Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2015

Honda engine ‘more powerful than Renault’

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2015In the round-up: Honda believe their engine is now stronger than Renault’s.

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Scott Dixon, Ganassi, IndyCar, Sonoma, 2015Following F1’s controversial flirtation with double points last year, Sunday’s IndyCar finale saw the outcome of the championship swung due to the awarding of double points in the last round and earlier in the year at the Indianapolis 500.

As more than one commentator pointed out, had the same points system been used at every round, there would have been a different champion:

Montoya would have lost less points (first and sixth) than Dixon (first and fourth), so Montoya would be champion.

The standings without double points for Indy and Sonoma would be:
1. Montoya 478
2. Dixon 474
3. Rahal 448
4. Power 427
5. Castroneves 413
6. Newgarden 400
@Sasquatsch

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Stefan Bellof lost his life on this day 30 years ago in a crash during a World Sportscar race at Spa-Francorchamps. He collided with Jacky Ickx, who he was trying to overtake at Eau Rouge. Bellof was the second F1 driver to be killed in the World Sportscar championship in 1985 following the earlier death of Manfred Winkelhock.

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  • 43 comments on “Honda engine ‘more powerful than Renault’”

    1. Is Arai serious? Or did I miss something? Or did he miss Alonso and Button finishing ahead only of the Manor’s? Over a lap after the next Renault-powered team? What is he talking about? What?

      1. He is talking about the Honda petrol engine, not the entire power unit. Hondas energy recovery, storage or deployment is still a long way behind.

        1. yeah – in article Arai is clearly talking about ICU only.
          Some people seem to stop after reading a headline and react to that.

          1. So true. It is actually completely believable what he’s saying. Getting the combustion engine up to parity by the end of the season is a good target for Honda as the engine size wont change.

            Why would they spend tokens developing the engine recovery system into such a tight package when next year they can just dictate their (bigger) packaging needs, spend less money and make more gains over the winter.

            The plan is actually a solid one.

      2. If you read the whole article it’s pretty clear that Arai is talking about the ICE component of the PU. Honda’ weakness seems to lie principally in its ERS components, both in energy recovery and deployment.

      3. It may well be that the peak power output of the Honda PU is actually more than that of the Renault PU. Consider what Autosport reported as their current principal problem (in Spa in particular, due to the nature of the track, but in general as well): Honda is seemingly unable to harvest enought energy through the MGU-H to keep up its power all through the longer straights (which is especially disasterous in Spa). The issue is similar to what Ferrari encountered last season. Some proof could be that Alonso’s car could have been seen ending harvest way earlier than other cars on the straights of Spa (his rain light blinked much earlier).

        If the above is valid, Honda’s main problem now is not power, not even reliablity, but its inability to access its power for the sufficient amount of time (33 seconds per lap). In this respect all the bhp increase from the combustion chamber upgrade was in vain because the PU can only produce it for a severely limited time only. Allegedly, this issue can only be resolved during the winter, so that is that for this year – although the weak MGU-H effect should be much less of an issue on less power dependent tracks, mainly Singapore.

      4. And the clear subtext is that development of these ancillary aspects of the PU is handicapped by the “size zero” requirement. I think Honda has been forced to tackle packaging, design, and cooling issues that others do not and it’s just too much. Size zero is the problem. I know the demand was that Mclaren do something innovative to leapfrog Mercedes but in my view you have to crawl before you walk. It’s not like Mercedes didn’t try to minimize their package as well, so how are you going to say, I’m going to give myself harder design requirements and build a better engine, from scratch. And it’s not like size-zero has resulted in markedly better aero efficiency for the car. The car is apparently nothing special in aero or mechanical grip.

      5. I would love to know more about these Pu’s. I want a chat with Arai’s sources. Dieter Rencken somehow squeezes everyone in the paddock.

        ICE(x) Aprox values BHP

        1st Mer=x+40 to 50
        2nd Fer=x+(+\-30)
        3rd Hon=x
        4th Ren=x-25

        PU
        Ren (x-25)+(PU-x)= Total BHP

        If we were to know any other info on any of these makes on their PU we could make up where everyone stands in relation to each other, based on Arai’s remarks on the ICE.

