Tag: Ron Dennis

F1: Honda excluded as engine upgrades allowed in 2015

FIA regulations are too unclear for the sanctioning body to be forcing teams to freeze engine development.

F1 newcomer Honda has been left out as rival engine suppliers prepare to develop their turbo V6 power units throughout the 2015 season.

It has emerged in recent days that, because the wording of the regulations is unclear, the sport’s 2014 suppliers Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari do not in fact have to present in Melbourne an engine to be ‘frozen’ for this year’s entire world championship.

“Everything depends on the interpretation of the rules,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this week.

It is believed the loophole was discovered by Ferrari, and then backed in subsequent meetings by fellow engine straggler Renault.

“The FIA offered its version (of the rules interpretation),” Wolff added, “and I do not see any problems.

“Certainly the freezing of engines in February is best for those who are at the front,” said the Mercedes chief, whose Brackley team utterly dominated last year, “but we are able to develop too.”

What’s good for the goose…
Crucially, however, F1’s engine newcomer Honda will not be able to develop throughout 2015.

That is because the rules make clear that, for new engine suppliers under the turbo V6 rules that were implemented in 2014, a clear start-of-season homologation date is set: 28 February.

No such homologation date exists, however, for engine suppliers’ second year under the new rules.

It means Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault can deploy their 32 performance development ‘tokens’ throughout the entire 2015 season. Honda cannot.

Writing in Germany’s authoritative Auto Motor und Sport, highly respected correspondent Michael Schmidt said: “Newcomers (like Honda) have no tokens in the first year.

“Until their engine is homologated at the end of February, they are completely free to develop, but after that they may only upgrade on grounds of reliability, cost or safety,” he explained.

Schmidt continued: “McLaren boss Ron Dennis already expressed his concern at the recent Strategy Group meeting that the rules discriminate against his new engine partner.”

Read more at motorsport.com

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