Ron Dennis about Honda: “Power unit isn’t yet the best, but it will be”




Talking to c reporters, the boss of McLaren team, Ron Dennis cleared the air behind their partnership with Honda for power units. He also gave hope to all his fans saying that the Honda powered c cars will soon be back fighting for the top spot on the grid.

Ron Dennis McLaren Team Principal - Formula One World Championship

Ron Dennis McLaren Team Principal – Formula One World Championship

McLaren enjoyed great success with their partnership with Mercedes Benz providing them the power units for many years. The combination saw legends like Mika Hakkinen and the relatively recent Lewis Hamilton, becoming world champions. They were consistently within the top three teams throughout most of the seasons. However the partnership came to an abrupt end this season, with McLaren opting for partnering with an ‘old friend’, Honda.

Explaining the fallout between McLaren and Mercedes Benz, Ron Dennis said, “The fact is that a team does not tend to enjoy the same level of success when its status is downgraded from power unit partner to power unit customer”. With Honda, McLaren are recognized as power unit partners while with Mercedes Benz they won’t have been. The apparent downgrading of the venture by Mercedes Benz led to the end of their partnership with McLaren.

Ron Dennis is very impressed with the Japanese engine makers. Honda makes almost all the different types of engines starting from one cylinder all the way to eight cylinders; with a displacement of as little as 25cc to the other end of the scale with fast V8s more than 4.0 Litres capacity. Ron Dennis said, “When it comes to power unit design and manufacturing, Honda leads the way- globally. Their managers and engineers know their Formula One power unit isn’t yet the best, but it will be”.

McLaren have had a tough season so far but have been seen making progress steadily. Poor pre-season testing led them to very miserable start at Australia. The cars were way off the race pace set by the two Mercedes however they managed to bring one of the cars to the finish. The priority has been to gather information and telemetry data for further analysis. Reliability was a major concern and it had to be addressed by the team first before they could tune the engine to go any faster. In Malaysia, there were signs of improvement in terms of time but reliability was still a big issue with the cars failing to finish the race. In the third race at China, the team managed to bring both the cars to the finish for the first time this season. It was a big step up in terms of reliability for the team. In Bahrain, Jenson’s car faced major technical problems which saw him unable to complete a single lap, neither during qualifying nor in the main race while Alonso just missed out of a championship point by one position.

Ron Dennis insisted that the development was going in the right direction and despite the odd hick-ups in the races the general curve of the performance will be upward. Dennis added that it was no accident that the team has started to perform well rather it was the result of a huge amount of diligent work up in by the large number of experienced people in the UK and Japan working together. Dennis said, “McLaren-Honda will see the fruits of all that effort. Mark my words! We will win together and when we do so we will do so dominantly”.

Talking about the drivers, Ron Dennis said that his team has the best driver line up currently on the grid, with two world champions, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Between the two drivers, they share 507 Grand Prix starts and have won 47 of them. He even went on to say that their third driver Kevin Magnussen, is probably the best reserve driver. Alonso is currently bound by a three year contract with McLaren so he really has no option for now even through reports suggest that a world champion should not be racing amongst the back markers.

McLaren have a glorious racing history with 12 driver’s championships and 8 world constructor’s championships in the bag. Current season is not one of the best for the team in its history. Ron Dennis said that he understands that the team have a mountain to climb which are already scaling. However, he refrained from putting a timeframe on that prediction because according to him it would be ‘foolhardy’. Ron Dennis said that he still is excited about the championship titles that are in store in the recent future for the team.

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Anjan K Merkap

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