Disclaimer: The following is fictional and should be read for entertainment purposes only. Any similarities to facts or actual people should be considered purely coincidental. Ok, got that out of the way on the advice of legal counsel.
Well, Friday was officially my last day at HRD. I decided to leave and go back to retirement for many personal reasons. This has nothing to do with my feelings towards Honda. They have been extremely good to me and some of my most enjoyable times in the 40 plus years in the automotive industry have been at Honda Motors. This will be my last post in this forum. I will visit from time to time and for those of you who have my personal email, please feel free to contact me there. I think it’s time to move on and focus on my personal projects that I have neglected in the recent years. Some of you may be wondering why someone like me would be posting here. Well this forum has been a diversion, entertainment and therapy for me. I have had some very difficult mental struggles over the past 18 months and this forum has been a tremendous escape and relief for me though some difficult times. Thank you for many of your kind words and thank you to the haters as you too have given me many a laugh. Being called spineless, clueless, a fraud, idiot, uneducated, etc., has brought me a lot more smiles than anger. If you don’t have thick skin then you don’t belong in F1.
Here’s a recap of my experiences including material based on documents, meetings and conversations with fellow HRD personnel including my nephew.
I was quite surprised when my nephew told me during New Year’s 2013 that Honda was going back into F1. It takes numerous resources and lots of money. I couldn’t understand why Honda would spend hundreds of millions of dollars for this but yet part of me was excited. I figured Honda would enter in the 2017 season based on the new formula proposed for 2014 and the amount of time it takes for R and D to produce a “new concept” PU. And then later when I heard that they were going to supply McLaren starting in 2015 I was quite shocked. There is word 無理 which I think is a very difficult word to translate correctly but it seems Honda forget the meaning and concept of that word. To put together a PU of this complexity in 20 months when others had 48 to 60 months to develop this formula PU seemed like a daunting task. Furthermore with this new token system and PU number restriction, well this was not going to be good no matter how you looked at it.
Then I learned that McLaren had set parameters for an overall packaging requirement. In the past it’s always been my experience in F1, you built the engine and then the bodywork around it. Apparently this time it was going to be the other way around. I blame Honda 100% for accepting this methodology. There were four proposed layouts I discovered for the new PU. Two were based on turbine and compressor both at rear and two with a turbine and compressor on top and in the “V”. Only one fit the proposed requirements and apparently there was no negotiating at this point. Many things were said about how there was no “Size zero” requirement and Honda took it upon themselves to make the packaging as small as possible. Well it really wasn’t quite that simple. For 2016, it’s easy to say that the requirement is no longer needed when wholesale changes can’t be made between 2015 and 2016 because of the token system. But again, I blame Honda 100% for agreeing to this concept knowing that success was going to be impossible in that short a timeframe and with a much compromised layout design. 2016 was trying to make the best of a compromised situation from the start. Hard to win the Kentucky Derby with a 3 legged horse.
I started working with a team dedicated to the 2017 PU back in the spring of last year. I had hopes that some of the concepts could be introduced in 2016 but that did not happen. Lack of time for development and testing made it impossible for an upgrade that I was hoping could be introduced in Malaysia. So it was tabled for 2017. We knew that the previous layout was not a winning combination and as time went on there was no way it ever could be. A major layout change was needed and both Honda and McLaren moved forward making wholesale changes. This in my opinion should have been the PU introduced in 2015. So in essence in my opinion, another 18 months behind. So in that aspect I am extremely proud of what Honda has accomplished in that short amount of time. On the dyno this year’s PU has shown very impressive numbers; better than I ever expected. Reliability is a big issue with so many new, “untested” components. At the end of day, I believe the new PU is a diamond in the rough. New combustion process, completely new layout including block, pistons, crankshaft, rods, pistons, new ERS, new MGU-H etc. It’s all new. There’s going to be a lot of teething pains but in my opinion the only way to beat Mercedes. Obviously they are the benchmark and so far Ferrari, Renault and Honda all have failed in their PU’s compared to them. Honda with the biggest amount of “catching up” to do. How much time will it take? I think realistically 4 to 6 months to resolve the reliability issues. Including one major one that I have mentioned to some of you after the first week of testing, the cylinder head. The PU is a highly stressed component of the chassis and I believe the method of components being attached to the upper portion of the engine including the heads needs to be readdressed.
Honda has made a accomplishment given the timeframe. So that is my take. I am so very proud of HRD no matter what anyone may say. We are not clueless nor a bunch of idiots. Flawed yes, stubborn yes, competitive yes, with a very strong with to win. Honda is not doing this for fun or as a research exercise, they’re in it to win it. That I know for sure. Will they? Time will tell….. The relationship between McLaren and Honda can vastly be improved in my opinion. Kaeru-san needs to go. My dream…..a WCC for Williams Honda in 2019.
Last edited by Wazari on Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
If you can make the opposition flinch, you have already won.