Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2015

Honda must raise its game for 2016 – Button

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Jenson Button says Honda must make significant gains with its power unit for 2016 but believes the Japanese manufacturer knows where it can improve.

The McLaren driver, whose plans for next season have not yet been confirmed, said F1’s development restrictions prevent Honda from making progress any sooner.

“There’s a massive amount that the team can change for next year,” said Button. “It’s not possible to change the things that we want to change during this season so I think as soon as we step into next year that’s when you’ll know if the package is going to make a good leap forward.”

“And it has to because both of us I think are finding it tough as drivers.”

Button’s team mate Fernando Alonso criticised Honda’s engine on the radio during the race and said afterwards it was “embarrassing” to be overtaken so easily because of their lack of pace.

“The whole team are finding it tough,” said Button. “But we’ve all got to sit down and look at what’s coming. I think it is very positive. It’s going to hurt for the rest of the season, especially in front of Honda’s home crowd here.”

Button finished 16th in today’s race after falling behind Marcus Ericsson at the end of his second stint.

“The first two stints were alright, we were at least racing cars,” said Button. “I think most of them were just being held up by us.”

“And then Ericsson got past me in the last pit stop which messed up our race really because I was quicker: I had a better tyre, I was on the [medium], he was on the [hard]. But I can’t overtake him.”

“So I can see Fernando in front and we seem to be closing on Fernando and then as soon as all the other cars come out of the pits and start chasing me down I can’t do anything to keep them behind because they’re so much faster than me on the straights. If I’d had the buffer of Ericsson behind I’d’ve been fine, but I didn’t.”

“Every lap someone’s coming past and I’m getting lapped and you end up just getting further and further back. When you’re in the position we’re in it’s always difficult. In front of the home crowd we wanted to do something special here which is always going to be difficult but we’re doing our best. Got to keep our heads down, got to keep focused but a tough weekend for the whole team, especially Honda.”

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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Posted on Categories 2015 F1 season, 2015 Japanese Grand Prix, Jenson Button

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  • 36 comments on “Honda must raise its game for 2016 – Button”

    1. Jenson Button says Honda must make significant gains with its power unit for 2016 but believes the Japanese manufacturer knows where it can improve.

      It’s time to call it a day for the team. How much longer are they going to say this? The engine is terrible, McLaren chassis isn’t superb either. Drivers are getting too old to be motivated enough to carry these much bad races. Honda might know where to improve but they simply can’t because of the rules hence they will not be better for the forseeable future. It is a project failed and it will fail again next year. Honda, like Nissan in the WEC, have made a huge mistake in thinking this was an easy job.

      Jenson and Alonso should end their F1 careers on this, they both have proven enough and now is the time when they can achieve things in other series, not within 3-4 years. Let Honda and McLaren struggle with youngsters who would commit murder to drive the worst McLaren since the existance of the team.

      1. How much longer are they going to say this?

        At least until the end of 2016. Both are confirm to race on McLaren next year.

      2. Don’t worry, Merc will offer help to Honda as they are doing to Renault

      3. “It is a project failed and it will fail again next year. Honda, like Nissan in the WEC, have made a huge mistake in thinking this was an easy job.”
        At least Nissan knows that & decides to doing more testing instead of racing. And LMP1 allows innovations.

    2. Honda & McLaren should quit F1 and give FIA something to think about this ridiculous Engine Freeze/Development rule.

      1. By that logic, Renault should pull out of F1 as well. Which would explain why they’re looking to increase their involvement and rebuy the Lotus team.

      2. Why can’t the FIA just say “whoopsie!” and remove the whole of the regulations in the first place? Changing formulas is pretty simple… V10 to V8, fine, build a V8. done. V8 + kers? great. You can either run it or not run it. V8+kers to v6 with a completely different hybrid system?

        “You have until february to homogolate the design”.


        Honda comes in a year later, Renault has been whining, and suddenly they’re given a few measly tokens…

        First of all, the engine manufacturers NEED to spend as much as possible to build a race winning engine. I guess they figure that by forcing them to wait and do nothing that it will somehow result in “savings” for the teams…except when half of them are works teams (Red Bull, Merc, Ferrari, McLaren)

        And to echo Rons comment, it must be maddening to know you have a wind tunnel and can’t use it.

        If there were no engine development freeze, then it wouldn’t matter how much of a head start merc had. the others would be working their behinds off to catch up, not worrying about whether or not the tokens they’re about to cash in are the best “strategy”. Here’s a strategy, let them build bloody engines!

        2017 had better well bring some *interesting* changes.

        1. How exactly did Mercedes have a head start? All teams had the seem amount of time to build these engines. Mercedes were the only ones who proberly invested in the technology. Ferrari and renault tried to do it on the cheap and sacrificed engine performance for aerodynamic gains. The token system hasn’t stopped Ferrari getting closer to Mercedes. Ferrari relised that they needed to invest big and are getting even closer to Mercedes. Honda underestimated how hard these engines are to build and attempted to do it on the cheap. Although I do think Honda and renault need to be giving a chance to catch up and I hope they will receive more tokens to help.

        2. The V10s and V8s had to go through homologation too.

    3. Love this engine formula, it’s so good for F1 and FIA. Look how the entire world is giving kudos to FIA to make F1 so much greener and saving the planet. And not to forget the beeline of new manufacturers eager to make road relevant engines, which they are very good at. Look everyone is so happy ;)

      1. I agree, I can’t get over how great they sound as well drivers being told by engineers to save fuel.

        (remember just because FOM doesn’t broadcast “fuel save” messages doesn’t mean it’s not happening)

        1. @S2G-Unit, yet somehow it was OK when they had to employ fuel saving measures during the V8 era? Fuel saving is nothing new, but it seems to be a convenient point for Bernie to hypnotise people with.

