Was McLaren Right to Ditch Honda? (Spoiler: Yes, Yes It Was)

Discussion in 'Motorsport' started by GTPNewsWire, May 1, 2018.

  1. GTPNewsWire

    GTPNewsWire Contributing Writer

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  2. JC_Dude

    JC_Dude

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    I’m just happy to see McLaren no longer have the scapegoat in the form of the power unit. 2nd best chassis on the grid my bottom.
     
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  3. phatfat34

    phatfat34

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    Toro Rosso has two new (and inexperienced) drivers so comparing their results to last year doesn’t come down to just changes in the engine.
     
  4. Tired Tyres

    Tired Tyres

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    Very good @Famine

    So Toro Rosso with two new drivers doing worse that last year proves what? That they have a different set of variables to last year.

    Where are McLaren by the way. Competitive with Renault and Red Bull are they?

    McLaren have screwed up every season since 2012. They've had three bosses, three engines and three world champions in that time. McLaren itself is the only constant here.
     
  5. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    That's why I also compared the two teams' first four races of 2018 and 2017 with the last four races of 2017, when Toro Rosso's driver line-up was... Hartley and Gasly (well, Kvyat drove the fourth-last race instead of Gasly, who'd driven the two previous ones).

    Here are the raw stats:
    Qualifying

    2017 start; McLaren-Honda - 13, 18; 13, 16; 15, 17; 15, 17 - Mean 15.500
    2017 end; McLaren-Honda - 9, 13; 14, 15; 7, 13; 11, 13 - Mean 11.875
    2018 start; McLaren-Renault - 11 , 12; 13, 14; 13, 14; 13, 16 - Mean 13.250

    2017 start; Toro Rosso-Renault - 8, 9; 9, 11; 11, 16; 11, 13 - Mean 11.000
    2017 end; Toro Rosso-Renault - 12, 18; 13, 20; 15, 17; 17, 20 - Mean 16.500
    2018 start; Toro Rosso-Honda - 16, 20; 6, 11; 15, 17; 17, 19 - Mean 15.125

    Race
    2017 start; McLaren-Honda -13, DNF 14; DNF 16, DNF 18; 14, DNF 20; 14, DNF 20 - Mean 16.125
    2017 end; McLaren-Honda - 12, DNF 17; 10, 12; 8, DNF 19; 9, 12 - Mean 12.375
    2018 start; McLaren-Renault - 5, 9; 7, 8; 7, 13; 7, 9 - Mean 8.125

    2017 start; Toro Rosso-Renault - 8, 9; 7, DNF 17; 12, DNF 16; 10, 12 - Mean 11.375
    2017 end; Toro Rosso-Renault - 10, 13; 13, DNF 18; 12, DNF 17; 15, 16 - Mean 14.250
    2018 start; Toro Rosso-Honda - 15, DNF 18; 4, 17; 18, 20; 10, 12 - Mean 14.250

    However, it bothered me that race 4 this year was Azerbaijan, but it was Russia in 2017 - cars can suit tracks, etc. - so here's 2017's number again with Azerbaijan instead of Russia, and Bahrain and China reordered to match:
    Qualifying

    2017 start; McLaren-Honda - 13, 18; 15, 17; 13, 16; 16, 19 - Mean 15.875
    2017 start; Toro Rosso-Renault - 8, 9; 11, 16; 9, 11; 11, 12 - Mean 10.875

    Race
    2017 start; McLaren-Honda -13, DNF 14; 14, DNF 20; DNF 16, DNF 18; 9, 12 - Mean 14.500
    2017 start; Toro Rosso-Renault - 8, 9; 12, DNF 16; 7, DNF 17; 8, DNF 19 - Mean 12.000


    I think you'd still have to say that without the Honda engine, McLaren still sucks at qualifying but the races are improved more than a little...
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  6. Betty blue

    Betty blue

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    I don't think that the engine swap has proven to be the better choice really. McLaren still the slowest "by far" on the straights, and their overall speed isn't quicker "they still occupy roughly the same pecking order position" the only difference that they got better reliability, which Honda got better at it as well. Also, I believe Toro Rosso's driver line up is one of the worst alongside Williams. But one thing for sure is that the Honda engine is not bad as we all thought when they were with McLaren.
     
