After announcing two years ago that they would return to Formula 1 as an engine supplier, Honda is now gearing up for the 2015 season with their new constructor partner, McLaren. Though the last race of the season is not until this weekend, Formula 1 regulations allowed teams to test their cars for next season under the auspices of filming, albeit with demonstration tires.
McLaren didn’t waste any time testing next year’s version of their car, fitted with the Honda power unit. As of yet, we don’t know much about the Honda power unit, beyond a few disparate details gleaned form several photos which have been released so far.
One technical aspect which is visible from the promotional photographs we have seen, is that the Honda power unit will not employ the revered Mercedes “split turbo;” which separates the turbine and the compressor, allowing for a series of advantages. Instead, the Honda unit situates all turbocharger components at the back of the engine. Honda’s turbocharger also looks comparatively small in relation to those employed by other manufacturers. Again, these assumptions are only made pursuant to the early promotional photos from Honda; the design may have undergone substantial development and alteration since then.
Only allowed by regulation to drive the new car a set distance under set specifications, McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey demonstrated a very limited cadre of the car’s capabilities. What people are perhaps more interested in than the brand new, 750 horsepower Honda power unit though, is who will be driving it the car that employs it.
Most are speculating that the McLaren team will sack former Driver’ World Champion Jenson Button and replace him with Fernando Alonso, in one of the more lucrative contracts in the sport today.