Honda website
Honda website

MARCH 23, 1998

The value of McLaren domination

RACE fans all over the world were shocked by the scale of McLaren's domination of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. But it is emerging that the system which allegedly gives the team the advantage it enjoys could turn out to be a massive boost for Grand Prix racing in the long-term.

Rival teams are already working on similar systems which use energy from the brakes to generate electrical power. This can be stored and used to drive an electrical motor which runs the auxiliary pumps on the engine, which gives an instant boost of power of around 30 or 40 horsepower. It can only be used for limited periods which means that it is in effect a kind of "boost button" and that means that if all the teams have similar systems, drivers will be able to use them to overtake as opportunities will arise depending on when a driver uses the advantage.

Not only will this make the racing much better but it will also, inevitably, lead to intensive research into how best to create and store electricity onboard cars so that teams can maximize the amount of time the "boost button" can be used.

And that is just the kind of research which the motor industry needs as it looks to the future with hybrid gasoline/electric engines.