Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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ENGINE TUNER
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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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PlatinumZealot wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:35 pm
...
Thanks for the link

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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Manoah2u wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:00 pm
I'm not that surprised that Renault dropped the ball in 2014. It's not that Renault isn't capable, it's that it's been the common consensus for Renault the past decades. Renault left RedBull hanging with reliability issues more than once. You could argue that it was 'Magneti Marelli' who was responsible for the problems, but quite frankly,
it's part of the engine package. And even then, in the NA V8 era Renault was offered a engine development unfreeze so they could catch up to Ferrari and Mercedes as they were behind. I don't remember if Toyota was still around back then but i remember well that Renault was offered space to catch up. Hence, looking at how things panned out in 2014, i wasn't that surprised that Renault was so behind in pace. I was surprised to see just how bad of material Renault left RedBull with, including rusty bolts. But i wasn't surprised by their lack of pace.
I was very surprised with that of Ferrari though, and how long it took before they finally became 'competitive' again.
Likewise Honda surprised me. Even if it was partially due to Mclaren's excessive demands that impeded advancement, and organizational from Honda themselves partially too,
their unreliability was shocking.
The constant alternator failures red bull experienced were fully their fault, they procured their own alternators and also failed to cool them sufficiently. Poor reliability has been a hallmark of newey designs as he is known for using a lower safety factor in areas such as cooling.

Renault were given scope to improve their v8 because both Merc and Ferrari had vastly improved theirs while the engines were supposed to have been frozen. Renault shouldn't be put to blame for adhering the the spirit of the cost saving regulation. That had no bearing on what Renault should have been doing towards the v6t hybrid. Their 2014 motor was 2nd of 3, but still far behind the Merc, specifically in the electric components. He Ferrari PU vastly improved for 2015 with the addition of a much larger turbo, it was quite simple for them actually, simple enough that they did not even require a high token usage between 14 and 15 and therefore had plenty for in season improvements, thus the battle with the FIA about "homologation".

Honda's incompetence had nothing to do with "size zero", when you look at their first PU for 15, it was no smaller than the Merc unit. Honda was unable to get their PU started for the 14 post season test, it had nothing to do with McLaren, they were simply unprepared.

Brawn managed to convince Mercedes back in 2009 to buy the team,

Merc buying Brawn was fallout from the spygate scandal and also Ron Dennis not wanting to sell McLaren to Merc.

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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Merc buying Brawn was possible first and foremost because Honda stepped out. If that never happened, then there wouldn't really be a team available except for perhaps Force India, but it's questionable they were open back then for being bought. The spygate scandal obviously influenced Merc's reputation, but the damage was done anyway and nothing will change that, so that's just talk, but not an actual reason. Mercedes wanted more name, and iirc there was friction due to the Mercedes SLR situation on top of that.

Yes, Ron Dennis did not want to sell Mclaren to Mercedes, which meant they wouldn't carry the 'crown' if they achieve success, but rather Mclaren, and they (Merc) wanted more. But It is very defendable that Ron didn't want to sell, and he's right, and he shouldn't have. After all, if Mercedes bought a majority stake, it's pretty clear they would have simply changed the team name into Mercedes GP, and that would have been the end of Mclaren right there and then. It's also said Ron Dennis sold a stake of Mclaren to a Bahraini consortium without even offering Mercedes themselves that stake, which didn't got taken well by Mercedes at the time. True or not, it is ironic that that very same Bahraini consortium not too long after actually got rid of Ron Dennis, effectively ending the MP4 project right there. But, in any case, Mclaren as a name and team was saved.

The truth remains, if Honda had not stepped out, there would never been a suitable team available for Merc to buy anyway. Especially not a proven capable team, nor for a reasonable amount of money. If, for the 2009 season, Brawn had bought Renault engines or Ferrari engines instead of Mercedes engines, i even less think that Mercedes would have bought the team. Yes, HRT was an option, aswell as Manor. But again, these were not proven, capable teams, and I don't think the risk involved would have been acceptable for Mercedes. Had Brawn taken Ferrari engines, perhaps Brawn could have actually made Alfa Romeo happen a few years earlier, who knows. With Renault engines, that's a big question, as Renault just started their own team again taking over Genii, so that ship sailed. In any case, Mercedes was the right decision.

