At the moment McLaren is probably frantically deciding whether to stick with Honda for 2018 or make a switch and go with Renault. Therefore it’s not at all surprising that Honda has come out and said that it’ll be better than Renault soon – possibly even before the current season is out.
Hasegawa told Motorsport.com:
“I think we can keep the same ratio of the increasing of the power but it is difficult to catch up Mercedes or Ferrari. I really want to move ahead of Renault in terms of performance before the end of the season. I can see that [it is possible] on the data. I will not tell you the number, but we are closing the gap.”
It might sound like a difficult task given the state of Honda engines this season, but there have been improvements in recent races. The latest specification of engine was introduced in Baku and Fernando Alonso managed to score points – then again, Lance Stroll got on the podium, so perhaps it hasn’t been the most representative Grand Prix of the season!
Things took another turn for the better in Hungary though, as Alonso finished a magnificent sixth whilst Stoffel Vandoorne also brought it home in the points. More significantly though the team didn’t suffer from any reliability issues during the weekend. Speaking about that weekend, Hasegawa said:
“The drivability was OK but still the drivers highlighted a lack of power. They are very confident with the car, which is good, but it is still difficult to challenge the top three teams.”
The Hungaroring was always going to be a circuit which suited McLaren-Honda though, so it’ll be interesting to see how it fares on the next two tracks – Spa and Monza – which are real power circuits.
Honda is also due to introduce another engine specification at some point later this season, but will it be enough to jump ahead of Renault as Hasegawa is claiming? It seems like a long shot, but only time will tell. And even if it does jump ahead, who’s to say it’ll still be there at the start of next season?