Section: Mclaren

F1: Prodromou last part of McLaren puzzle

Eric Boullier says the re-capture of Peter Prodromou from Red Bull is the “final part of the puzzle”

Prodromou, who re-joined McLaren as chief engineer in September after eight years as a chief aerodynamicist at Red Bull, has already been credited with helping the Woking team end 2014 strongly in terms of aerodynamic development.

He will have far greater influence over the MP4-30 – the first car of the new McLaren-Honda works engine partnership, and the team’s racing director Boullier described Prodromou as a key asset as McLaren attempts to end a win drought that stretches back to 2012.

“He is definitely a key signing – all the aero department has been restructured bearing in mind I knew he was coming,” Boullier told AUTOSPORT.

“In the back of the mind we knew that Podromou would be like the cherry on the top of the cake.

“His name is very famous in the pitlane and he has brought a lot of freshness and extra leadership in the aero and technical departments.

“Everybody was placed, we were just waiting for the master to sit down.

“Now they click together and we have a strong group led by Peter.

“He is the final part of the puzzle.”

Read more at Yahoo Sport

F1: Reliability not performance Honda’s biggest challenge

Ron Dennis says the Honda engine that will power McLaren next season already has impressive performance and that the main concern will be making it reliable.

Honda has been working on its new V6 turbo hybrid power units for two years but comes into the sport one year after rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault first ran theirs on track. This season Mercedes had a significant performance advantage over its rivals, but Dennis is confident Honda will not be lagging behind in that respect.

“The challenge for our partner Honda is hitting dates and reliability,” he said. “The performance is pretty impressive but of course I can’t share that with you.”

Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai is confident McLaren Honda will be able to challenge at the very front of the grid from the first race in Australia.

“The new regulation package is very very complex,” Arai said. “In Abu Dhabi we did a test and got many data and in that we were already one team as McLaren Honda. I have a strong confidence with our partnership we will win next year in Melbourne and start a new era.”

Dennis said he had been most impressed by Honda’s approach to designing and building the new power units at its base in Sakura, Japan.

“Going back to Sakura, it’s hard to describe just how impressive Honda’s motorsport R&D facilities are. The best way to describe the commitment is not to describe the actual facilities, but to share with you that the geography of Sakura is quite a long way – an hour on a high-speed train – from Tokyo, it’s been built in virgin land so it’s a magnificent facility, but of course that has required some of the most senior technical staff to relocate and move their families to this area. That isn’t an easy decision for companies or technical people to take.

“You see that and you see the commitment and sharpness that these group of engineers have and the facilities. For example they have a very impressive mission control facility – we have one here [at McLaren] where your technical staff and back-up staff, sit, watch and participate in every aspect of the race wherever it is taking place in the world – but of course with Japan the time change is significant with most of the races. So away from mission control they have the facilities for 50 people to sleep and a restaurant to support them specifically so they can be there and be sharp when the race is taking place – this sort of detail and commitment is far more indicative of where we are going than the fact of having 30 of the latest and greatest dynamometers.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: McLaren-Honda announces Fernando Alonso & Jenson Button for 2015

McLaren-Honda announce its new driver line-up for 2015: Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Kevin Magnussen will remain an important part of the team, as test and reserve driver.

All three men will play crucial roles in re-establishing the ascendancy of one of global sport’s most iconic unions, for McLaren and Honda have already formed one of the most dominant partnerships in motorsport history: Honda broke new ground in the 1980s by creating a turbocharged engine that was unparalleled in both its output and its efficiency, and, between 1988 and 1992, McLaren-Honda won eight world championships and 44 grands prix, and took 53 pole positions and set 30 fastest laps, all in just 80 grands prix.

In 1988, the partnership created arguably the single most successful Formula 1 car of all time: the all-conquering McLaren-Honda MP4/4, which was driven to victory by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in an amazing 15 of the season’s 16 grands prix.

The lure presented by those same goals has once again brought the legendary Japanese corporation back to the pinnacle of global motor racing; and, again, that company, Honda, is developing its revolutionary new turbocharged engine at its all-new purpose-built state-of-the-art motorsport facility in Sakura, Japan.

It is against that backdrop that McLaren and Honda are now committing to rebuilding afresh the strongest possible partnership in Formula 1.

The aforementioned Ayrton Senna, in the opinion of many the greatest driver in the history of our sport, won 30 of the 44 grands prix that McLaren and Honda annexed together between 1988 and 1992. Ayrton once said: “We do not need myths. We need examples to be followed – examples of courage, determination and hope. We need to believe it is possible to win, and it is our duty to pursue that belief.”

Fernando Alonso said:

“I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna, my favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference.

“I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with. That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula 1, McLaren-Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship.

“I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.

“Over the past year I have received several offers, some of them really tempting, given the current performance of some of the teams that showed interest. But, more than a year ago, McLaren-Honda contacted me and asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership – a partnership that dominated the Formula 1 scene for so long.

Jenson Button said:

“I am extremely excited to be embarking on my 16th year in Formula 1 and my sixth season for McLaren.

“Like Fernando, I am certain that McLaren and Honda will achieve great things together, and I feel sure that, working together, all of us will pull incredibly hard to create a brilliantly effective winning team.

“I admired Ayrton Senna enormously, but, for me, it was the exploits of his McLaren-Honda team-mate Alain Prost that inspired me most as a boy. The way he stroked those beautifully brutal red-and-white cars to grand prix wins and world championships was to my mind poetry in motion, and I have tried to emulate his driving style ever since.

“Being a part of new-look McLaren-Honda is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go.

“I am also very glad that Kevin will remain part of the team. He is a very quick driver and a really nice guy.