          1. Back in the 80’s turbo era, they didn’t “save fuel” (negative), rather James Hunt would (positive) scream “Mansell’s reaching for the turbo boost, I’m sure we’ll see a pass soon, Murray”.

            Funny how James intuitively had the marketing spin just right, when
            in an era of “for the show” market survey-led cynicism FOM just can’t get it.

      2. You do relise they had to save fuel when driving the all so amazing really loud V8 engines? Don’t blame the FIA for Ferrari, renault and honda attempting to build these engines on the cheap and doing a half assed job.

    4. Lets face it. Ecclestone is right these engines are killing F1 racing.

      1. Yes, because it has nothing to do with shoddy tyres, too much reliance on aero, stupid gimmicks like DRS, wildly inconsistent stewarding, and the constant belittling of the sport by the very people who’s job it is to promote it.

        Face it, the engines are the least of F1’s problems. And that’s assuming they’re even a problem in the first place.

    5. Slightly on a different note, I wonder if Honda (and not only Honda, but all manufacturers) use some of their road cars to test their engines in private to make improvements. It would be a lot more difficult for FIA to control than the testing ban on the actual cars.

      1. I’ve thought about that as well. Or even putting the engine in one of GT500 cars and getting some mileage on it. Surely they can do whatever they want with those cars.

      2. @kingshark: Does Mercedes have a V6 roadcar?

        1. Yes, many, and good ones, much unlike VW, Renault, Ferrari & Honda.

          1. Merc has 4-pots, V8s and V12s; I don’t recall any V6s though.

            1. Mercedes M276 engine. It produces 306 hp and is very efficient.

      3. @kingshark Allan McNish was talking about that during P2. He said that when he was testing F1 cars in the past the teams had a test rig chasis for early development work. He confirmed that the teams aren’t allowed to put the current engines into any other chasis, even for testing or demonstration purposes.

        1. Actually honda do have a test rig chasis I belive it is a super formula car. I fully expect the rest of the teams to follow suit

      4. @kingshark If I recall correctly there was a rumor about Ferrari having tested their engine in a road car during the 2014 pre season. There even was a video, but it could just be a fake.

    6. Might spell the end of F1 should that happen as with only Hamilton and Vettel (Raikkönen going at the end of next year) with a shot at the title and the destiny of the DWC being decided by who between Vettel and Hammy has the better machinery, not many will bother with F1. Even more so since most of the seats are bought anyway, one way or the other. The main problem is that the margin for error in engineering are too slim so that unless you get it exactly spot on, you’re seconds off the pace. Go to 2.0 litre V6 turbo engines or drop all the electronic recovery gizmos and go for an engine that “anyone” can build a competitive version of!

      1. Sorry but were you not watching before 2009? It seems like people got spoilt by the so-called Red Bull dominance when more often than not we had multiple teams and multiple drivers fighting for championships and wins. I would love to see a season of Mercedes vs Ferrari: Hamilton vs Vettel. Of course with two cars being similar on pace. At least a bit closer than this..

      2. The WEC P1 Hybrid class features three entirely different powertrain solutions, and all three of them work just as well as each other.

        Don’t blame the regulations for the failures of Renault and Honda.

    7. The engine restriction was to prevent an engine from running away from the others. It was expected that they all knew what they were doing. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case and strangely the FIA didn’t for see such a scenario.
      The problem is how do you equalise the engines without giving the lagging engines an advantage or escalating costs.
      Renault perhaps from history thought they had an advantage with the new rules and must have been more than happy with restrictions, and then fell short of expectations.
      The rules are not to blame.

      1. It’s so stupid to put development restrictions starting from 1st year…

      2. Three of the top four teams (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull) all run different engines. And while Williams run Mercedes engines, Ferrari are currently faster.

        The engine does not a car make.

    8. While Honda keeps getting all the blame, Oskari Saari (commentator for the Finnish MTV) said during this weekend and last that according to a very credible source (most likely at McLaren), the car actually accounts for 70% of the deficit to Mercedes and the engine just 30%. These are totally different to the numbers announced in public after Spa and Monza (“We’re losing a few tenths in the corners and three seconds on the straights.”). And definitely today McLaren was going pretty well on the straights – at least during some parts of the race – and being very poor in the corners.

      1. spafrancorchamps
        27th September 2015, 11:34

        Fernando won half a second on others in the first sector. So no, it didn’t suck in the corners.

      2. @kaiie You believe that? I think it’s obvious for everyone to see the PU is the major problem. On non-power tracks Mclaren are closer to the midfield, at power tracks they are nowhere. Today at Suzuka Alonso was quite fast through 130R as well, indicating there is potential in the chassi.

        This does not mean Mclaren aren’t guilty of under performing as well: The chassi is maybe 4th best, which isn’t good enough if they aim for the championship, they mess up things operationally, and have bad reliability (Singapore!).

        I would totally understand if both drivers call it a day at the end of the year and say farewell to the team and the sport. Mclaren isn’t backing up their claims and promises, they are not on their way out of trouble: they are only about to reach rock bottom.

      3. Well he is totally wrong. Watch alonso’s car when verstappen was trying to overtake him the car look pretty good in the corners with good traction. Look at where button and alonso were getting overtaken the straights.

    9. ““It’s not possible to change the things that we want to change during this season so I think as soon as we step into next year that’s when you’ll know if the package is going to make a good leap forward.”


      hmm, interesting ;]

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