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McLaren: Hard work ahead with Honda 22 Oct 2013

McLaren-Honda MP4-4 Jonathan Neale (GBR) McLaren Managing Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 12 October 2013 2014 Mercedes-Benz engine

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale has played down the significance of Honda having already run their 2015 engine on the dyno, saying that the hard work is only just beginning.

The Woking-based team confirmed a multi-year technology partnership with Honda in May, and whilst Neale admitted he was excited to hear audio of the Japanese manufacturer’s new power unit, he reiterated that McLaren’s current focus is with 2014 engine supplier Mercedes.

“It’s always good when you hear a new engine fire up, it’s a great moment for the whole organisation, and a moment of satisfaction for everybody,” Neale said during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes teleconference.

“Honda moved heaven and earth to be able to get the first engine built, constructed and running. It’s a bit like - to use the metaphor of pregnancy - you focus on the first nine months and then you realise that it’s only then that the hard work starts.

“While we have something that’s running, we’re under no illusion how much work we have to do together to be able to develop a competitive power unit in terms of the engine, the ERS system, the battery technology, and all of the systems that go round that. Particularly for us, as for McLaren to do it twice in two years is a fairly ambitious project. But we’re really excited about that.

“However at this time of year - with only some frightening number of weeks to go to the end of this year - all hands at the moment are focussed on working with Mercedes and the integration of that engine, and the development of our fuel and lube programme with Exxon Mobil, so that we’re able to put a high performance package on the deck, and a reliable one, for the start of next year.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Neale also addressed the topic of when Red Bull’s head of aerodynamics, Peter Prodromou, might be able to join McLaren.

"Peter's a great guy and he's a core part of their organisation," he said. "I can't see any incentive for Red Bull to release him (from his contract) early.

"We'd be happy if he was starting first thing tomorrow morning, but we do fully respect Red Bull's position as we do when we're recruiting anybody from another organisation.

"Peter's a key part of their operation at the moment and we look forward to welcoming him here. Who knows what will happen over the course of a year, but the timing is Red Bull's and it's up to them to decide, not for McLaren."

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