It’s no big secret that McLaren’s lack of performance in the past few season’s is down to the Honda side of the partnership. The power-unit made a significant step forward last season after the awful year the team endured the season before. Could imitating Mercedes’ solution help the team take another step forward in 2017?
Mercedes dominantly won the hybrid era between 2014 and 2016, but the new aero focus gives a small chance for other teams to catch up and another long winter to close the gap in the power-unit department too – Although it isn’t feasible to assume that Mercedes will be sitting on their laurels throughout the winter, they’ll more than likely step forward too.
The team will layout their engine in a similar fashion to Mercedes by placing the compressor at one end of the engine and the turbo at the other. These two elements of the turbocharging system will be connected via a connecting shaft that runs along the V-bank. The team are also expected to borrow from Ferrari with a multi-jet injector system designed to spray fuel inside the combustion chamber.
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Before christmas, McLaren Race Director and perpetual anonymity organism Eric Boullier said,
“The gap has closed, but to get where Mercedes is, you can’t just copy and paste. You can’t do it in three months or six months but in a few years.”
– Eric Boullier
Whilst Honda are extracting elements from other team’s solutions, their 2017 package is set to be a hybrid of hybrid engines. Hybridception, a hybrid within a hybrid. McLaren-Honda’s Technical Director Tim Goss added,
“This season’s changes rank as some of the most significant we’ve ever had in the sport. That’s likely to change the competition order – because it’s such a big disturbance.
Historically, that has changed the order – but then what normally happens is that the best, and most well-equipped, teams tend to rise to the top again.”
– Tim Goss
With Alonso’s patience wearing thin and Stoffel Vandoorne arriving in 2017 with a full time seat, the package beneath each of these drivers needs to be competitive, otherwise Alonso will retire or look elsewhere and Vandoorne will struggle to fulfil his potential.