McLaren-Honda refuses to rest

Given the dominance of the Mercedes Formula 1 team this season, it seems that everyone is competing for second place.

McLaren-Honda refuses to rest

While Ferrari and Red Bull Racing are putting up a good fight – pretty much slugging it out with each other – the rest of the teams are doing their best to simply play catch up.

One such team is powerhouse McLaren-Honda. On the surface, the team should be an absolute beast. Honda is the biggest engine manufacturer in the world, and their engines have literally driven hundreds of racecars to the top of the podium since the mid-1960s. McLaren has won 182 Grand Prix races since Bruce McLaren’s debut in 1966, and the team has gone on to win 20 world championships. 

And then there are the drivers – we’re talking enormous pedigree here. Jenson Button is a Formula 1 World Champion, winning it all in 2009. And with the Mercedes-powered McLaren, Button was ranked second in the driver’s standings in 2011. Teammate Fernando Alonso is a double world champion, having taken home the title in 2005 and then again in 2006. 

If any team seems poised for a championship, it should be this one. 

But if you look at the points, things aren’t so rosy. And even in public statements to the media, it seems that no one on the team is looking forward to a victory anytime soon. Yet everyone at McLaren-Honda still feels joyous and hopeful. 

It seems that a lot of the issues stem from the new Honda powertrain. Introduced in 2015, this new engine seems to be the thing that is keeping everyone from reaching their true potential. As with any high-profile Formula 1 engine, technical issues are a simple fact of life, and the Honda team is playing catch-up to established players like Mercedes and Ferrari. 

But if ever there was a team dedicated to being the best, it’s McLaren-Honda. While Honda is busy working out the kinks in the engine, McLaren has been diligently dialing in their chassis, with the team reporting that both drivers are always happy with how the cars handle. 

And Honda is equally ambitious. Under the watchful eye of new Formula One boss, Yusuke Hasegawa, the engineers keep finding ways to extract reliable power from the 6-cylinder power unit. Earlier in the year, Alonso was saying that the revisions to the car would be so extensive, by Barcelona it would practically be a new car. The teams strongest finish to date in Monaco proves that this team will never stop improving.

It will be interesting to see how continued development on the cars will affect the McLaren-Honda team as the season progresses. One thing that won’t change would be the sleek, black-white-and-red livery. If you’re a fan of the team, this highly detailed 1:18 replica of Fernando Alonso’s 2016 car is a must-have item. Constructed by the artisans at Minichamps, this is a technically accurate scale model of this truly impressive car. And when the McLaren-Honda team gets back on top again, you can point at this model and say that you were always a fan from way back when. 

The car itself will be available near end of 2016, but you can score your own by clicking here.

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