        1. What sort of equation is that?
          At the end it just says…
          PU-25=total BHP
          ? ? ?

        2. mmm what do you mean by Arai’s “sources”? remember the teams can access GPS data for every car on the track and because they all weight the same, getting the output power is straightforward.

          Of course it gets tricky with small details like harvesting, deployment, wing levels etc but these are clever people and I’m sure everyone has a pretty good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s PU

        3. Renault claimed before the start of the season that their power unit produced up to 850bhp, which implies that the engine produces 690bhp (if we take out 160bhp for the energy recovery systems).

          If Arai is correct, that would therefore imply the following output for each of the manufacturers for the engines:
          Renault: 690bhp
          Honda: 715bhp
          Ferrari: 745bhp
          Mercedes: 765bhp

          I have some doubts about those figures, but that is what those ballpark estimates from Arai and the publicly stated figures from Renault would seem to indicate.

          1. Well this is not what we’ve been reading for a while.

            It’s more something like this (for thermal engine) :

            Mercedes : 720 hp (planning 30 more by the end of the season)
            Ferrari : 700-710 hp (planning 30 more by the end of the season)
            Renault : 670-680 hp (planning 60 more by the end of the season)

            Note that even in short straights, Honda’s PU seems weak. They say it’s mostly due to grip and aero.. They also talk about the fact that they have problems with cooling due to the ICE integration. They definitely have problem to store energy. Actually at the moment there’s nothing really clear about the overall power of this PU. It’s weak in the car, but on the bench..? I personaly think the main problem is in the car.

            Sorry for my English.

      6. Ari can be anything you could think but serious. This guy, despite being Japanese, start to talk telling the world they (Honda) are not 100% guilty in the current situation of McLaren…

        Well, I can agree on this, but… Less blah blah blah and more intelligent work!

    2. I believe that Yasuhisa Arai has been inhaling too many exhaust fumes. The never-ending optimism at McLaren-Honda has become a bit ridiculous.

      1. Yeah, I am rooting for Honda and do not have any problem with a little confidence, but have they never heard the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Let the results speak for a change, until then keep quite.

      2. @mtlracer, he’s talking about the ICE, not the ERS. The petrol engine is above what Renault have but it’s the harvesting energy bit that’s the problem.

    3. Nikolas Tombazis, who lost his position as Ferrari’s chief designer at the end of last year, says the team’s current car was the first he had been able to invest serious attention to in seven years and the first to benefit from the team’s upgraded wind tunnel.

      Eh? What was he doing the six years before? He was the Chief Designer, what the hell do you do for six years if not giving “serious attention” to the car you’re supposed to be designing?

      1. You take this game far too seriously. I guess Nikolas Tombazis is looking for a new job.

        “I take credit for the newly improved performance of the Ferrari since I left because
        my last year’s work made it what it is”. Big salary please.

        1. I doubt that admitting to not trying for 6 out of 7 years is the best self advertisement (maybe issues with the team structure and not entirely on him, but he still has to take some responsibility for not sorting it out).

      2. Six years of political infighting?

      3. @boylep6 @tribaltalker @hawkii It’s all so very bizarre. Aldo Costa left Ferrari in a embarrassing way, and in Mercedes he’s a superstar, one of the pillars of the most dominant care this sport has seen. I think the declarations of Tombazis are weird, but I can’t help to think there was something very wrong with Ferrari at the time.

        1. Well, there were questions about Ferrari’s management systems for some time, and we saw that the team went through a major restructuring program last year.

          The team has also outsourced a sizeable chunk of development work to third parties as well – for example, a lot of the work on the Ferrari powertrain between 2014 and 2015 was outsourced to AVL, an Austrian mechanical engineering firm, rather than being undertaken in house.

          As you say, whilst Tombazis’s comments come across as a little odd, there does seem to be something in them that suggests there were wider issues within the team.

