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Author Topic: Honda abandoning ship!  (Read 1158 times)

Offline Andy B

Honda abandoning ship!
« on: October 02, 2020, 09:25:13 AM »
So Honday are jumping ship at the end of 2021 where will this leave RB and AT?
https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/152551/honda-to-leave-f1-at-the-end-of-2021-season


Once you have retired every day is a Saturday!

Offline Jericoke

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2020, 12:47:44 PM »
1)  Any chance their F1 engine division can be spun off, like Mechachrome or Mugen Honda?

2)  If they're trying to go in a different direction as a company, have they had closed door talks with the FIA/FOM about what they see as the future of racing?  Have the higher powers confirmed that F1 will live and die as an internal combustion engine series?

3)  They're still sticking to other ICE series?  Or just don't need as much lead time to announce they're ditching IndyCar etc.?

Offline cosworth151

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 01:16:28 PM »
There have been rumors here in the States about Honda getting into NASCAR but I don't think that's going to happen.

One interesting note on the future of ICE racing & ICE cars in general. The ACO is doing a major rebuild of the pit facilities at Le Mans. They're installing infrastructure for hydrogen fueling. Hydrogen is a cleaner and far more practical system than battery electrics.
“You can search the world over for the finer things, but you won't find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.”
― Bob Dylan

Offline Jericoke

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2020, 06:11:10 PM »
There have been rumors here in the States about Honda getting into NASCAR but I don't think that's going to happen.

One interesting note on the future of ICE racing & ICE cars in general. The ACO is doing a major rebuild of the pit facilities at Le Mans. They're installing infrastructure for hydrogen fueling. Hydrogen is a cleaner and far more practical system than battery electrics.

I remember learning about hydrogen powered cars when I was in high school (you know, the stone age).  I seem to recall Mercedes (or maybe another German car company) had a pretty good demo fleet of the technology.  (The commercial was along the lines of driving from New York to LA, and the only 'exhaust' was a bathtub's worth of water)

The issue then was logistics... until you have places you can get hydrogen, no body will buy them, but no body will build a place to sell hydrogen until there are car owners to sell to.  I'm a little disappointed in the roll out of electric charging infrastructure... electricity is just about everywhere.

And of course anytime anything goes wrong with anything, the Hindenberg is brought up as "proof" that hydrogen is a bad idea.

Offline Alianora La Canta

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2020, 10:22:07 AM »
1)  Any chance their F1 engine division can be spun off, like Mechachrome or Mugen Honda?

2)  If they're trying to go in a different direction as a company, have they had closed door talks with the FIA/FOM about what they see as the future of racing?  Have the higher powers confirmed that F1 will live and die as an internal combustion engine series?

3)  They're still sticking to other ICE series?  Or just don't need as much lead time to announce they're ditching IndyCar etc.?

1) Honda are likely to be open to negotiations - if Red Bull are interested (other teams are unlikely to have the money or the interest to do so). While Red Bull are apparently negotiating with Porsche, they may also enter negotiations to spin off the Honda F1 engine company to negotiate the best deal - assuming this turns out to be viable.

2) The FIA has confirmed that Formula E will be the only single-seater electric series for the foreseeable future due to the nature of the contract between the two. If that changes, Honda may change stance - but I don't think it can until the contract goes up for renewal, which I think is not until 2026. If the recession ends before said scenario occurs, Honda may join the queue for Formula E.

3) My guess is that Honda will stick to the other ICE series because they are ICE, not non-plug-in hybrid like F1. (There's no point in them going with non-plug-in hybrid when prospective law in many nations puts both in the same category, due to evidence that non-plug-in-hybrids tend to get used similarly to ICE engines and therefore are even less green; plus people often treat them that way and wonder why they don't see the benefits of hybrid).

Hydrogen isn't taking off here primarily because cars are less popular now - we now have a whole generation of people where only 1/2-2/3 of people have a licence to drive anything (in previous generations, driving licences were nearly ubitiquous), which has substantially reduced the market. Add two recessions in the space of 12 years (in some parts of the UK, there was no period of growth between then for the median worker) meaning a lot of the people who like cars cannot afford a new car...

