The true extent of Honda’s failure to McLaren

Honda’s failure to provide McLaren with an acceptable power unit has been the bad news story of Formula 1 since they returned to the sport in 2015. Their failure to grasp the very basics of this futuristic hybrid Formula has caused a seismic shift in the fortunes of the legendary team.

But qualifying in Monaco has given us the clearest picture yet of just how bad things are for Honda. Their lack of performance so far this season is hardly news, but the team are yet to finish a race with both cars running. Reliability is becoming a real problem.

A wasted weekend

Both cars have now burned through all of their alotted power units for the season. They are set to take some substantial penalties over the remaining races. The first of which have fallen at this weekends Monaco Grand Prix.

Poor Jenson Button, who has given up his weekend to fill the space left by the dream-seeking Alonso, has an incredibly long race ahead of him as a result. The problem for Honda, though, is much more serious than a wasted Sunday.

This weekend was seen as the opportunity for McLaren to score decent points this season. It is no secret that the McLaren chassis is good. In fact, Fernando has mentioned it at every possible opportunity. Couple that with a track like Monaco, where power is virtually redundant, and the circuit matches perfectly with the McLaren package.


Both Jenson and Stoffel Vandoorne made it into Q3. McLaren were looking genuinely competitive. Admittedly, Vandoorne’s mistake cost him, his accident coupled with a grid penalty will knock him down the order. But Jenson received a penalty for changing yet another failed power unit after free practice, and so his efforts were ultimately futile.

Essentially then, Honda have wasted their teams’ opportunity to get their first points on the board. Their inability to rectify fundamental reliability troubles have cost their team a very real chance of gaining on their rivals. The fact that Sauber are the teams’ closest competitors removes the need for words.

So even when the car is good, that ‘Honda’ word keeps cropping up to deliver yet another sucker-punch. Not just for McLaren, but for the entire Formula 1 world.

(Takayuki Suzuki CC BY-SA 2.0)

(Takayuki Suzuki CC BY-SA 2.0)

Simon Ostler

I am currently training to become a Journalist. I write best when my subject is something I enjoy. I have spent time working with CAR Magazine and Parkers.

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