Honda’s F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa says the Japanese manufacturer has only just reached the level of engine performance it was hoping to see from the start of pre-season testing.
Yep, it’s taken Honda 11 races and half a season to reach the performance levels it wanted to be running at during winter testing. Which is quite a remarkable achievement.
And not in a good way…
We all know the troubles Honda has had with its V6 Turbo engine, since rekindling its partnership with McLaren at the start of the 2015 season.
It’s not just performance problems, too. A major issue has – of course – been reliability and this has severely hampered development and results for McLaren and Honda.
So, things haven’t been going well at all, even after a major redesign of the power unit for the 2017 season. McLaren currently has 11 points and is ninth in the constructors’ standings.
But, while Honda started pre-season testing well off its own performance targets, Hasegawa did admit the manufacturer has to be “proud” of the fact it has caught up. Although, it’s far too late.
He told RACER:
“It is difficult for me to say it is satisfying. Maybe the current level of performance is what we had to achieve at the beginning of the season. So, for me I’m thinking, ‘At last we can achieve the level of performance we should have been at in Barcelona.’
“So, it took around five months. From a normal technical development common sense point of view, to catch up that level in five months, we have to be proud of that. However, to match the Formula 1 calendar, it is too late. So, I am half relieved and half very disappointed that we could not achieve this level at the beginning of the season.”
A number of big upgrades have helped Honda close up the rather large gap to rival teams, but it’s still trailing Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault in terms of performance and reliability.
Still, McLaren has had better fortunes in recent races, looking quicker at Silverstone and finishing in the points with both cars in Hungary. But, it’s relationship with McLaren is still very strained.