With just 3 championship points in 9 races this season, McLaren-Honda are very far from replicating their ultra-successful partnership of the late 80s and early 90s.
Even though Honda’s turbocharged V6 hybrid unit has been unreliable as well as slow, Yasuhisa Arai (Honda motorsport boss) said that he won’t be looking to hire any engineers from their rival manufacturers.
He was quoted as saying “I don’t think so. We have enough resources already,” when asked if Honda will hire experienced Mercedes or Ferrari engineers.
He later added that “I want to lead my program by myself,” and promised that Honda considers their F1 alliance with McLaren a long-term project.
Is it just us or does that statement seem a little bit stubborn? It’s not that we’re doubting Honda’s technical abilities, it’s just that they’re obviously going through growing pains and a couple of different sets of experienced eyes could go a long way to helping them get back to being title contenders in the next couple of years.
The timetable for success is a very uncertain one right now, especially since the last time McLaren won a Formula 1 race was during the final GP of 2012. Their brand has also taken a hit with no title sponsor coming forward since Vodafone pulled out at the end of 2013.
“The damage is obviously easy to understand,” said racing director Eric Boullier. “You establish a brand by your success and repeated success. I think McLaren, by the number of wins and championships, has clearly established a brand of excellence. Commercially it has hurt, because a lot of people – a lot of companies – are interested in joining us, but some people in their organisations may question the lack of results.”
In time, a main sponsor will probably surface. Perhaps even before the team starts seeing better results. But as of right now, we expect their struggles to continue at least until the end of the season.
Story references: autosport