There are relatively strong words from McLaren chief Ron Dennis today in an AUTOSPORT article regarding customer teams and their ability to win using power units from a supplier. The fact is, this very notion is most likely what drove McLaren to seek a new, dedicated partner in Honda for 2015.
McLaren had worked with Mercedes for since 1995 and it has been fruitful for both organizations but when Mercedes did a deal with Ross Brawn and Brawn GP back in 2009, the writing was on the wall—or is that sh*$?
The fact is simple for Ron, customer teams won’t win in this new format of hybrid power units:
“My opinion, and it is an opinion held by many people within our organisation, is that you have no chance of winning the world championship if you are not receiving the best engines from whoever is manufacturing your engines.
“And a modern grand prix engine at this moment in time is not about sheer power, it is about how you harvest the energy, it is about how you store the energy.”
It is about the energy harvesting process and how best to control the rates at which you do so. Dennis says that is the crux of the argument:
“Effectively, if you don’t have the control of that process, meaning access to source code, then you are not going to be able to stabilise your car in the entry to corners etc., and you lose lots of lap time.
“Even though you have the same brand of engine that does not mean you have the ability to optimise the engine.”
The move to Honda provides McLaren with a strategic partner, just as they had with Mercedes since 1995, and since Honda has tried and failed to gain traction in F1 leaving the sport as a works team in 2009, it seems fitting to bring the two together for a proper go of it. The irony being that the team that was Honda F1 became Brawn GP who lost Honda but gained Mercedes.
Honda and McLaren have a past and it is littered with a ripe history of winning so this may be something like getting the band back together, without Moonie of course because he died, and playing the entire Quadrophenia album in a big tour sponsored by Pepsi.
Many feel that McLaren and Honda will struggle on their honeymoon in 2015 but who knows? If you can control the harvest, you can control the universe! At least that’s what Ron Harkonnen thinks and who am I do doubt him?
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT and the ever-talented Mr. Noble.