The typical person buying a car these days is looking for a 10-15-year-old car. Which means they're barely looking at any sort of hybrid, let alone new tech involving plug-in or hydrogen. Given the number of people who have now gone through 6 months with their car sitting on the garage/on the street except for the occasional convenience ride to the shops, that's only going to become more prominent.
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)

Offline rmassart

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2020, 04:28:23 PM »
Your last point is very interesting, Alianora.  I've read a few articles along those lines. In fact there is a theory that in a generation we won't be buying cars anymore. We will rent them as needed (technically this is already the case, it's just hidden behind a credit from the lenders). Uber has led the way. Why buy a car when one is available night and day at the tap of a smartphone? And if you don't own the car you won't care on the brand, you will have no emotional attachment to it (as far as that is possible).  It just becomes another service.

In addition, as you point out many young people starting out, can't afford a car anymore. It used to be the case that you could buy an old banger do it up and be on the road. You can't do that with modern cars anymore, as everything is enclosed and sealed, only to be opened by specialists. And if you can't tinker with your car, again you lose the interest in the technology.

All of this makes it hard to justify the huge investments in F1.

Honda's announcement is quite worrying for me. They are willing to pull the plug just as they might have had a chance of seriously challenging Mercedes. It means they see little value in having Honda plastered on F1 cars anymore.  My real concern is that if Renault don't become competitive asap, they will pull the plug too. I give them until 2025 at the latest. Either they've won a world championship or they've left. And who would bother to replace them? The costs, despite all the attempts to reduce them, are too high. No one is willing to spend 5 years in F1 before they can get their engine to compete, especially when the market has gone electric.

I don't think F1 will disappear, but they have to come up with something new, because burning fossil fuels won't work in a few years time. Not because of the environment, but because of the politics pushing electric.  Personally I would like them to head in the direction of fuel cells. I find that more interesting than electric cars. It's a technology which could get a real boost from F1 in a way I think electric never will.

Offline Andy B

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2020, 09:45:53 PM »
Last week a friend turned up with a Tesla 3 which we obviously went for a drive and I also had a drive it's a nice car.
But!
Here in NZ its NZ$90,000 and its the base model and although smart looking it's a lot of money for a very basic car, it drives very well and is quick but there are add on's which also costs it'll also update while on his drive and connected his WiFi.
It has gimmicks which have to be paid for such as opening the glove box via the touch screen which is a complete waste of money.
The biggest problem I have with it is range. A couple of months ago I drove to Christchurch, Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, 5.7 V8, I filled up before I left drove there collected the item I went for and drove home filling upon reaching home. 827 kms which the Tesla cannot do and would probably have meant an overnight stay along with the extra cost.
It also has to be kept in mind that here the average car age is 14 years and probably not a lot different other countries so is Joe Average going to sell his old car for a 90 grand electric car?
A little bit off the F1 track but I feel still revenant.
Once you have retired every day is a Saturday!

Offline cosworth151

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2020, 01:54:44 AM »
Both Honda & Chevy announced that they will stay on with IndyCar. The announcement was made at this weekend's Harvest Grand Prix at Indy. Looks like Penske has gone back to his old habit of trying to pretend that IndyCar is F1, calling his races Grands Prix.
“You can search the world over for the finer things, but you won't find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.”
― Bob Dylan

Offline Alianora La Canta

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2020, 10:07:49 AM »
Your last point is very interesting, Alianora.  I've read a few articles along those lines. In fact there is a theory that in a generation we won't be buying cars anymore. We will rent them as needed (technically this is already the case, it's just hidden behind a credit from the lenders). Uber has led the way. Why buy a car when one is available night and day at the tap of a smartphone? And if you don't own the car you won't care on the brand, you will have no emotional attachment to it (as far as that is possible).  It just becomes another service.


In addition, as you point out many young people starting out, can't afford a car anymore. It used to be the case that you could buy an old banger do it up and be on the road. You can't do that with modern cars anymore, as everything is enclosed and sealed, only to be opened by specialists. And if you can't tinker with your car, again you lose the interest in the technology.

