McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has urged Honda to change its approach towards Formula 1, suggesting that the Japanese manufacturer is currently endowed with an incompatible culture.
As from pre-season testing, the Honda power unit showcased several problems as well as a considerable lack of horsepower ahead of what is going to be its third campaign after coming back to the sport.
"They only need one thing, which is to understand and integrate the F1 racing culture," Boullier told Autosport.
Honda has recently parted ways with consultant Gilles Simon, who was reportedly “ignored” in his attempts to correct the work done in Sakura. It is no secret Honda is based on rigid principles, including the refusal of help from outsiders.
Moreover, Boullier thinks Honda needs to get a better undertstanding of the importance of schedules, by adapting its rythm to the requirements of a Formula 1 team.
"What I mean by that is: the way we behave in racing and Formula 1 is all driven by a calendar, by some fixed targets, fixed dates, lap time gains. We always try to go to the best solution as fast as possible."
"Where a car manufacturer is running a project, you can have a few weeks delay and it's not going to change the product, it's not going to change the business model.
"In racing, if you don't bring your upgrade for race one, in race one you will be nowhere."
"That is this racing mentality. It's as far as going to suppliers and making sure that if they do something in one month, the next time they do it in three weeks, and from three weeks to two weeks.
"We value more the time gained than the money spent. This is a different approach from the rest of the world."
In order to prepare for an eventual second team provision, Honda has installed a unit in Milton-Keynes. However, the engineering factory stays in Japan and this might be one of the causes that has worsened McLaren-Honda’s chances of catching up.
"This is why Mercedes is based in England, and I guess they benefit from the supply chain, from people with experience of F1," Boullier explained.
"Our suppliers maybe cost twice as much [as Honda's] but are three, four, five times faster. In some ways you can realise the corporate influence is not helping to be efficient.
"The more you behave like a corporate company, the more process inherited from a corporate company, the slower you are, the less agile you are, which doesn't fit the racing culture."
by Beatrice Zamuner