Can history repeat itself?
Deja vu anyone?
For many reasons 2015 is an important year in Formula One and in so many ways could represent a sea change.
Vettel following in the footsteps of his hero Michael Schumacher and treading the well trodden path to Modena in search of his fifth world championship. Alonso retracing his steps back to the lair of Ron Dennis. But perhaps of even greater signficance is the re-stablishment of a relationship that has born a abundance of success in the past.
McLaren and Honda are back in the game.
Many will be hoping that the re-kindling of this relationship will herald the end of Mercedes dominance of last year. Time alone will tell if that mountain is too steep to climb in the first year.
However one should never underestimate the commitment of the men from Tokyo, particularly bearing in mind the significant anniversary that 2015 marks. It was that same commitment and engineering ability that enabled them to capture their first grand prix victory 50 years ago in only their second season in Formula One. Engineering ability that caused them to build a 48-valve, 1,495.28 cc, V12 engine and then mount it transversely! Their experience of high revving motor bike engines obviously stood them in good stead!
“…it was reckoned to be both the fastest accelerating and loudest car on the grid.”
In early bench tests this jewel of an engine was revved to over 13,000 rpm, but by 1965 they settled for around 230 bhp at a still impressive 11,000 rpm. In fact at the time it was reckoned to be both the fastest accelerating and loudest car on the grid. Unfortunately a far cry from the latest generation F1 ‘power units’ are they now are known. To get sense of the Honda sound check out the video. At full volume if you dare!
Fast forward 50 years and the new Honda powerplant has lost six cylinders, gained a turbo, KERS and lost it oh so distinctive sound. Such is the price of progress.
Though the picture above is heavily disguised it gives a broad impression of how tightly engineered the modern powerplant is (mind you we reckon the 1965 V12 would give it a good run for its money when it comes to compact engineering). And if you’d like to hear how it sounds see Honda’s video below.
Honda will not have forgotten the rather tawdry episode that marked their last foray into Formula One and for sure repetition is not an option. Same can be said of McLaren who have hardly covered themselves in glory over the past few seasons. But with Ron Dennis back in the metaphorical driving seat and Alonso in the real one, hopes must be high for a return to the 1988 season where McLaren won 15 out of 16 races and Senna took the crown.
Of course Mercedes might have a thing or two to say about that…