Sunday, March 15, 2015

Boredom & Surprise (2015 Australian GP)

2015 McLaren-Honda: so far, "not with a bang, but with a ffsssssttttt."

Mercedes ran off and hid from the rest of the field, taking up where they left off as 2014 Champions--except by an even bigger margin.  Lewis Hamilton came close to lapping the 5th place car.  Ho, hum...

But Ferrari appears to have something for Williams to think about, and a much more driveable car for Vettel and Raikkonen.  Even the Ferrari-engined Sauber had pace.  The TV presenters said Ferrari has found 80 more horsepower.  How is that possible?  Even Lotus had pace, with Romain Grosjean toward the sharp end of the starting grid, until the team imploded (again) with various mishaps.  So the race for "best of the rest" will be interesting this year.

The astonishing news, for me, was that the Honda power train in the McLaren has way sketchy reliability.  Jensen Button's last-place finish was a result of the longest time the Honda has been able to run to date.  The TV presenters said the problems center around overheating and the KERS system, which is blowing seals, and which result from tight packaging of the power train.  It's a giant heat sink (well... as giant as any components in F-1 get...).

Well... OK...  But Honda's specialty is engineering, especially engines and power trains.  Everybody had problems with power trains and KERS last year.  Honda had a year to watch and learn.  I expected much more from them: fast and reliable out-of-the-box.  Oh, well... it's fun to root for underdogs and I'm a Honda Fan in the First Degree.  Also, Jensen Button was retained for 2015 after very shabby treatment about his contract by McLaren at the end of last season.  I smell Honda's influence there (Jensen still has a ride) and am a big Fernando Alonso fan as well.  So there is plenty of reason to watch the races this year.  I just hope McLaren-Honda doesn't turn out to be the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Browns of F-1.

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