In other words, it was very much thanks to Brawn that Mercedes bought the team. Offcourse Brawn knew Mercedes was looking around, and he benefitted from that, sure.

But perhaps another interesting question could also be: what if Brawn always intended to do things like this?
Could his RedBull plan in 2008 actually have encompassed in turning RedBull into Mercedes GP? If you think of it, Brawn turning a energy drinks company few people ever believed in (back then) into a motorsport heritage racing team, with Alonso as the hungry double WDC as the 'Nr1' driver, and having a desired German in the team in the shape of Sebastian Vettel, and run the double-deck diffuser car of Newey with Mercedes power to the dominance we saw Vettel have with the team from 2010 onwards till 2014?

And when that fell through - either because Alonso didn't want to go with it, or, perhaps more believable: Mercedes did not want Alonso due to the Spygate scandal and that might actually be why that 'project' fell through - could he actually have been informed that Honda was planning to stop their F1 project anyway (and buy the Honda team for much cheaper), and instead of Alonso paired to Vettel (of which back then nobody would expect his RB dominance) grab a German in the shape of Rosberg and plan on getting/luring Schumacher as an even better alternative than the RedBull 'plan' with Alonso, perhaps even having planned Hamilton as far back as 2008?

It's all speculation, let that be clear. But something tells me Brawn had some rabbits in his hat.
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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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If I remember correctly, during the winter of 2009, BMW pulled out of Sauber and Toyota quit. Those where next to a troublesome Williams and an already partner Force India other good possibilities for Mercedes to take over. Sauber being almost an obvious choice because of their history.

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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DarkAlman wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:28 am
Has it ever been explained from a technical perspective why the infamous Earth Dreams car was so bad?

What did Honda get so wrong with the design?
From what I recall:

Honda put a motorcycle guy, Shuhei Nakamoto former HRC technical chief, in charge of the clean-sheet new RA107 design.

With a motorcycle guy as technical director, there were not just aero correlations problems with the radical new aero concept (a departure from the RA106) but a range of fundamental errors like a lack of chassis rigidity.

In hindsight, Honda would have been off sticking with an incremental evolution of the competent upper-midfield RA106.

Obviously, for the RA108 tried to improve the RA107 instead of going back to a RA106 derived car, which may or may not have been a good idea.

TL;DR: Cars and motorcycles are different. As we see every year in MotoGP with riders rejecting supposed improvements and struggling with updates, motorcycle design is more of a black-art where rider feel and confidence is more importance than what might be objectively better.

A car designed with Shuhei Nakamoto as technical director turned out about as well as you might expect a MotoGP bike with James Allison as technical director would -- as in, not very.

So you could say the cause of the car being poor was good old fashioned Honda hubris and stubborness with the radical idea they could put their MotoGP technical director in charge of their F1 car! :)

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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I think it's fair to say that the RA108 is remembered as being worse than it was because there was very little development done to it as they focused on 2009.
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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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The RA108 was the one that sprouted the dumbo ears, which is one of the strangest bits of bodywork seen in a long time. The aero work for that must have been ... interesting.

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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2008 was a strange year. Ferrari and Mercedes went bonkers with the development of their cars, paying the price the following year while Honda, RedBull and others put their resources on 2009.

For Honda, the constant change in technical staff after the takeover from BAR to Honda probably played into this as well. As we know now, from the origin story of the Brawn car, they had different cars developed at the different headquarters. Best way to get an undrivable Frankenstein I think.

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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I remember in 2007-2008 development as insane. Even the “frozen” engines of Ferrari and Mercedes were increasing in power every few months.

The 2006 WCC Renault was nowhere in 2007. In 2008 Renault was back (with Alonso) but the powerunit was so far down on power. Even the Ferrari powered Torro Rosso was faster than the Renault powered RedBull.

The 2008 Honda took a wrong path of developement and the Honda V8 was never as good as their 2005 V10.

