Tag Archives: Fernando Alonso

Formula One: Alonso targets the Triple Crown of Motorsport

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In an interview during his first visit to the Baku street circuit, Fernando Alonso has spoken of his ambitions to achieve the hallowed Triple Crown in motorsport.

The Triple Crown is the name for winning the Monaco Grand Prix, The Indy 500, and Le Mans 24 hours. The only driver to achieve the accolade was Graham Hill. There have been only  17 drivers to complete in all 3 racing categories. At this time Juan Pablo Montoya is the driver best positioned to achieve the Triple Crown having taken victories in both the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya tested the LMP1 Porsche 919 Hybrid last season and has stated a desire to participate in Le Mans following the conclusion of his current Indycar commitments.

Alonso’s comments further serve to demonstrate his mind is moving beyond Formula One, and he is seeking a new challenge. This interview also marks the first time Alonso has publicly expressed interest in oval racing.

Honda’s continued presence within Indycar could facilitate Alonso transitioning to the sport following the conclusion of his current F1 agreement.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice in his F1 career in 2006 and 2007.

Alonso is a driver ambassador for the 2016 Grand Prix of Europe in Baku, he spoke favourably about the venue and the potential for great racing and an opportunity for Mclaren to perform strongly at the race in June. When questioned around his current Mclaren agreement, Alonso reaffirmed his commitment not only for 2016, but also for 2017 when he expects regulation changes could give Mclaren an opportunity to move forward.

More information on the Grand Prix of Europe can be found here.

The interview can be seen in full here:

 

Formula One: Mclaren Honda still lacking reliability

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With pre-season testing having concluded last week in Barcelona all eyes are now fully focused on Melbourne in two weeks time. Mclaren Honda’s performance in testing was a vast improvement compared to their 2015 preparation, with the team achieving eclipsing total pre-season running from 2015 in a single day as they prepare the MP4-31.

Despite this huge step forward the team remain some way off the pace, reliability, and consistency of their competitors. Mercedes AMG Petronas completed in excess of  6000Km over 8 days, all of which was a achieved on a single power unit. Mclaren Honda by contrast managed 3300KM over the same period, and worked through 3 power units.

The use of multiple power units may have been a deliberate strategy by the team to experiment with new components, but this coupled with a mid field performance when it comes to out right pace suggests that Mclaren Honda fans are set for another testing year. It is true the team are making progress and both Mclaren and Honda have always been keen to stress success will take time, but questions from drivers around the true ability for the project to succeed can not be far away.

Honda have confirmed that the power unit specification used in the final pre-season test was close to that which will be used in Melbourne with only minor changes for reliability and tuning expected. Neither of which will impact the performance of the ICE.

Formula One: Mclaren MP4-31 Launched

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Mclaren Honda have launched their new Formula 1 challenger, the MP4-31 ahead of pre season testing starting tomorrow. The striking and innovative MP4-31 chassis integrates the new Honda RA616H power unit, developed exclusively for the team.

Although a high level of continuity in Formula 1’s technical regulations has enabled the team to strengthen and mature many of the design concepts developed on last year’s McLaren-Honda MP4-30, the new car also incorporates a significant number of all-new innovations. The result is a balance of remarkably elegant aerodynamic solutions with a highly space-efficient integration of Honda’s new-for-2016 power unit.

While McLaren’s race team has spent an extremely busy few months developing the MP4-31 right up to the very tight deadline dictated by the truncated modern off-season, its marketing team has also enjoyed a very strong winter, announcing a raft of prestigious new commercial deals to add to a roster of equally valued existing partners.

Joining McLaren-Honda’s partner group for 2016 will be the world-renowned luxury watch brand Richard Mille, which commences a 10-year marketing, branding and licensing collaboration.

Global luxury goods giant LVMH will continue its long unbroken association with the team, through its premium sparkling wine brand Chandon, whose rising-star identity will adorn both the MP4-31 and the drivers’ race suits.

Other important and valuable recent acquisitions include a brand-new haulage supplier, Volvo Trucks, and a brand-new technical services provider, IT Lab, while official services supplier ISS has renewed and extended its partnership. Also, official electronic communications supplier Kenwood celebrates 25 years as a McLaren partner this year. Finally, 2016 marks the second year of a 10-year alliance with KPMG.

In addition to the aforementioned acquisitions and renewals, McLaren-Honda is once again privileged to count on the loyal support of an impressive portfolio of partners old and new, including Johnnie Walker, SAP, Hilton Worldwide, CNN, Santander, GSK, Mazak, AkzoNobel Sikkens, Segafredo Zanetti, Akebono, Norton Rose Fulbright, Enkei, Repucom, Sparco, Maxi Nutrition, Asics and TechnoGym.

Last but very far from least, McLaren-Honda’s preparations for 2016 have once again benefitted enormously from the unrivalled resources and expertise of ExxonMobil, which is celebrating 22 years of partnership with McLaren this year. ExxonMobil’s engineers, together with their counterparts at Honda, have been tirelessly developing pioneering new technologies and formulations of Esso fuels and Mobil 1 lubricants for the all-new Honda RA616H V6 turbo power unit, and Mobilube 1 SHC racing gear oil for McLaren’s bespoke eight-speed gearbox.

Importantly, the size and calibre of our partner roster – and its collective commitment to the team – underscores the confidence that all at McLaren have in our journey back to the podium.

2016 McLaren Honda MP4-31 Front Three Quarter

Fernando Alonso (#14) said:

The start of a new season is always a special feeling, characterised by a lot of anticipation for the year ahead. This year is no different: I’m excited and raring to go.

Last year the spotlight was very much on McLaren-Honda as we embarked on the first year of our renewed partnership. It was a tricky season for all of us, but we learned a hell of a lot.