I think cars will continue to be a thing for the foreseeable future, if only because public transport is poor in rural areas and rich people still like their status symbols (indeed, owning a mid-market car might itself become a status symbol again for the upper middle class). However, the market is going to shrink a lot. I'm expecting most middle-class people without a genuine need for their own car to not bother - the working class have basically been priced out of the market already in the UK, even with the hire purchase loan system. (What I'm seeing is that people buy used, so rental isn't necessarily cheaper and definitely not more convenient).

So the market for cars will become:

1) rich and upper-middle-class people (status symbols)

2) people in rural areas and other places badly-served by public transport (vehicles that can - or look like they can - stand up to inclement weather)

3) people who need their cars for work purposes (practical middle-of-the-range vehicles. Note that this category includes people who hire vehicles out for those who want rentals and don't need that vehicle to fit one of the other categories)

4) people who need their cars due to disability or family commitments (accessible/part-accessible vehicles in a variety of sizes, including a few in sizes that resemble minibuses but don't quite fit enough passengers to qualify as such).

The average car age in the UK is 8 years old. If that sounds small, it's because there have been two major scrappage schemes in the past 20 years (where people were getting up to £2000 for scrapping an old car, the first time not even needing to buy a new car afterwards), as well as tax disincentives for old cars that pollute heavily or lack proven emissions ratings (affecting any cars that are more than 24 years old). These got rid of most of the cars built more than 15 years ago. Also, the UK is more urbanised, with more public transport, than the USA - meaning that there are fewer poor people who need a car simply to get to their jobs/the shops/other obligatory activity. (The EU average is 10.7 years; some other nations have/had similar schemes).

Uber has had a rocky time of it in the UK; it used to be very popular but various scandals involving employment status and harrassment have led to people starting to avoid that option where possible. High regulatory barriers mean that, as far as I can tell, few other companies has attempted the same concept of multi-city (let alone national) taxi service.

Also note: in London, it is no longer possible to use a new ICE or conventional hybrid car as a taxi or hire vehicle. The law changed on 1st January to require all of them to be zero-emissions-capable, which means that at minimum, there must be an all-electric or all-hydrogen mode. (There's no rule requiring it to be used, please understand. But it must exist). Existing ICE/conventional hybrids have been grandfathered in, provided they were built in 2008 or later and meet certain other criteria, but Uber plans to be electric/hydrogen-only in London from 2025.

Some people do, in fact, build up old bangers - the secret is to do research beforehand. Some models have devices which can sort out common electronic issues more cheaply than a garage charges to even investigate car trouble, and others are in the routine set of things an independent garage typically has nowadays. However, there is less interest in mechanical things in general nowadays, and those interested in electronics are apt to think "computer with a screen" rather than embedded tech.

Honda's announcement is quite worrying for me. They are willing to pull the plug just as they might have had a chance of seriously challenging Mercedes. It means they see little value in having Honda plastered on F1 cars anymore.  My real concern is that if Renault don't become competitive asap, they will pull the plug too. I give them until 2025 at the latest. Either they've won a world championship or they've left. And who would bother to replace them? The costs, despite all the attempts to reduce them, are too high. No one is willing to spend 5 years in F1 before they can get their engine to compete, especially when the market has gone electric.

I give Renault until 2023 to show signs of progress. COVID-19 might have bought them and us a year, because the system now allows Renault to see how the new engine formula is going and walk out after the 2nd year of competition with it. Also, the fact that there's now a £200 m entry fee (even more exclusive than the £48 m repayable bond that existed from 1998 to 2007) means that the one prospective team to enter F1, Panthera, now can't - unless it purchases a team.

Hydrogen fuel cells would definitely be a better direction than conventional hybrid, given that the latter is on the way out, all-electric is inaccessible and the FIA is too proud to go back to cheap ICE.
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)

Offline Andy B

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2020, 09:05:59 PM »
It seems RB are looking at taking over the Honda engine and re-branding it but currently need assurances from the FIA and F1.
Once you have retired every day is a Saturday!

Online jimclark

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2020, 03:02:15 AM »
Looks like Penske has gone back to his old habit of trying to pretend that IndyCar is F1, calling his races Grands Prix.