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  7. DB8-85

    DB8-85

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    I feel the same way. Any problems the McLaren car had, they just piled the blame onto Honda. Now they have an engine that can give the odd win and they are still nowhere. Poor chassis and aero from a poor team
     
  8. Tired Tyres

    Tired Tyres

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    The official FIA site has sector times for previous races - not Baku yet though. That may shed more light on the differences.
     
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  9. phatfat34

    phatfat34

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    Fair enough, I missed that. To be honest I read for awhile and then scanned the rest to see if you ever got in to trap speeds.
     
  10. civicgsir

    civicgsir Premium

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    This isnt a very good discussion, kinda pointless.

    Alonso plays too big a role in making the difference, much less the engines, teams and chassis have all evolved or improved.

    Hartley and Gasley are decent, but they are so inexperienced that you can't really take their performances as if Alonso was on the wheel.
     
  11. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    And yet... there's your post.

    Before the season started, it was a very hot topic - STR did more laps in pre-season with the Honda power unit than McLaren did with the Renault power unit by a long, long way. At Bahrain, when Gasly finished 4th - the best ever result by a HV6t-era Honda - it was an even hotter topic. So there's quite a bit of point to it.

    Alonso is being compared to Alonso. The Alonso of the first four races of the 2017 McLaren-Honda season is being compared to the Alonso of the last four races of the 2017 McLaren-Honda season, and to the Alonso of the first four races of the 2018 McLaren-Renault season.
    But you can take their performances as if Hartley and Gasly were at the wheel. Which is why the Hartley and Gasly of the last four* races of the 2017 Toro Rosso-Renault season are being compared to the Hartley and Gasly of the first four races of the Toro Rosso-Honda season.

    You read the linked article, right?

    *Three; Gasly drove six of the last seven STR-Renault races, but missed USA, which Kvyat drove instead; however, I included all four races
     
  12. civicgsir

    civicgsir Premium

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    It wasn't an endorsement.

    Last four races are where?
    First four races are where?

    Different tracks show different things about engine, chassis, & driver combinations.

    I still contend that this discussion doesn't prove anything of worth....just tit for tats. Too many variables...

    ...and besides, whats the point that is trying to be made? That Honda is a crap engine manufacturer or that McLaren F1 is awesome?

    Just because 'media' whores were obsessed with it, doesn't make it worth anything.
    To watch the Sky people keep going on and on asking McLaren about another teams performance wasn't journalism. Tabloid.
     
  13. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    That's also why the first four races of last season were compared with the first four of this season... and then again with Azerbaijan swapped in for Russia... and then those numbers posted again in this very thread...


    It's like you've not read any of it before weighing into the discussion to say it's not worth discussing.
     
  14. JC_Dude

    JC_Dude

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    It's way too early to draw any conclusions either way. The Toro Rosso boys got into a lot of weird situations between Hartley in Bahrain, the teammates colliding in China, their incident in Baku quali (Gasly was on a very good lap and Hartley was unlucky to get a puncture) and Magnussen's attempted murder in the race. Meanwhile, McLaren haven't had much bad luck at all. They benefitted massively in Australia, and a little bit in China as well. Even at the end of the year it's going to be tough to draw any conclusions, but right now it just seems pointless.

    The only thing that we can tell at the moment, is that McLaren were way overhyping their chassis, considering they have the worst pace out of the Renault-powered cars and are still regulars at the bottom of speed traps in qualifying.
     
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  15. mustafur

    mustafur

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    Mclaren are more or less at the same point as before they went to Honda, basically they just wasted 4 years for no reason.

    Except now they Have Renault power not Mercedes.
     
  16. Tired Tyres

    Tired Tyres

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    How long until they complain about that Renault engine?
     
