Honda's F1 struggles similar to Jaguar's - McLaren

McLaren boss Zak Brown has compared Honda's recent struggles in Formula 1 to the difficulties Jaguar faced during its failed F1 programme of the early 2000s.

Honda's F1 struggles similar to Jaguar's - McLaren
Mark Webber drives the new Jaguar R4 during a shakedown test at Ford's Proving Ground in Lommel, Belgium
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group
Mark Webber tests the new Jaguar R5
Yusuke Hasegawa, Head of Honda Motorsport
 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, is attended to by mechanics in the pit lane
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group

McLaren has split with Honda for the 2018 F1 season, after three years of disappointing progress and persistent lack of results.

Honda was accused of being too insular during its partnership with McLaren, and too slow to embrace existing F1 experience to accelerate the engine's development.

Speaking on stage at the launch of Autosport International 2018, Brown said there were "a lot of little reasons" Honda didn't get things right with McLaren, focusing particularly on the F1 culture Honda struggled to accept.

Brown said this was similar to when Jaguar came into F1 at the turn of the millennium and overly-focused on overseeing its operation from the United States.

"Eric [Boullier, McLaren racing director] spoke earlier in the year about how there's a certain way you have to operate in Formula 1 – a Formula 1 culture, and I think that's something they [Honda] now recognise," Brown explained.

"You kind of saw the same thing with Jaguar, when they came in. They kind of did it the corporate way.

"If you look at Mercedes, they're not based in Germany – the race team's in England, the engine facility is in England; Renault is split between England and France.

"I think maybe some more Formula 1 experience, direct experience, is probably what they [Honda] were lacking most.

"It certainly wasn't effort, resources - the facility is great, and I think they'll get it right. It's more a ways of working. I think they'll get there, but three years was as long as we could wait."

Brown said McLaren has "a lot of confidence" in new engine partner Renault, despite the persistent reliability problems that afflicted its engine last season.

"They've got the power," Brown said. "They've got some reliability issues when they turn the power up.

"Mexico was a setting issue, but Max [Verstappen] did win the race in pretty dominant fashion, so they've got a fast engine.

"I actually think the top three [engines] are pretty close, and have all won races last year, so there's clearly not that big of a deficit between those three.

"We have some areas we can improve, we're not perfect, but the lack of power was the single biggest area of weakness, so I think when we get the Renault in the back we should see a substantial difference in Australia.

"We're happy with our working relationship with Renault, and we should hopefully get back to where people are used to seeing McLaren at the front of the field."

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