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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wasnt the CoG too high on the Honda V8? Sure i remember Button complaining about it

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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bigblue wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 12:14 pm
The RA108 was the one that sprouted the dumbo ears, which is one of the strangest bits of bodywork seen in a long time. The aero work for that must have been ... interesting.
It debuted in a test on the RA107. They clearly were onto something considering how a few teams developed their own variants the following season.
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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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The 2006 Honda had a trick braking system banned so they had to basically start from scratch in 2007, 2008 was no better because Brawn being the strategist he is, focused all his efforts on 2009, as the rule change was the biggest opportunity to make inroads. His strategy proved true winning the title with a shoehorned engine, and convincing Mercedes to buy the team. Brawn then used his strategic long term vision to focus on the 2014 rule change. Just as the team started hitting it's stride in 2013 Toto took over, and Daimler threw their full backing behind him after seeing the progress he made at Williams in his short tenure there. Mercedes wouldn't be what it is without Brawn laying the groundwork, so they owe him dearly, and he continues to benefit the Brackley team through his management position at Liberty. It was his baby after all, I could see that he'd have a special bias towards them.
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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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It was quite telling when the Super Aguri (past year's Honda) was beating the works Honda on track.

It would have been interesting to see how well the Honda KERS would have worked and if they would have raced it. Didn't they have the battery pack up front under the driver's legs?
Honda!

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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The problems with the 2008 Honda were poor aero, and an engine 50-60 hp down from competitors. Apparently honda were very reluctant to come to terms with the reality that the engine was that far down on power.
The 2009 Honda design used 2 sets of engineers each working parallel programs, and a team of engineers from the Super Aguri team came up with the double diffuser concept. A revised engine with a lot more power was needed, but it is not clear to me if Honda could have sneaked that past the engine freeze. So the 2009 Honda car (if Honda had stayed) might have been more competitive, but it might not have won the championship.

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Re: Why was the Infamous Honda RA107 Earth Dreams car so bad?

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ENGINE TUNER wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:06 pm
Manoah2u wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:00 pm
I'm not that surprised that Renault dropped the ball in 2014. It's not that Renault isn't capable, it's that it's been the common consensus for Renault the past decades. Renault left RedBull hanging with reliability issues more than once. You could argue that it was 'Magneti Marelli' who was responsible for the problems, but quite frankly,
it's part of the engine package. And even then, in the NA V8 era Renault was offered a engine development unfreeze so they could catch up to Ferrari and Mercedes as they were behind. I don't remember if Toyota was still around back then but i remember well that Renault was offered space to catch up. Hence, looking at how things panned out in 2014, i wasn't that surprised that Renault was so behind in pace. I was surprised to see just how bad of material Renault left RedBull with, including rusty bolts. But i wasn't surprised by their lack of pace.
I was very surprised with that of Ferrari though, and how long it took before they finally became 'competitive' again.
Likewise Honda surprised me. Even if it was partially due to Mclaren's excessive demands that impeded advancement, and organizational from Honda themselves partially too,
their unreliability was shocking.
The constant alternator failures red bull experienced were fully their fault, they procured their own alternators and also failed to cool them sufficiently. Poor reliability has been a hallmark of newey designs as he is known for using a lower safety factor in areas such as cooling.

Renault were given scope to improve their v8 because both Merc and Ferrari had vastly improved theirs while the engines were supposed to have been frozen. Renault shouldn't be put to blame for adhering the the spirit of the cost saving regulation. That had no bearing on what Renault should have been doing towards the v6t hybrid. Their 2014 motor was 2nd of 3, but still far behind the Merc, specifically in the electric components. He Ferrari PU vastly improved for 2015 with the addition of a much larger turbo, it was quite simple for them actually, simple enough that they did not even require a high token usage between 14 and 15 and therefore had plenty for in season improvements, thus the battle with the FIA about "homologation".

Honda's incompetence had nothing to do with "size zero", when you look at their first PU for 15, it was no smaller than the Merc unit. Honda was unable to get their PU started for the 14 post season test, it had nothing to do with McLaren, they were simply unprepared.

Brawn managed to convince Mercedes back in 2009 to buy the team,

Merc buying Brawn was fallout from the spygate scandal and also Ron Dennis not wanting to sell McLaren to Merc.
I always wondered if RBR burning alternators was because they were using them as a type of MGU...