F1's Strategy Group set to discuss plan to help Honda

F1's Strategy Group set to discuss plan to help Honda
Apr 24, 2017, 10:01 AM

Formula 1's Strategy Group is set to face calls on whether it should intervene to help Honda make better progress, on the back of the Japanese manufacturer's difficult start to the 2017 season.

Oliver Turvey, McLaren MCL32
Honda and Pirelli logos on the nose of the McLaren MCL32
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Eric Boullier, Racing Director, McLaren, Jonathan Neale, Managing Director, McLaren
Yusuke Hasegawa, Senior Managing Officer, Honda
Oliver Turvey, McLaren MCL32

Honda has faced troubles with both reliability and performance this year, having failed to make the progress it had hoped to with an all-new concept for this year.

But ahead of the latest Strategy Group meeting that takes place on Tuesday, it has emerged that there will likely be discussions about the possibility of rivals approving a plan for Honda to get some assistance.

Such a move will come from both McLaren and the FIA, which made it clear last year that engine parity was a key aim for 2017. 

As part of an agreement reached between F1's car manufacturers and the FIA 12 months ago to keep the current turbo hybrid rules in place until 2020, a plan was put in place to ensure all the current engines were pretty equal on performance.

The FIA said it would analyse the potential of each power unit after the first three races of 2017 and, if the difference between them exceeded 0.3 seconds on a simulation around the Barcelona circuit, then the Strategy Group would be asked to intervene.

The FIA's engine chief Fabrice Lom said at the Spanish GP last year: "We check every car of every lap of the first three races, we take the best of each power unit for each race, and then we do the average. That should give a power unit index of performance for each power unit manufacturer.

"Then we have a translation of this index for the Barcelona track, and this is what we will do. We transform this index to lap time and check the difference in lap time to the Barcelona track."

As well as the FIA work, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that he will bring up the topic of Honda's situation himself, even though he is sceptical about the potential for any help.

"It is something that we have to raise," explained Boullier. "We are in a position today where I am not sure everyone wants us to get more performance from the power unit, but I think it will be fairer for F1 to have a level playing field.

"I am not saying helping someone to beat the best power unit, but to be within this 0.3 seconds ballpark of performance.

"I think it will fairer and good for F1. It will be more attractive for other car and engine manufacturers to join F1, and for the fans it will be much better as you will have closer racing on track.

"So it would tick all the boxes: except we are in a competitive world and I know a lot of people do not want us to deliver on that part."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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