More with the culture issues?

You know, we were just talking about the persistent mentioning of the cultural difference between Honda and McLaren on our recent podcast. It seems between McLaren and Honda you hear them mention it thrice daily. It leaves me wondering what the heck is so damned different about building and engine for a chassis and fitting it? What? They all like different IPA’s or Saki?

Like clockwork, another story from AUTOSPORT mentions this great cultural divide like it is some chasm that is impossible to traverse with bridge nor handshake. Once again, Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai, says the cultures are just too different:

“It is a wonderful idea, but I think it would be very difficult to sign an engineer from Ferrari or Mercedes or wherever.

“For example, it would be difficult for them to work with us as the culture is quite different, the equipment, the simulation, everything.

“So they could be highly skilled, but it would take too long for them to learn how we operate.

“Also, we as Honda want our employees to work together with us for a long time, so when someone comes along for six months and then leaves, it is very difficult. It’s not how we work.”

So if this is true, how the heck did Ross Brawn ever get anything done at BARF 1 or the Honda works team? Did the works team not reveal a lesson to Honda? Could both teams put their pride in their back pocket and try working together? At this point, I feel like Honda has very little to lose in lightening up on the whole ‘culture’ thing.

Good grief, this is starting to sound like that impossibly odd argument between Luke Skywalker and the Emperor in Return of the Jedi:

Boullier: You overconfidence is your weakness

Honda: Your faith in your team is yours!

Do we have to bring Darth Brawn back in to lob Honda down that ridiculously long shaft again? So McLaren can take what’s left of Honda’s gear and win a title…with Jenson again?



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Jamie Huntoon

Brawn won with Merc power after Honda exit, stage left.

peter riva

barf one had me laughing.


I suggest a new strategy… let the Wookie win.

Seriously though, Honda failed as a full works team before, it seems because they ran their sports team like a corporate manufacturer. It looks like they’re trying to to do the same again, but expecting different results…. good luck with that.

Paul KieferJr

This is starting to sound like the movie “Gung Ho” with Michael Keaton: Japanese company buys out American Company, tries to force Japanese culture, it doesn’t work, they learn to compromise when the chips are down. I think McLaren and Honda are facing a similar situation.


I think he’s saying that engineers and engine specialists from other teams won’t be hired because they wouldn’t fit in with Honda/Japanese culture. That is self-limiting.