  17. Liquid

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    McLaren suck sweaty donkey dong but they suck marginally less sweaty donkey dong with Renault power than they did with Honda power. Forza Alonso. Unashamedly. Hopefully the Renault partnership becomes stronger and faster as the season goes by.

    As for Toro Rosso, it seems they're going back to their Minardi roots. I've never felt that using STR as a holding pen for drivers who will rarely get promoted to the senior Red Bull team is a good idea because it's quite lacking in continuity and experience at times with double debutants. Honda power does not seem to be a panacea and I don't quite get why Honda are so terrible compared to the other engine suppliers, even acknowledging the one year handicap.
     
  18. Daverytimes

    Daverytimes

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    Exactly my thoughts, apart from Bahrain Toro Rosso hasn't had another clean race for its drivers yet, Gasly would've qualified much higher in Baku if not for what could've potentially been a career ending crash. During the race he could've finished in the points if not kamikaze Magnussen nearly killing him on a straight and damaging his aero (Gasly had a rough weekend).

    There hasn't been a representative race to compare those two, Toro Rosso chassis is certainly not as good as McLarens, they have two very inexperienced drivers, the team sucks at strategy. There are many things going against them, but what we have seen is that the Honda engine has improved (especially on the reliability), there is still the hp boost coming up so I think Toro Rosso analysis that Honda would compete with Renault by the end of the season is accurate.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  19. sumbrownkid

    sumbrownkid

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    I think the big takeaway most people aren’t talking about is that McLaren is actually finishing races, and in the points too. Ofcourse a lot of those points finish came down to the luck of others crashing out, but that’s part of racing.

    Yeah they aren’t that quick, and qualifying pace needs vast improvement, but McLaren can at least not worry about the reliability factor as much and focus on raw pace.
     
  20. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    I mention in the piece that McLaren is one of only three teams to score seven points finishes from eight this season - the others are Mercedes and Ferrari. It's also the only team of all of them to finish eight from eight, as Bottas didn't finish but has a classified finish from Azerbaijan, as he managed 90% race distance.

    As both cars were lapped at Bahrain, it hasn't completed all possible race laps, but it has completed the most, at 220 of 222. Mercedes is second on 219.

    Now, let's go back twelve months and OH MY GOD!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
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  21. trustjab

    trustjab

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    Maybe we'll see what Honda has in store if they go to Red Bull. There's lots of reports about the two meeting at Baku. I don't think Toro Rosso is anywhere near as good a team as McLaren, but they are not lagging behind at the back like many thought they would.
     
  22. adb

    adb

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    They were wrong, period.

    McLaren is the team that should be winning races and fighting for championships, sure I didn't expect them to fight RBR straight out of the box, but to be this far off? Right now they don't have a race winning car and have no long-term chance of winning. Renault will become a race winning team in a few years, from then on, McLaren won't be given fair treatment, they will be a mere customer.

    To sum up, they ditched ~80m quid, factory status, and a fourth engine (with potential for more) for a third engine provided by team planning to be WCC in few years, yeah that will win them races and championships.
     
  23. RHODRIEWILLIAMS

    RHODRIEWILLIAMS

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    I think it was a mistake to leave Honda. I am disappointed McLaren are so far off RBR and possibly behind Renault in pure pace
     
  24. twitcher

    twitcher

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    In my opinion, McLaren is straight doo doo, and have been since Hakinnen retired. Even in the Schumi era, the only thing that I really remember about McLaren was Kimi’s drive at Suzuka, and the Merc PU going pop every second race. They turned it around a bit for a few years when Hamilton won the title, but it’s been free fall since then.

    I think ditching Honda was a mistake.

    Fastest chassis in the corners, ‘cha right bro. Maybe because they pour on 13 World Time Attack cars worth of downforce.

    They’re not even in the same league as Redbull in terms of building a complete car, using the exact same power unit.

    The mighty Alonso can’t even out qualify Hulk in the Renault. If McLaren can’t out perform a Renault, how are they going to win races?

