Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

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mrluke
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Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by mrluke » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:03 pm

mrluke wrote:I'll go one better, ill start a new thread and go through all races this year with rbr vs Manor as an indicator on power vs chassis and see how that sits :)
As promised and with a mild delay I am starting this topic as somewhere to discuss the validity of the perception that Mclaren have a great "chassis" which is being held back by a "poor" Honda power unit.

For the avoidance of doubt my personal view is that Mclaren have a fairly average "chassis" and the Honda power unit is also fairly average, it doesn't match Mercedes but it is there or thereabouts with the Renault and last years Ferrari.

With that aside as much as possible I would like this thread to be backed by data. The data is always going to be somewhat lacking as this is F1 afterall but lets at least make the effort to ensure any claims are reflective of reality rather than just repeating what the F1 media or Mclaren's PR machine have pumped out.


I have gone through all of the races to date and pulled out the best qualifying time set by Mercedes, RBR, Mclaren and Manor to try and make some objective assessments. Both Austria and Hungary were affected by rain. Here is an image of the data, if there are any errors please shout.

Image

I have then converted this into a % difference between the teams best qualy lap and the overall pole lap and plotted it on the graph below.

Image

On the above I would draw particular attention to China, Russia, Monaco, Canada. Hungary, Belgium and Italy where we can see a suggestion of an inverse relationship between tracks that RBR do well at (vs Mercedes) and tracks that Mclaren do best at (vs Mercedes). The British GP seemed to be a particularly poor track for Mclaren.

The below is an overlay of RBRs performance against Mercedes, and Mclaren's performance against RBR.

Image

It further reinforces that Mclaren's best performances tend to be where RBR are at their worst and vice versa. However it does normalize out Britain and suggest that instead this is a track that really plays to the strengths of Mercedes.

The claims for both Mclaren and RBR are the same, a great "chassis" produced by the teams, hindered by an under performing power unit.

Judging by the performances of both teams over the last 5 years, one team has a history of building great chassis, the other team not so much.

The data should show that Mclaren and RBR share strengths and weaknesses but instead it appears to suggest the opposite.

I was going to try and use Manor as a control to try to evaluate which tracks are power tracks and which are chassis tracks but Manor's performances, particularly at the start of the season, have not been consistent enough to provide a valid baseline.

Sorry for the wall of text but to finish with another bold prediction based on data, I do not expect Mclaren to do as well at Singapore as they have at Belgium and Italy.

daren_p
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by daren_p » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 pm

mrluke wrote:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... rmat=image

On the above I would draw particular attention to China, Russia, Monaco, Canada. Hungary, Belgium and Italy where we can see a suggestion of an inverse relationship between tracks that RBR do well at (vs Mercedes) and tracks that Mclaren do best at (vs Mercedes). The British GP seemed to be a particularly poor track for Mclaren.
Interesting graph, but unless I am miss understanding something, to me it appears the general trend is that both RBR &MCH in general tend to follow each other? You mention several specific races where the data of the two teams is "inverse", the Major ones according to the chart to me would be China, Russia, Monoco. In Monoco MCH had problems getting their tires to work, which is a big factor especially on that track. In Russia Redbull said they had issues with their setup & were surprised how slow they were but weren't able to get the setup right. Then in China I seem to recall a yellow flag & neither MCH's were able to complete their "fast lap", so data isn't valid.

If you remove these three cases, the data between RBR & MCH seem to follow the same general trend. You would also have to account for each team having P/U updates at different times.

Honda themselves have said their behind everyone, including Renault. As for the 2015 Ferrari PU, they are probably in the ballpark & quite possibly a head of it now.

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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by Jolle » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:59 pm

I think with just one Honda team and one (real) Renault team a comparison of cassis vs PU is almost impossible, especially when the graphs don't really give a divinity conclusion (also: in Baku and Belgium the Mercedes wasn't really pushed to the limit because they was only one car)

SameSame
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by SameSame » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:41 am

So just that I'm understanding this correctly… Hungary they qualify P7, Spa they qualify P9 and Monza they qualify P13; yet you predict they will do worse in Singapore than they did in Monza? :wtf:

I think at least one more Honda team is needed before any real comparisons can be made. The continuous evolution of both chassis and PU also makes historical data irrelevant to some degree.

Edit: I highly doubt the Williams and Haas will out qualify them in Singapore. The chassis is definitely not the best, but to say they perform better at power tracks is not true.