    4. Arai is smoking ha-shoosh

    5. Tombazis, Fry, Marmorini and Aldo Costa the latter departed Ferrari much earlier than the other 3 men, say they are not to blame for the poor cars Ferrari has produced since the beginning of the “aero” driven era that has spawn since 2009.
      All top technical engineers say Ferrari team didn’t put the resources on a new wind tunnel. Tombazis says there was not enough time to engineer a great car. We must believe in what they are saying as such they were the ones working for Ferrari, that said someone is to blame. According to Tombazis the SF15-T is his car. He says it is a better car because of the new windtunnel and the fact Allison put Tombazis to work on the car in due time. Tombazis also said that Newey is a genius which leads me to believe that he knows that there’s more to accomplish both chassis and PU wise on the SF15-T.
      We must blame the one responsible for the bad management in Ferrari? Tombazis does not blame Montezemolo but someone needs to step up, right?
      Allison has said from the beginning that the SF15-T is not his car and that Ferrari would have made more changes if they had more time to do so. In the end both Allison and Tombazis acknowledge that the SF15-T couldn’t have been better. Their collective silence towards Domenicalli’s role in the demise of Ferrari is enough to blame one men. Domenicalli did take responsability but… My conclusion is that all 4 technical directors are at fault for Ferrari’s failures, as all of them claim to know what to correct and how to proceed in order to win again, yet they did not produce the goods in their time. Lack of character by them lack of direction by Montezemolo and Ferrari. Thankfully Allison has the saddles so all signs are good for the future of Ferrari.

      1. Allison also said that the improvements on this chassis is limited and they need to start anew.

        1. Yes you are right. I tried to mention that. To surmise even if Tombazis thinks the SF15-T is good Allison regrets having not had the opportunity to change some concepts.

    6. ‘Next year things will look completely different’ – Fernando Alonso (ESPN)

      Are they finally going to announce that big sponsor from 2013 and get a new livery?

    7. If Arai’s estimates are indeed true, McLaren-Honda’s troubles sound familiar to Ferrari’s problems of yesteryear – they handicapped their engine in favour of their aero, and also had problems with harvesting. Despite Arai’s insistence they would work around the “size zero” concept, maybe Honda and McLaren should take a page out of Ferrari’s book by taking a step back from the aero side and focusing on the engine – that has catapulted them from a measly 2 podiums to 2 wins! In fact with how engine-biased the current formula is – look at the likes of Sauber making huge strides forward just with an upgraded PU at the beginning of the season, and Force India/Lotus jostling with Red Bull, it probably would be for the best. Give Honda more room to work with, after all the engine is worth precious seconds, instead of aero bringing tenths to the table.

    8. FlyingLobster27
      1st September 2015, 7:20

      I don’t know if it would weigh much on Hülkenberg’s decision, but does he want to drive a P1 Porsche 919 or a GTE Ferrari 488 at Le Mans next year? XD

      1. Intriguing angle but not sure if that would be a factor considering Porsche are most definitely not related to Mercedes, apart from nationality!

    9. That’s a very foolish thing for Honda to say when they are seemingly miles away from proving it.

    10. If I were McLaren I would be very worried about that fact that when Honda speaks of engine, they are apparently only talking about the combustion engine. Bragging about how powerful your engine is vs your competitors’ – before and after – the weekend you were completely annihilated is a bit pathetic. This shows that either they don’t really understand the current engine formula (where the only thing that counts is the useful power lap after lap) or that they are content with very little performance.

      I had very little confidence in this project from the beginning. Their last success if from the 80’s. Since then they have only shown a downhill trend. We will never know, but I often wonder if the Brawn GP chassis had also won if they had run with Honda engines. To me the switch to Honda by McLaren seemed more like a desperate ‘last ditch effort’ than a strategically sound move.

      I hope they can get a huge jump in performance. But I believe I read that they are still the same group of people from the previous Honda F1 era. And since then, F1, the engines and the teams have only gotten both more complicated and competitive.

