Berger backs new Honda technical director

Published on 15 Mar 2018 11:37

Gerhard Berger thinks Honda is on track to improve in formula one. The McLaren collaboration in 2015-2017 was so bad that the British team dumped Honda, leaving the Japanese manufacturer to switch to Toro Rosso for 2018.

But winter testing results for Toro Rosso-Honda were good, and Honda also spent the winter restructuring its organisation. The Japan Times reports that F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa departed, while experienced engineer Toyoharu Tanabe was appointed as technical boss.

Former McLaren-Honda driver Gerhard Berger told Austrian Servus TV: "I had to smile when I saw my old engineer, who worked on my car for three years, as the new Honda technical director."

"He is really good, so I can imagine that with Toro Rosso, Franz Tost and the power of Red Bull behind them, they will do well. It's a good sign that Honda has been doing well in reliability," Berger added. "It's a company with a great sporting culture." (GMM)

Replies (10)
PL juju_hound 15 Mar 2018 11:440
Posts: 178
After testing it's a big confusion who was the blame about Mclaren Honda 2015-2017 reliability. We wil see soon :)
Posts: 190
I see it as Ron Dennis wanting to do too much his own way and Honda just not capable of keeping up to his micro-managing.
SE calle.itw 15 Mar 2018 17:050
Posts: 5891
I honestly dont know what more there is to see: they were both to blame.
Posts: 425
I say they were both to blame, McLaren were to blame because they demanded too much from Honda and the packaging of the PU in order to be able run their aero exactly they way they wanted. Honda on the other hand kept promising to meet their demands. It should have been a partnership where they can meet in the middle, but McLaren kept insisting on a certain architecture and Honda were unable to confess to the fact that they couldn't deliver instead they promised to do so. Now when McLaren are running the Renault PU, their design philosophy is not to their benefit, because the Renault takes up larger space at the rear. I think that's why we're seeing McLaren struggle and Toro Rosso does not. McLaren are squeezing in a larger PU in their (un-altered) design philosophy, while STR are able to put a more compact PU in their design philosophy.
Posts: 625
I think the McLaren has followed the Red Bull aero philosophy quite closely over the past 3 years and today there seems little difference at least in the upper rear bodywork area. Red Bull had big problems with the cooling here 3 years ago and McLaren, like RB before them, ended up hacking holes in the bodywork. All F1 designers like to keep this crucial area as thin as possible because it directly impacts on the airflow over the rear wing and they hate compromising. Where the design implications went really wrong for Honda was the location of the turbo & MGU-H which was far too small and constantly overheated. Once they followed (copied?) the Mercedes layout, problems diminished. It’s interesting though, what kind of engineer knowingly follows faulty logic? If Honda had even once said “No” to the ‘size zero’ concept, I can’t see how McLaren could have forced them? Definitely a 50/50 situation.
Posts: 625
PS if ‘compact’ means less weight for the same output then it’s a win, but often ‘compact’ can also mean compromises on performance especially in turbo motors where block strength is vital and strong means heavy.
SE calle.itw 16 Mar 2018 16:490
Posts: 5891
They tried and failed to follow the Red Bull philosophy. A key component to RB's designs are the flexibility: they can run low drag modes as well as high drag modes very successfully, something McLaren couldnt do even with the 2017 spec chassis, their best chassis in several years. Did Honda overpromise? Certainly with Arai, but of the two, I'd say the one overpromising were McLaren. But the relationship was wrong from the start.

As for the last point: thats the key area they had issues with with the 2015-2016 design, hence the new design for 2017.
SE calle.itw 15 Mar 2018 17:180
Posts: 5891
I dont really have any reference to Tanabe, I guess I will have to do some reading on him. BUt IMO, they should've retained Hasegawa to some extent.
US UncleElias 17 Mar 2018 21:45+1
Posts: 5
Hasegawa was brought over from the consumer production side. He still held that title as well as being given F1 responsibilities. Honda removed his F1 responsibilities and broke that job into two. They then had Hasegawa go back to being solely responsible for his prior job.

At least, that's how I understand the whole merry go round.
SE calle.itw 19 Mar 2018 17:450
Posts: 5891
Yup, thats the way it was done. I had however hoped that he'd go over to F1 fulltime, and that they'd replace him on the other side of business. But I suppose Tanabe might be equally competent.

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