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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by DiogoBrand » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:59 am

Unfortunately I don't see a bright future for this thread. While it might be the stage of an interesting discussion, it's most likely to become a showcase for fanboyism.

My take: The difference in time from McLaren to Red Bull in Azerbaijan and Italy has been smaller than the difference in Monaco and Hungary, but that doesn't mean the car has a chassis deficit rather than a power deficit. It means that faster circuit are better at equalizing car performances than the slower ones.
If you look at the difference in positions, on the other hand, McLaren has both qualified better as well as gotten better finishing places at the slower circuits. To me that means what most people think it's obvious: The chassis has a fair way to go to compete at the top, but the main problem of the package is definitely the Power Unit.
If it's down to consumption, as everyone says, I'm not sure, since they a lot of times perform better during the races than in qualifying, but one way or the other the power unit is the weakest link of the package.

Anyway, I don't see the point of arguing about this over and over again. The power unit has come a long way since last season, and I believe that by now Honda has already figured what they need to get close to the top. With next season's regulations I doubt that Power will be a problem for McLaren.

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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by godlameroso » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:59 am

I'm sure they'll improve again, and the power unit may even close the gap, but I don't think they'll be ahead of Mercedes, they may be at the level of the other two, but Mercedes just has more refinements up its sleeve than everyone else. Where they can make improvements is in the mapping of the power delivery, and under braking, as well as energy management. The power unit can always be better integrated into the chassis and power train. I'm sure they've learned their lesson, and maybe McLaren has learned the chassis magic that the top 3 have but are still developing it. Could be why they've been so aggressive with chassis development this year. I think last year was atrocious this year is pretty good for a "testing" year, next year there's no excuse for not being in the ball park at least by the end of next season. But who knows they may end up like Renault and end up going backwards next year.
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by hollus » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:20 am

A flaw im the comparison: if you take the Red Bull and remove 50 hp from it, they would probably have to adapt to reduce drag. It is plausible to think that they would flatten the rear wing and remove most of the rake. And thus they might start to look worse in downforce circuits while looking OK in power ones, but the chassis is the same!
So this type of data is bound to mix chassis quality with setup compromises anyways.
Comparisons between teams with similar engines are needed, but how to tell if the Honda is similar to anything!
By the way, in the 20 year special issue of F1Racing magazine, in the middle of an interview, a Mercedes representative said that they have 950 horses to which a Force India representative replied that they only have 920. So maybe even the comparison between equal power units would be flawed.
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by hollus » Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:23 am

Wouldn't the almost constant gap between McLaren and Red Bull in the last 8 races (second graph) argue for a very similar chassis/engine split for both teams? As in McLaren having a slightly worse PU and slightly worse chassis than Red Bull? That would still be a good chassis - bad PU scenario, wouldn't it?
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Joseki
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by Joseki » Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:52 am

I trust Hasegawa when he said their PU is still underpowered and no team want it, and also he said yesterday that they are still behind Renault by a margin.
And I also don't think Jenson and Fernando would constantly lie about what is the weakest part in the package, especially since Fernando always say what he want to say, he said a lot of bad things about Ferrari, and we all know how Ferrari feels about it.

mrluke
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by mrluke » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:15 pm

Thank you to those that have responded so far, I am hearing a few themes.

1. There is not enough information to make any kind of judgement.
2. At some races the grid is much closer together than at other races, this could be distorting the charts / conclusions
3. Its very difficult to separate Power unit and Chassis, even on "power" circuits chassis has an impact.

I am going to discount Nr 1, while I agree that it would be great to have more information I think the sample size is large enough to look for overall trends and themes.

I have given some thought to points 2 and 3 and tried to come up with an alternative way of looking at the information.

In 2014 Mclaren had the best Power Unit on the grid. In 2015 they had the worst PU. In 2016 we are not sure how much improvement has been made and from where.

I have gone back through the 2014 and 2015 seasons and pulled out Mclaren's qualifying times for the races that we have completed in 2016. I have deleted European and German GP from the comparison as they were not run in the previous years. Comparing Mclaren's performance to the Pole time from each race gives the below chart.

Image

Australia can be discounted really, 2014 was wet, 2015 was the first race with the Honda PU.

Taking the next 3 rounds, Bahrain, China and Russia we can conclude that either the Honda PU was no better in 2016 than it was in 2015, OR the improvements they have made had no real impact on these circuits.

Spain there had been a step forward, could this be explained by a better chassis? Perhaps but only if we argued that the 15 car was worse than the 14 car "in the corners"

Mclaren's performance at Monaco, Canada and Britain appears to be pretty consistent regardless of PU, suggesting this is a poor track for their car philosophy.