      1. Aria understands. And he is sending Dennis a clear message that they are doing fine where they have the ability to work, on the ICE, but not fine where size-zero has made the recovery systems problematic. mclaren needs to move to size-one. But Dennis will never admit to error.

    11. There had been long complaints about the Ferrari wind tunnel but LDM refused to do anything about it. Costa said there was a problem many years ago and he got sacked. Ferrari have a way of getting in the way of their own progress and then finding someone to execute for the failure.

      1. In the case of Costa, there is a question over whether he was fired or chose to leave Ferrari – the way in which he relinquished his position seemed to suggest that he was being put on “gardening leave”, which is the usual waiting period enforced on personnel when they intend to leave their current team for a rival out of their own choice.

        Turning to the performance issues, the issues with Ferrari’s wind tunnel were primarily given as calibration issues arising from the wind tunnel being scaled up from running 50% to 60% models, which would have required extensive modification to the wind tunnel facilities.

        Whilst Montezemolo was able to arrange deals with the Toyota Motorsport Group to use their wind tunnel (Toyota now has a very profitable sideline in selling wind tunnel time to other motorsport teams) and with Sauber, it seems that there were some political battles between himself and the wider Fiat Group, which was trying to cut, rather than increase, the expenditure of the F1 team and therefore refused to provide him with the funds to overhaul the wind tunnel.

    12. It looks more like Yasuhisa Arai having been pointing the finger at the chassis again.

    13. I think the entire world would be an optimistic place if they all had some of what Mr.Arai is smoking

    14. Regardless, circa 700bhp from a 1.6 litre displacement is pretty remarkable.

    15. Vtec must have kicked in yo!

    16. Regarding the double points within Indy, for me there is definitely an unfairness element to it, even though it is the same for everyone. Even though they all have the same chances at the start of the season, and they all know going in what they have to do, someone inevitably gets robbed in the end, and it doesn’t have a good feel to it.

      Probably the only ones not complaining about double points were Dixon and the promoters. The likes of Montoya and Power summed it up as a lottery and it not mattering what you do in the season when it comes down to a double points finale. Not entirely true, as one thing you can do is be so successful during the season that you are shielded from the issue by the time the last race arrives. Including snatching bigger points at the Indy 500. But as if the likes of JPM wasn’t already trying to do that every race weekend.

      I know that if JPM had won the title he would not have said it didn’t matter what he did during the season, nor would have gone along with the sentiment that it was a lottery. JPM as Champ would have made more sense to everyone, having led throughout the season. What doesn’t make sense to me is seeing a bloke do so well throughout the season and then have the risk of one yellow flag or one crash or one anything deciding his whole season due to the seemingly unequivalent harm of double points that rides on the other side of the coin that gain does.

      It’s a gadget that cheaply brings suspense but at the expense of shading the integrity of the sport and creating hard feelings that needn’t be there. I say no double points at all, not even the Indy 500. The racing in the series, especially due to it’s spec nature, is too close to need double points for suspense. The drivers can create that themselves, and the audience should be treated maturely enough to be trusted to get that.

    17. Presumably Arai is comparing the Honda engine to the engine found in a 1998 Renault Clio.

      1. Presumably you only read the headline before commenting….

    18. When asked where he believes Honda sits in relation to the other F1 engine suppliers, Arai said: ’40-50(hp) behind Mercedes but about 25 ahead of Renault.

      I don’t believe these figures, well the ones regarding the difference between Renault and Mercedes anyway. The top speed of Daniil Kvyat’s car at Spa was something like 340 km/hr (DRS enabled), which is much faster than Hamilton’s top speed that I measured of 323 km/hr. While there could well be less power in the Renault unit than the Mercedes, the simple fact is both engined powered cars achieve very similar top speeds, which makes me think there isn’t actually that much difference between them.
      Unfortunately neither of the Honda cars appear in the onboard camera video of the F1 race, so it is hard to judge how good they really are. Maybe we could see some McLaren-Honda onboard camera video at the next GP?

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