Surely you jest.  :DntKnw:

Rogere is a tad more confident in himself than to have to pretend anything.
I'm not an IndyCar fan, but calling any race a "Grand Prix" is no stretch.

Formula One didn't coin it and hasn't a lock on the term "grand prize"....it's been around long before F1 and used by many other series.....FE, F5000, CART to name a few formula car series.
Wanna talk sport cars? How about the USRRC, CanAm, T/A, IMSA and more (they were hardly pretending to be F1)..... And other sports to boot...... ;)

"The first such use in organized sport was probably as the name of the French Grand Prix horse race, first run in 1863."

"Those were the days my friends. We thought they'd never end..."

jimclark

Offline Warmwater

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2020, 05:23:39 AM »
Sadly (perhaps) the Infernal Combustion Engine is on the way out. It has been refined continuously for over 120 years and, with a bit of luck and a few repairs, a new one might last about 180,000 miles before expiring. That is pretty good, considering how many parts are rubbing together and the nearby explosions continuously popping off.  Personally I like mechanical things, the Model A Ford is ideal, drive it on weekdays and tinker with it on the weekend. With "modern" cars just opening the hood is about as far as you can get.
The shade-tree auto mechanic has been gone for quite a while, and soon the rest of the trade will mostly  be history.
Through the 1980's and 1990's I worked for a company that was at the forefront of hydrogen fuel cell research and we also manufactured advanced lithium batteries, so I have some knowledge about the subject. At the time I also had a purpose built electric vehicle, unfortunately it was loaded down with a lot of big lead-acid batteries, because there were no available light weight batteries at the time. The range was less than 30 miles. Eventually I removed all of the electric stuff and installed a proper gasoline engine, I was convinced that electric cars would never be useful.
In the meantime, the fuel cell division had made great advances and had several demonstration buses in daily operation, as well as contracts with some major automobile companies. The lack of hydrogen production, compressor pumps, storage, cost, and distribution ended that grand plan, and the same problems will affect any hydrogen based  power system today. Using natural gas to obtain hydrogen defeats the main purpose of  the program. An odd side issue is that a fuel' cell produces water as “exhaust” that is usually just harmlessly dropped on the roadway behind the vehicle, however this will be a problem in freezing temperatures.
Hybrids are a dead end.
At this point, Honda is probably right to abandon involvement in I.C.E. racing (only F1 currently) and use the money to help develop the Next Big Thing. Because of the development of efficient battery packs, I am now a believer in the future of electric vehicles.
"There is nothing wrong with the car, except that it is on fire"    Murray Walker

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2020, 06:04:42 AM »
I seem to remember an article I read some time ago that said it took more energy to produce hydrogen than could be recovered by an engine. Am I misremembering that?
Lonny

Offline Warmwater

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2020, 06:12:01 AM »
Yes that is correct, it takes more energy to extract than you get by using it. :(
"There is nothing wrong with the car, except that it is on fire"    Murray Walker

Offline monty

Re: Honda abandoning ship!
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2020, 08:58:57 AM »
That completely misses the point - you can produce Hydrogen using renewable energy. It is therefore sustainable and 'green'. The problem is nobody has invested in clean production of Hydrogen because there is insufficient demand for the gas. If cars turned to Hydrogen, the demand would be sufficient to gain the necessary investment in making an economic and sustainable fuel.
Battery EV's do not make 'whole life' sense. Batteries are 'dirty' to make and 'dirty' to recycle. They are rapidly depleting the rare earth materials they need. They have a relatively short useful life. Physics determines that if you charge them too quickly you shorten their life and you waste energy by producing excess heat. (and just in case anyone raises the 'safety' of Hydrogen - batteries can also be quite dangerous - I have seen a large battery pack short-circuited and it was terrifying). All of this said, the reason that battery EV's are completely impractical is infrastructure. It would be impossible to provide charging facilities for all of the cars currently used in the world. There are approx. 33million cars in the UK. If they were all electric and even if you could charge them in less than an hour (which you can't) you simply could not provide enough charging points plus the demand on the grid would black-out the Country. As you may have gathered I do not believe battery EVs are the future and therefore they shouldn't be the future of motor sport.

 


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