Hungary is the first time Mclaren have qualified closer to Pole with a Honda engine than they did with a Merc PU and although the same is true for Belgium, qualifying was wet in 2014.

Taking all of the above into account it occurred to me that we could take the Mclaren 2014 performance as a baseline for the chassis deficit between Mclaren and Mercedes. Yes I know there are the claims that Mclaren had an inferior unit and I will return to this later.

Using 2014 as a baseline the below chart shows where Mclaren Honda are performing better (vs pole) than Mclaren Mercedes, and where the reverse is true.

Image

Again, we will discount Australia and we know that Belgium has been distorted by rain.

What stands out to me the most is that there is essentially only a single track (hungary 2016) where Mclaren Honda have gained performance relative to Mclaren Mercedes. I would have expected there would be a good proportion of tracks where the improved Mclaren chassis would be overcoming the power deficit. But instead what we see for the majority of tracks is that relative to pole, Mclaren Honda 2016 are not performing any better than Mclaren Honda 2015 and we know for a fact that the PU has improved over the intervening 12 months.

Last year it was claimed in places that Mclaren Honda were at a power deficit of between 100-200bhp, this year the claims appear to be closer to a 50bhp defict, yet in 7/10 races this gain of ~100bhp has not really improved their performance (Bah, Chi, Rus, Mon, Can, Bri, Ita).

In the majority of races Mclaren Honda are now performing as well vs Pole as Mclaren Mercedes were.

If we return to the claim that the 2014 Mclaren Mercedes had an inferior PU to the works team, and we said that this deficit was maybe up to 50bhp, we would find ourselves in the position that for 7/10 races the 2016 Mclaren Honda performed almost exactly the same as a Mclaren Mercedes with a 50bhp deficit to the best PU on the grid, with a chassis that was closer to Force India than Red Bull.

Is there a way to interpret this data to show that the lap time deficit is mostly down to the Honda PU? Every way I try to cut it, it shows this not to be the case, I am open to test out peoples suggestions. It is very easy to muddle it up enough to say that it is inconclusive, but in the same way that the above strongly suggests an inherent chassis / aero problem, can we pull anything together that disproves this (based on data not PR)?

SameSame
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by SameSame » Sat Sep 10, 2016 4:17 pm

mrluke wrote:But instead what we see for the majority of tracks is that relative to pole, Mclaren Honda 2016 are not performing any better than Mclaren Honda 2015 and we know for a fact that the PU has improved over the intervening 12 months.
Using the pole time for each event is a poor idea given that 90% of poles have been taken by Merc. Look at how they fare relative to other rivals. Merc has done an outstanding job of improving year on year by huge margins, but if you look how they have caught up to Williams, FI and Torro Rosso then clearly they are performing better in 2016 than in 2015. Points scored so far, Q3 appearances and constructors standing confirm this.

Look at their performance relative to Williams, FI and Torro Rosso. On the power tracks Williams and FI break away from McLaren and Torro Rosso, but on the less power sensitive tracks McLaren seems to come back.

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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by PlatinumZealot » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:19 pm

Mclaren is tied third best chassis with ferrari IMO.
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by NL_Fer » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:41 am

I don't think there are enough tracks what are really "engine" or "chassis" tracks. Even a chassis track like Monaco requires allot of power from the tunnel to casino, because of the high maximum downforce they run there.

Maybe you can compare sector times. Although in Baku Redbull compensated it's downforce for the long straight and this made them look bad in the twisty part and still not fast on the straight.

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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by Andres125sx » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:23 am

I think comparisons have a problem, they´re not analysing McHonda perfomance to a steady reference, so the relative improvement of McHonda is dependant on Mercedes improvement

Also, as Hollus stated, a poor PU does not compromise chassis too much (no reduction in DF to compensate), but a very poor PU does. Take RBR as an example, past season they looked lost while this one they are the only alternative for some lucky victory, and I think we all agree their chassis have always been the best of close to the best.


So I´m not sure of the utility of this analysis, but even so I read it carefully and appreciatte the effort =D>

Joseki
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Re: Mclaren Chassis Vs Honda Power Unit

Post by Joseki » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:16 am

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.ph ... 1473543398
When asked about the relative gaps to Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda, Taffin said: "We still have a small way to go to Ferrari.

"I guess Ferrari is halfway to the gap we have got to Mercedes.

"Honda are catching but they are quite a way behind us."