Likewise, it’s been a very productive winter for me. I’ve been training extremely hard, as usual, but also enjoying time with my family, and keeping tabs on all the hard work going on at the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, where the McLaren guys have been doing an incredible job to get everything ready in time. The Honda boys have been working flat-out in Sakura, too.

The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail. The whole car is beautiful in fact – it’s particularly nicely packaged from an aerodynamic point of view as I say – and I’m 100 per cent ready for the challenge ahead.”

Jenson Button (#22) said:

I really can’t wait to take the wheel of the new MP4-31 tomorrow. All Formula 1 drivers need a winter break, but I’m massively excited to get started on the 2016 season now, and I have to say the brand-new McLaren-Honda MP4-31 really looks the part.

Moreover, having spent quite a bit of time at the McLaren Technology Centre recently, I can tell you that there’s a huge amount of palpable positive energy there at the moment, despite the challenging yet steep learning curve we all travelled along in 2015.

In fact, the immense amount of sheer hard work that has gone into the development of the MP4-31 over the winter makes me immensely proud, and consequently I go into the new season with even more motivation and belief.

Despite the ups and downs we saw last year, there were steady improvements all year long, and that gives us confidence in the design direction we’re taking. There are a lot of positives we can build on, and a strong platform to take forward. I’m not about to make any over-optimistic predictions – Formula 1 is far too unpredictable for me to do that – but, from what I’ve seen so far, the aero detailing on the car looks fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to beginning the process of testing those new innovations when I get behind the wheel tomorrow.”

2016 McLaren Honda MP4-31 Overhead

Ron Dennis (Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Technology Group) said:

As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose. That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win.

We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come, but I can say without fear of contradiction that every member of our team has worked with truly relentless dedication over the past few months. The result is that MP4-31’s developmental trajectory has been usefully steepened over the winter, and I’m consequently very proud of our team’s efforts.

We remain resolute in our commitment to our goals, and we maintain an indefatigable commitment to the winning potential of a full works team. Believe me: the full works backing of a multinational automotive manufacturer is the only platform from which real success in modern Formula 1 can be achieved. As McLaren-Honda, therefore, we’ve vowed to work together, and to win together, and that determination has become further cemented as our relationship has deepened through the shared challenges we faced last year.

We have the best driver line-up in the sport. We have an engineering team that has been meticulously hand-picked, restructured, guided and inspired; the blend of technical skill-sets and attitudinal mind-sets we now possess are fit-for-purpose and state-of-the-art. And, thanks to the relationships we’ve nurtured with a hugely impressive roster of loyal and powerful partners, our commercial position is equally robust.”

Eric Boullier (Racing Director, McLaren Racing) said:

First of all, we must recognise the very hard work performed over the past few months by everyone in Woking, Sakura and Milton Keynes.

The guys have shown intense dedication throughout the winter period, and the result is that they’ve successfully kept our aggressive build and development programmes on schedule. As such, all our team members are a credit to McLaren-Honda, and consequently we’re incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the development of the MP4-31.

But we’re never satisfied, which is why we’ve continued to strengthen our engineering team in recent weeks and months, and we’re confident that the changes we’ve made will improve and accelerate our car-development progress in the future.

So the two Barcelona tests will merely herald the continuation of the huge collaborative task that all departments have been engaged in during the off-season. We’ll be aiming to spend the four days of the first test carefully and methodically: extracting the maximum from the time available, and concentrating our efforts on proving out our central systems, operational procedures and electronics checks. We’ll need to verify our work in the garage before we can expect any miracles on track – essentially, to ensure we walk before we can run. After all, testing is just that: testing.

But be assured, we’re motivated and determined, and we’re pulling together.”

Yasuhisa Arai (Senior Managing Officer and Chief Officer of Motorsport, Honda R&D Co Ltd) said:

From the start of tomorrow’s testing, the second season of McLaren-Honda’s new adventure begins. It was a short winter break, but nonetheless Honda was able to make the most of the off-season in preparation for 2016, strengthening our team and working tirelessly alongside the McLaren and ExxonMobil engineers.

Learning from last year, we’ve made changes to the compressor and other hardware of the power unit during the break, maturing our overall concept from last year. Our focus will be to test the car’s balance with the new chassis and power unit, and specifically the ERS direction during the eight days of winter testing.  

We won’t know exactly where we stand until we reach the end of the two tests, but we’re looking forward to getting back on track, gathering data, and feeding back the information to our engineers so as to prepare for Melbourne and onwards.

It’s good to be back.”

Formula One – Mclaren Honda – #TurboHeros Campaign

#TurboHeros

Over the last 24-hours, you may have noticed McLaren-Honda’s social channels sharing some rather unusual posts…

Introducing the #TurboHeroes campaign.

Join the mighty Turbo Heroes, McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, as they battle the evil racer Exhaustus. Follow the thrilling journey across the globe in a tense battle to return mythical artefact – the Jade Dragon of Suzuka – to its spiritual home in Japan.

Turbo Heroes evokes the classic 8-bit gaming era of the 1980s with a series of innovative and unique gaming scenarios involving McLaren-Honda’s two racing heroes.

Watch Now

Opinion – Keen to move on from what must be one of the most challenging racing weekends in the history of the team, Mclaren have started the week well with the announcement of new sponsorship agreement with Chandon this morning, alongside kicking off this #TurboHeros campaign. This, hopefully first of many, films plays on the 80’s style games console memories, similar to the short film the team released prior to the car launch at the beginning of the year. The team successfully bring some much needed humour back to the sport in general and for themselves. These kind of Japanese themed campaigns will hopefully put to bed the continued rumours of unrest between Mclaren and Honda. They may also hint towards future additional Japanese partners….