McLaren could improve, there’s enough tokens for it

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I always enjoy reading Mark Hughes and after meeting him in Austin, there’s no wonder he joined MotorSport Magazine to be part of a professional and yet very cordial, polite and kind staff. Our conversation in Austin reminded me of my conversation with Nigel roebuck—both incredibly polite and incredibly knowledgeable. True professionals in every sense of the word.

That’s why Sky Sports F1’s article caught my attention. There seems to be a lot of talk about McLaren these days but more to the point, can the team actual make any headway in 2016? Rumors place their deficit at 2.5s and that’s a lot to find in a matter of several weeks.

The entire article is a good read so check it out but what caught me, regarding McLaren’s ability to develop and close the gap, was this comment by Hughes:

“32 tokens are allowed next year. A compressor change requires three and a combustion chamber change three, so there’s still scope to effectively completely re-design the engine. If you’ve badly messed up at this stage, you can still easily put it right.

“At the moment, you’re not being strangled by the regulations – they aren’t preventing you from putting the design right. They will do eventually, if you leave it long enough before putting it right, but that’s 2019.

“If you haven’t sorted it out by then, you don’t really deserve to be in F1.”

Sometimes we get hung up on the engine freeze and forget that the token-spend is available and has been extended for 2016 and 32 tokens does allow for some major re-engineering if need be. I’m not completely convinced that Honda needs a complete re-do of their design to be honest.

I tend to think Honda know how to make an engine and my hunch is they came to F1 with some very trick engineering designs that haven’t quite proven as effective yet. They need more development and time to hone in on the ultimate performance deliverance.

Mark, wisely, doesn’t go quite as far as I do in saying McLaren could very well right the ship and be on par with Williams F1 or Force India but I like to give them the benefit of the doubt. We’ll see but it makes for a good think over the winter.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1


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Paul KieferJr

Given what they’ve suffered so far, I think McLaren and Honda have enough of an incentive to “get it right”.

Richard Piers

My opinion is that they will be in front of all bar Mercedes and Ferrari quite shortly. The performance at Abu Dhabi and the later test was promising though one shouldn’t read too much into it but it finally seems to be moving in the right direction. Certainly no longer 2.5 seconds maybe even half that.


The talk of the town about how Honda’s design was to radical and how they know the problem areas, but were prevented in fixing them because of the regulations, leads me to believe that McLaren should at least be fighting with Williams and Force India in 2016. I want to see them nipping at the heels of Ferrari. I’m just tired from hoping the next year is Alonso’s championship. Alonso 2016!!

Patrick Chapman

At the moment, you’re not being strangled by the regulations (Quote from Mark Hughs)_ 2015 Honda were very much strangled by the regulations.They identified their main problem but were unable to introduce the solution because the regulations prevented them from redesigning that particular part. That area of the ice has now had the regulatory restrictions removed and the upgraded unit was designed and produced several months ago. so it is ready to go for 2016. So I am looking forward to a major improvement in engine performance. For 2016 as has been mentioned, 32 tokens are available for improvements and… Read more »


As much as I would like to believe that McHonda will make a complete turnaround and next year become a real threat to Merc and Ferrari – the only way that ALO would have what he needs to beat them on the track – there is very little that indicates they will. The single most serious obsticle for them pulling that off would be…the dumbed down current formula & regulations. Remember that Merc and Ferrari – two team that have a very stable base to develop further, will NOT stand still but will certainlly make gains over the winter. McHonda… Read more »


Im an engineering student so bare with my technical wording. Since honda put the compressor in the V of the engine the turbine has limited torque available for the MGU-H as well as driving the compressor. To still get the same amount of power from the small size they had to up the speed of it. By a lot(dont have numbers but say the mercs and ferrari’s run at 40 000rpm but there turbines are 150% larger thus larger moment arm and torque. Thus from P = T*rotation speed they would need to make it run at 60 000rpm) Here… Read more »

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