© Getty Images

Honda engine layout changed for 2017 F1 season

Leave a comment

Honda has changed the layout of its engine ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 season in a bid to make performance gains and cut the gap to pace-setter Mercedes.

Honda returned to F1 after seven years away in 2015, rekindling its famed partnership with the British McLaren team.

However, immediate success was hard to come by, with the ‘size zero’ approach taken by Honda to packaging its power unit resulting in a number of reliability issues through the 2015 season.

McLaren ailed to ninth place in the constructors’ championship that year, but made gains through 2016 to end the year sixth overall.

Honda is now looking to make up yet more ground through the 2017 season, as part of an overhaul of the technical regulations in F1.

“The token system that was applied to engine development for the past few seasons has been discontinued,” McLaren technical director Tim Goss explained.

“For 2017, the Honda engine architecture and layout have been altered to serve both for performance and packaging needs.

“The new power unit takes much of the learning from the past two seasons, but has been specifically redesigned for this season.”

Goss also echoed the sentiments of peer James Key of Toro Rosso, saying that the technical changes for the 2017 season are among the biggest in the history of F1.

“Let’s be clear, we’re looking at some huge regulatory changes ahead of the 2017 season,” Goss said.

“We’ve had bigger changes in the past – the change between 1982 and ’83 from ground-effect to flat floors, for example, which had a massive impact on performance.

“But this season’s changes rank as some of the most significant we’ve ever had in the sport.

“That’s likely to change the competition order, because it’s such a big disturbance. Historically, that has changed the order.

“But then what normally happens is that the best, and most well-equipped, teams tend to rise to the top again.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”