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Boullier hits out at Honda's mentality

NEWS STORY
22/03/2017

It's fair to say that while most of us are anticipating whether Ferrari really does have the equipment to take on Mercedes this weekend, and others whether Red Bull can join in the fun, McLaren fans will be hoping that things are not quite as bad as they appear.

If ever the term 'damage limitation' was warranted, in the wake of a horrendous pre-season test programme, McLaren will head into the Melbourne weekend hoping upon hope that things are not as bad as they appear.

As both the Woking outfit and its Japanese partner attempt to put on a smiling face and tell the world that all is OK, and 'we're getting there', like a couple desperate for the world not to know the truth, both will be wanting to get the season opener out of the way without incurring too much damage, either on track or off.

Clearly, some at McLaren are sick of making excuses, and the old one about 'they were late coming to the party' is looking worn and tired.

Indeed, in a rare snipe at Honda, Eric Boullier has questioned the Japanese manufacturer's inability to understand the culture of F1, claiming that its insistence to do things 'the Japanese way' is the cause of much of the problem.

"They only need one thing, which is to understand and integrate the F1 racing culture," he told Autosport. "What I mean by that is: the way we behave in racing and Formula 1 is all driven by a calendar, by fixed targets, fixed dates, lap time gains; we always try to go to the best solution as fast as possible.

"Where a car manufacturer is running a project, you can have a few weeks delay and it's not going to change the product, it's not going to change the business model," he continued. "In racing, if you don't bring your upgrade for race one, in race one you will be nowhere.

"That is the racing mentality. It's as far as going to suppliers and making sure that if they do something in one month, the next time they do it in three weeks, and from then three weeks to two weeks.

"We value more the time gained than the money spent," he admitted. "This is a different approach from the rest of the world."

While Honda has a workshop in Milton Keynes, its HQ remains in Japan, and that, insists the Frenchman, is core to the issue.

"This is why Mercedes is based in England, and I guess they benefit from the supply chain, from people with experience of F1. Our suppliers maybe cost twice as much but are three, four, five times faster.

"In some ways you can realise the corporate influence is not helping to be efficient. The more you behave like a corporate company, the more process inherited from a corporate company, the slower you are, the less agile you are, which doesn't fit the racing culture."

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1. Posted by Thomas1, 23/03/2017 11:23

"McLaren Racing is a great competitor who deserve better racing experience and their employees are well engaged in every racing and challenged at the peak. Presently, I may say they are only observers in the racing. If this is not offered, then McLaren is committing a disservice to their employees, fans and stakeholders and missed opportunities and writing histories.
The current crop of F1 engines are not only ICE but energy recovery, extra boost from turbo chargers and recovery energies applied, etc. F1 engine is a complex of components of services that all should work and orchestrate their services like a flawless symphony instead of noise/vibration or failures. Each component should be locally max and they should work together thru software integration to extract the synergy output at any speed or situation by channeling the global max power and torque. Honda’s effort towards this convergence is not fast enough. That itself is a failure. They can limit the damage to their reputation or they can seek outside F1 help for both hardware and software integration. It is a known fact that Europe has been an innovator of ICE and other F1 technologies. Britain has a great F1 experience and software expertise. Is Honda using this help?
I remember in or around 1992, Ron Dennis terminated the contract of Peugeot after six months even though Mika was extracting the maximum out of the engine in every race in terms of points and went to Mercedes engines. F1 is a ruthless game. If one is not in winning, one is harpooned to extinction. The show moves on.
If Honda has money and has a span of 5 to 10 years, then they can have a competitive engine thru multiple spec changes, winning chassis and the right driver to win F1 championships. Each one of the previous is a stage that can break one-i.e. staying in the same level for several years.F1 championship is a point in history.
McLaren should give Honda six months, assign them to a McLaren Lite Team and ask them to develop a competitive engine. Meanwhile, the actual McLaren Racing should use Mercedes engines for real-world racing making their fans happy and exercising their employees’ potential. I declare a person or team is genuinely great if they on their own accept their limitations as well as their capabilities or Prowess!
"

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2. Posted by Ro, 22/03/2017 20:16

"Is he looking for a new job? I cant see Honda putting up with any criticism at all. Honda will walk if this doesnt work, its not McLaren wanting to change, They wont have a choice. Bring back a standard Cosworth Engine...not rely on manufactures to produce one. Thats where all the money has gone...to an engine that will NEVER be fitted to a road car, It just a PR exercise for the manufaturers."

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3. Posted by @R1Racing71, 22/03/2017 17:20

"Some very well chosen and powerful words coming from McLaren. Can't help but feeling that they are seeking to terminate this agreement prematurely. I'm optimistic that a Mercedes customer engine finds it's way in the back of the car before the end of the season."

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4. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 22/03/2017 17:14

"I seem to remember this being bought up last season about the way Honda do things.
You do start to get the impression things are coming to a head, lets see how things go this weekend, but its hard to see either Mclaren finishing the race and if that happens in front of the world, another call to Mercedes? those Manor engines are still there ready to go."

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5. Posted by ryanhellyer, 22/03/2017 16:48

"@Wheelchecker - Cosworth power would be too expensive with these new powerplants. The manufacturers have too much spending power that they'd need to keep up with."

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6. Posted by Wheelchecker, 22/03/2017 14:09

"Eric Boullier is right, Honda must step up, or fall on the sword.McLaren need to move on. Cosworth power?"

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