    They’re all talk. Talk talk talk talk. But that’s what Zac Brown wants. He makes money off of talk. Every time Jonathan Noble writes an article full of nothing, McLaren this, McLaren that, Zac is getting payed.

    It used to be, “McLaren exist to win”. Now, much like their garagista counterparts Williams, it’s, “McLaren exist.”
     
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  25. JC_Dude

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    I wouldn't lay all the blame on Brown. McLaren haven't won a race since 2012, in fact they only scored 2 podiums (and even that they had to luck into), even though they had the best power unit in 2013 and the dominant one in 2014. Over that period they had 3 different people at the top. The people who were the most vocal that they'd win with a better PU and all that bollocks were Eric Boullier and Alonso himself. so saying it's all down to Brown, who's only been there for a little over a year seems a bit unfair.

    Also, a bit hyperbolic saying McLaren has been garbage since 2001, don't you think? No, they never returned to their dominant form, but they still had some rapid cars in 2005, 07, 08 and 12. Those were the fastest cars on their respective grids. Ok, some of them weren't the most bulletproof, but they did have the pace and one could argue they should've won at least one title in those years.
     
  26. Dotini

    Dotini Premium

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    I agree that it was right for McLaren to switch to Renault power. However, despite a pile of points achieved by great reliability, sterling driving, decent strategy and fabulous luck, they have yet to match Renault let alone Red Bull on pace, especially in qualifying. They have let Tim Goss go and seem intent on further sweeping changes in the chassis department. It seems their chassis is not terribly well optimized due to the hasty switch to Renault. With their resources and yet more time, they should eventually catch up at least to the Renault factory team's pace. Whether that's good enough to match Mercedes and Ferrari is very doubtful, IMO. It's a crying shame to see all that talent fighting for minor positions.
     
  27. Peter.

    Peter.

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    McLaren are competing with the factory team of the engine they own, and a team that was the factory team, but also have the best designer on the grid, who has made better chassis than them for almost a decade now. They've had the blueprints to the engine for far less than their rivals. The Renault is more reliable, and that alone has helped them out a lot. It is also more efficient and better at energy deployment, the car seems to be able to compete on the straights when it has the battery power, even if they are still far behind most in the top speed department.

    All that said, I didn't expect them to be that far behind, but it is very clearly a better race car than it is a qualifier. It's also very clearly far from a complete package. Ted Kravitz was talking about how little of an evolution it is over the old car, even highlighting that it has a S duct slot that doesn't have an exit. I don't want to buy into the talk, but it has evidently had a surprisingly slow upgrade cycle compared to its rivals. With all their resources and talent, they should at least be beating Renault straight away, but improvements are apparent so far.
     
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  28. twitcher

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    I’m not laying all the blame on Brown. He certainly inherited a mess. At the same time though, he hasn’t exactly run away from talking a good/big game in the media. I do agree though that Boullier and Alonso are equally if not more responsible for the hype.

    As for the rest, a bit hyperbolic, sure...but their goal is to win championships, not to build rapid glass cannons, so to speak. They haven’t won a title in 10 years. Having a rapid car that breaks down more often than not, for a few odd seasons in that 10 years, does not count for much in my books.

    And maybe saying since Hakinnen retired is too hyperbolic, but I don’t think it is if I adjust that to “since Lewis won his first title”. Certainly the last 10 years have been an utter failure, as far as competing for championships goes (the whole, exist to win vs just exist thing)
     
  29. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne

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    It's his job to attract sponsors, he's expected to look on the brightest possible (if imaginary) side.
     
  30. adb

    adb

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    Brown’s issue is that he’s a marketing/business guy first and foremost so obviously he had to say a lot of rubbish last year and during pre season, for sponsors and PR. So far under him, they’ve made one mistake, dropping Honda.

    Still, even though Dennis wasn’t perfect, I don’t think Boullier/Brown have the guts to make McLaren a winning team again.