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McLaren and Honda: Is a split looming?

2015-06-09 09:22

BREAK UP ON THE CARDS? McLaren's engine supplier Honda is facing pressure from the team over race results. Drivers Fernando Alonso (pictured) and Jenson Button remain without points. Image:AFP / Lluis Gene

LONDON, England - McLaren has offered to help works engine partner Honda to end the Formula 1 team's current crisis "before it becomes embarrassing".

Team figures have put a brave and united face on the struggles so far in the 2015 Formula 1 series but Canada was a particularly bad weekend marred by performance, fuel consumption and reliability problems.

FRUSTRATED DRIVERS

Alonso, who left Ferrari at the end of 2014, hasn’t scored a point from the seven races so far in 2015 as McLaren struggles to get to grips with a misfiring Honda power unit.

Driver Fernando Alonso showed the first signs of frustration during the race and turned to gallows humour as he posted an upside-down photo of the timing screen.

"Depends upon how you look at it," read the caption to the photograph, which when seen upside-down showed Alonso and Jenson Button at the very 'top'.

Button responded to his teammate on Twitter:"I'm still not happy mate as you're in front!! This will happen one day... #BelieveInMcLarenHonda."

As the season progresses, it is becoming harder for McLaren and Honda to justify the struggle, so the first public sign that McLaren sees Honda as the main problem is now emerging.

HONDA IS THE PROBLEM

Team boss Eric Boullier said: "I guess it's not embarrassing now because they are new into the programme but it's a question of how fast they will recover. It's hard not to blame.

"It's a management exercise and we don't want to be like Renault and Red Bull, fighting in the media.  There is no sense in that."

Instead, Boullier said McLaren was keen for Honda to find ways to speed up. "Of course it is easy to blame the partner," he said, "but as a partner we also have to be supportive. We need to help them to accelerate this recovery time.

"To be fair, they decided to join F1 two years ago and it is not easy to be here and win (immediately).  We just need to make sure we are properly equipped to do it. When you want to catch up, basically you have to put more resources in the programme.

"If you want to do it short-term, you need more-experienced resources."

Boullier said McLaren was willing to help with that. "We have some software, IT, whatever, and we have this experience at home It's important that Honda recovers."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.


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