McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale says that the team is delighted that Honda’s 2015 engine is already running on the dyno – but cautioned that there is still a long way to go to create a competitive package.
Honda released audio of its new engine earlier this week.
“It is exciting. It’s always good when you hear a new engine fire up. It’s a great moment for the whole organization, and a moment of satisfaction for everybody,” said Neale. “Honda moved heaven and earth to be able to get the first engine built, constructed and running. It’s a bit like – dare I use the metaphor of pregnancy – you focus on the first nine months and then you realize that it’s only then that the hard work starts.
“While we have something that’s running we’re under no illusion how much work we have to do together to be able to develop a competitive power unit in terms of the engine, the ERS system, the battery technology, and all of the systems that go round that. Particularly for us as McLaren, doing it twice in two years is a fairly ambitious project. But we’re really excited about that.
“However, at this time of year, with only some frightening number of weeks to go to the end of this year, all hands at the moment are focused on working with Mercedes and the integration of that engine and the development of our fuel and lube program with Exxon Mobil so that we’re able to put a high-performance package on the deck, and a reliable one, for the start of next year.”
Meanwhile, on the subject of Peter Prodromou, Neale said it was unlikely that Red Bull would be very keen to release its current head of aero early.
“Peter’s a great guy and he’s an important part of their operation,” Neale said. “I can’t see any incentive for Red Bull to release him early. We’d be very happy to have him starting here tomorrow morning! But we do fully respect Red Bull’s position as we do when recruiting anybody from another organization.
“They know that, we understand the position with Red Bull, and we fully respect Christian’s position. Who knows what will happen over the course of a year, but it’s entirely at Red Bull’s gift; it’s for them to decide. It’s not for us, not for McLaren to decide that.”