Read more at mclaren.com

F1: McLaren looks set to announce 2015 driver line-up

McLaren appears to be ready to announce its 2015 driver line-up on Thursday after calling a media event at its factory in Woking.

Fernando Alonso is expected to be named alongside either Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen, putting an end to weeks of speculation about the team’s line-up. McLaren initially planned to announce its 2015 drivers ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi, but then said it would postpone its decision until December.

The team has invited the press to “an important and exclusive media event” but did not mention the specific purpose. However, with pressure growing on the team to make a decision on the futures of Button and Magnussen, it is likely to be the long-awaited driver announcement.

On Friday last week McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said a decision would be made with the long-term future of the team in mind.

“I know there are a lot of fans, Jenson’s fans, Kevin’s fans, other drivers’ fans and hopefully some McLaren fans, but it is just about taking the right decision for the future, not only for next year but also for the next years,” he told Sky Sports.

Read more at ESPN

Le Mans: Alonso won’t be able to combine F1 and Le Mans in 2015

There are some contractual complications with McLaren and Honda on Fernando’s way to Le Mans.

Fernando Alonso is unlikely to be able to squeeze the Le Mans 24 Hours into his 2015 schedule, despite trying hard to convince McLaren to allow him to do the race.

Alonso attended this year’s 24 Hours and the recent Bahrain WEC event, and encouraged by friend Mark Webber he has been actively trying to find a seat – with Porsche his main target. The former World Champion was attracted by the idea of being the first F1 superstar in decades to try to fit the race into his regular schedule.

Nico Hulkenberg has been able to agree such an arrangement with Force India, but unsurprisingly for Alonso there are added contractual complications with McLaren and Honda.

While the Japanese manufacturer is perhaps less concerned about its star driver appearing for Porsche, as opposed to a direct market rival such as Toyota, Nissan or Audi, McLaren’s own status as a supercar maker has complicated matters. There are also questions over clashes of partners such as Pirelli and Michelin.

Read more at motorsport.com

F1: Test ‘not good enough’ but McLaren learns from issues

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier admits his team’s struggle to get its new Honda power unit up and running in Abu Dhabi was “not good enough”, but said there were some positives to draw from the two day test.

Over 18 hours of track time, McLaren successfully completed three laps and came up short on two more due to on-track issues. The team’s main problems were electrical and on its final attempt on Wednesday afternoon the car came to halt on the first lap of a four-lap run.

“It was still an electrical issue,” Boullier said. “We fixed a couple of them overnight and today and on the first installation lap the car ran quite well and with no problem at all. When hitting the track again on a longer run the car just blacked out completely.

“It happens to some different cars this year and sometimes nobody know why, so we had this problem. We just brought the car back and after investigating for 20 minutes we couldn’t wake the car up again, so we just said ‘stop’. The car will now be sent back to Woking for a full investigation.”

Boullier admitted McLaren’s two day test has not met expectations, but said it was better to get the issues out of the way this week instead of encountering them at the first test of 2015 in Jerez.

“It’s obviously not what we wanted to achieve. Our target was to run the car on track, to run all the systems, and we were not expecting here to develop anything other than trying all the systems. We didn’t achieve this, so we failed on this.

“Yes, it’s a still a bonus because going into such a test in Jerez and having the same problems would hurt us much more. At least both Honda and McLaren have worked very hard to make this hybrid car and come here. Operationally we went through a lot and when we were not running, we were dismantling the car in multiple parts and at least we learned a lot about processes and what could be wrong in the future.

“Yes, it’s not good enough and we are not happy with that, but at least we learned things which are important to be prepared for the next one.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: McLaren intends to use Honda power at Abu Dhabi test

McLaren is planning on completing its first official test with its Honda power unit during the two days of testing following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Honda power unit ran for the first time during a filming day at Silverstone last week, but under the sporting regulations could only complete 100km for marketing or promotional purposes. The Abu Dhabi test offers the team a chance to put the power unit through its paces in the back of an interim car designed specifically to house the Honda V6 turbo.

“We are now only a few days away from formally commencing our exciting technical partnership with Honda, and, subject to satisfactory final bench-testing, it is currently our intention to run our interim development car, the McLaren MP4-29H/1X1, on the test days that will follow the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” a team statement said.

2015 will mark a new era for McLaren as it not only joins forces with Honda but it also completes the restructuring of its senior management and technical team. Since last season, McLaren has undergone big changes, chief among them Martin Whitmarsh leaving as team principal and Ron Dennis retaking control of the team. It has also recruited Eric Boullier from Lotus as racing director and Red Bull aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou to help head up its design team.

“We are working extremely hard to ensure that every element of our competitive package for 2015 and beyond is specified to the fullest extent,” the team added. “We have spent the past nine months comprehensively recruiting and restructuring within our design and engineering departments; over the next few days we will be evaluating and trialling a range of aerodynamic upgrades for the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and for the 2015 Formula One season.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: McLaren’s Honda engine to make track debut

McLaren will run Honda’s new V6 turbo engine for the first time at a filming day at Silverstone on Friday.

Honda will join forces with McLaren in F1 next year, reuniting a partnership that won four titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Honda returns to the sport one year after its rivals switched from V8 engines to V6 turbos and has been eager to put some track mileage on its new power unit.

honda-f1-power-unit

McLaren has been working on an interim car designed to house the new engine – known as the MP4-29H – and is now ready to hit the track. The Silverstone filming day will only offer limited mileage but a further opportunity to run the car will come at the post-season Abu Dhabi test in two weeks.

honda-test-twitter

Running at filming days is limited to 100km and should be used “purely for marketing or promotional purposes”, according to the sporting regulations.

Read more at ESPN