During early testing for the pre-season in Barcelona, McLaren saw some issues with the new Honda engine which resulted in a lack of horsepower. The problem initiated a response across the race nation with many enthusiasts wondering if this was going to be the end of the McLaren and Honda relationship, which began again in 2015 at the Australian Grand Pre.
Honda and McLaren had a long history of working together, which dates back as far as 1981 when McLaren formed a relationship with Ron Dennis’ Project Four Racing. At this time, the McLaren team used Honda and Porsche engines in their Formula 1 cars. Honda withdrew from Formula 1 racing in the mid 1990’s, with their last race taking place in 1992.
The relationship reignited in 2015, when McLaren became known as McLaren Honda for all Formula 1 racing purposes. Current director, Eric Boullier, said that the latest trouble with the engine has put a strain on the working relationship between the two companies. In fact, there has been talk about Mercedes coming back into play as a manufacturer for the team.
McLaren won’t comment on whether or not there is any truth to the Mercedes rumors, but admits that there have been talks of switching manufacturers. Toto Wolff, the head of the board of Mercedes and motorsport has hinted to the press that Mercedes would be open to supplying McLaren with engines again should the offer be made. The two companies worked together from 1992 when Honda pulled out of F1 until the switch back to Honda in 2015.
This is the third year in the McLaren Honda project, and while Honda is holding strong to the prospect of a future, McLaren is reportedly let down by the failure. The engine problems are not a one-time deal, but an ongoing test fault which has robbed the team of successful laps over the past 12 months.
McLaren and Engine Trouble
McLaren, while known as a formidable opponent on the track, is actually a small company formed by Bruce McLaren in Britain in 1963. Bruce was a racer, but also a knowledgeable mechanic and engineer. His company created the perfect race car, but didn’t have the tools or manpower to create the engines to go inside. For this reason, McLaren partnered early on with Honda and then Mercedes-Benz to get the engines required for a successful race team.
McLaren is one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport of Formula 1. So, while they may need to buy their engines from other supplies, it seems like they’re doing something right. They have continued to be successful today.
While things might seem strained, Honda has released a statement saying that they are more committed than ever to bringing a strong engine to the McLaren team for future Formula 1 races. They have been humble in their evaluation of current engine failure, saying that it wasn’t what was expected when they re-entered the F1 scene, but that they are working hard to rectify things.
Thanks to the results of the preseason test, Honda has been able to work out the kinks of the latest manufactured engine models, and are ready to take on Melbourne when the time come. The Barcelona problems mainly dealt with power, so the team is focusing on increasing the output to create a winning product.
American Spirit Team Johansson and McLaren
Stefan Johansson of American Spirit Team Johansson worked closely with McLaren during his Formula 1 career. One of the more promising moments of this career was when Stefan was chosen from a lengthy list of talents drivers to take seat two in the McLaren TAG Drive with Alain Prost. This was in 1987, when Johansson was hot off a victory of two second place wins in Canada and Detroit during 1985.
For more information on racing, Johansson, and the rest of his team, contact American Spirit Team Johansson through our online contact page. You can also read more blog updates about race news and driving tips by checking back regularly.