is the same, the teams are proving to be reliable in its evolution and that certify career to career, that everything that is implemented in the car works as it was intended, can look at 2017 with optimism. A year that will be as important to hit with the initial design as knowing how to improve it during the season, it will be the largest margin of improvement in many years. A year, in addition, that it is feasible to take a leap as big as the McLaren needs to break completely with the current concept is already well studied by all the teams.

Both McLaren as Honda have shown that, indeed, it is possible to believe in them. In both of them. And, unlike what many thought, have done so by being brave and risking to make mistakes on the track for the sake of the future project. Personally, I’m delighted that I was wrong.