Formula One: Honda is finally on the mend

Formula One team McLaren has suffered much at the hands of their partners Honda, but signs are finally beginning to break through that the team is back on the rise.

To see such a legendary team such as McLaren forced to languish for as long as they have has been like watching a first-class rocket primed for take-off to new horizons, only to be left continually grounded as its technicians run around, frantically attempting to get the situation under control.

Yes, the fate of the Woking-based team has, for some time now, appeared to have been relegated solely to fighting their lack of reliability and power rather than the other teams out on the track. But, at long last, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve known for some time that the issues stemmed from Honda’s discovery that their dyno testing did not correlate effectively with the on-track data that they were observing. In short, the Japanese Manufacturer was tweaking and dialing parameters that made sense in the simulation, but much less out in the field.

Honda’s F1 Chief Yusuke Hasegawa has admitted that the venerated engine manufacturer was most certainly caught off-guard by the additional g-forces that the 2017 iterations produce:

“Many items we could not test on the dyno, so it is normal that we need to check some functions in the car. The oil tank is one of the biggest items – we have a rig for the oil tank but we cannot recreate the same types of g-forces and conditions as in the car.

Of course, by design we have to consider the actual car situation in theory, but sometimes it is not always the same situation, so that is why we had some issues with the oil tank.” – Yusuke Hasegawa

Hasegawa admitted, however, that the issue wasn’t solely limited to the lateral loads that the car’s components were subjected to. For those that remember the pre-season race issues, Honda struggled incredibly to identify why vibrations within the vehicle were giving the likes of Vandoorne and Alonso so many issues. Well, rejoice, ye lovers of all that is orange and black – they’ve finally been able to pinpoint it:

“The second issue was down to the vibrations. On the dyno, the model is stiffer and heavier, so it doesn’t create any synchronized vibrations.

But on the car – with the gearbox and the tires – there is a much lower level of inertia.

Low inertia does not always create vibrations but it’s completely different from the dyno and that’s why we suffered a huge vibration on the car.

Of course, we were aware some level of vibration would come in the car, but it was much bigger than we expected.” – Yusuke Hasegawa

While this is certainly a big step forward for the McLaren-Honda project, calm waters remain far out of sight. Honda will have to work tirelessly to implement the information they have learned and continue improving the current iteration of their engine. The Japanese manufacturer has stated that they will not be revising the engine concept heading into the 2018 season, but will rather opt for unending development on their current spec.

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