You want it to be a big leap forward. You were hoping that Honda’s upgraded engine deployed this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix was going to be a big improvement. You were realistic, though, and you weren’t expecting McLaren to leap to the podium.
McLaren Honda’s upgraded engine may not have been running full song or it may have been dialed back to test its on-event reliability but the bad news is that it may have been running flat out. It’s difficult to know but suffice it to say, this is not the overall result many were hoping for from McLaren Honda’s new upgrades. Driver Jenson Button said:
“That’s puzzling and disappointing, and shows there is a lot of work needed to close that gap, and a long way to go before we feel happy with the package we have.
“There’s definitely more power with the engine at least, but you always want more than you see, and we’re still a long way off.”
For teammate Fernando Alonso, he’s just hoping for attrition:
“I need many things to happen tomorrow,” said Alonso when asked if was considering a points finish.
“I talk before about rain, but probably we need more than the rain. We need a very chaotic race, let’s say.
“But I think the target tomorrow cannot be the points to be honest. We have to be realistic, we are not competitive at all.
“The target tomorrow is to learn about the car and keep putting mileage.”
The season is a complete bust for McLaren and fans know this but what they are more concerned about is the rate of development and so far—a few points-finishes withstanding—they are not making big strides throughout this season. That’s the real issue.
The 2015 season is effectively a very expensive test session for the team and while accepting that is difficult enough, not seeing major strides is even worse. Especially when Honda implied the new upgraded engine would provide Ferrari-like performance.
There is another side of that coin, however, in that McLaren actually have made some significant gains given their time delta to the winner of each race since the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
Finding seconds in Formula 1 is not easy but it is even more difficult, when you get there or thereabouts, to find tenths, hundredths and thousandths.
Ha Tip: AUTOSPORT