Mercedes: Honda are gaining knowledge free of charge


Andy Cowell (right) celebrates Nico Rosberg’s victory in Melbourne with Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe

Honda has an advantage in being able to concentrate exclusively on the 2015 season, claims Andy Cowell, who is the engine guru for Formula 1’s dominant Mercedes team.

This year, the German marque is fighting for title spoils against only Renault and Ferrari, but Japanese carmaker Honda is returning to the fray in 2015 as McLaren’s works partner.

“There are pros and cons (for Honda),” said Cowell, referring to the fact that Honda is missing from the grid in 2014, the very first season of the all-new turbo V6 era.

“Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes have the experience of winter testing and the grands prix this year,” Cowell told Auto Motor und Sport. “We know based on facts what the issues are and how to solve them. Honda can only watch.”

“On the other hand, we face a challenge in that we are continuing to develop the current engine in the context of what is allowed, and simultaneously we need to prepare for the 2015 homologation next February,” Cowell explained.


McLaren and Honda to be reunited

“So Honda has the advantage of being able to learn through photos and analysing the performance of the engines whilst concentrating fully on 2015,” he said.

“They are gaining knowledge free of charge, but not in the depth of the three [current] manufacturers,” added Cowell.

Honda and McLaren were partners in Formula 1 from 1988 to 1992, winning four constructors’ titles and four drivers’ world titles in the process.

Honda’s last foray in Formula 1 terminated at the end of 2008, whereupon the team sold out to Ross Brawn whose eponymous outfit won both the 2009 constructors’ and drivers’ world title.

Brawn then sold out to Mercedes, when the German manufacturer decided to extend their involvement in Formula 1 beyond that of engine supplier. (GMM)


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