McLaren piles more pressure on Honda but will it work?

Eric Bouiller has today placed even more pressure on the increasingly strained relationship between McLaren and Power Unit supplier Honda by claiming that the Japanese company needs to embrace F1’s culture. 

The week started with the Woking-based squad making tentative enquiries to former supplier Mercedes about a possible future deal, although in all likelehood this was intended to serve as nothing more than a catalyst for change at Honda. The current deal has seven years remaining and any divorce could prove costly at around $100m.

In an interview with Autosport on Wednesday, Eric Bouiller laid out what he feels is the solution.

“They only need one thing, which is to understand and integrate the F1 racing culture,

Following the initial headline quote he proceded to go into spell out the situation to Honda which may not go down too well with a company that has a rich history in the sport. It renains to be seen what effect these potentially inflammatory comments will have heading into the season.

“What I mean by that is: the way we behave in racing and Formula 1 is all driven by a calendar, by some fixed targets, fixed dates, lap time gains; we always try to go to the best solution as fast as possible.

“Where a car manufacturer is running a project, you can have a few weeks delay and it’s not going to change the product, it’s not going to change the business model”.

“In racing, if you don’t bring your upgrade for race one, in race one you will be nowhere.

“That is this racing mentality. It’s as far as going to suppliers and making sure that if they do something in one month, the next time they do it in three weeks, and from three weeks to two weeks”.

The Frenchman is right. The Formula One season albeit with twenty races is time limited and as dawn breaks on a new era, the teams are in for an intense arms race to succeed in this results-driven world. Formula One is unforgiving and McLaren have their backs against the wall at Albert Park.

“In racing, if you don’t bring your upgrade for race one, in race one you will be nowhere.

“That is this racing mentality. It’s as far as going to suppliers and making sure that if they do something in one month, the next time they do it in three weeks, and from three weeks to two weeks.

Bouiller even went as far as referring to Mercedes when explaining that Honda keeping its base of operations in Japan could be a contributing factor.

“This is why Mercedes is based in England, and I guess they benefit from the supply chain, from people with experience of F1,” 

McLaren are widely tipped to be scrapping with Sauber to avoid propping up the grid in Australia and the above comments from Bouiller only further intensify criticism from star driver Fernando Alonso.

Only time will tell how Honda interpret and react to these comments. Are they a middle finger or an encouraging jab in the chest? 

One thing is certain and that the comments demonstrate just how desperate the situation is, even before a wheel has turned in anger.

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