Honda admits F1 return harder than expected

Aug.6 (GMM) Honda has admitted it underestimated the difficulty of its return to formula one this year.

While much of the rest of the F1 world heads off for a summer break, McLaren’s Japanese ‘power unit’ supplier is still hard at work.

A significant upgrade for Spa, the first race after the break, is being prepared.

“We want to change the characteristic with the chamber design and intake and exhaust system layout,” said Honda’s F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai, revealing that some of the remaining seven FIA performance ‘tokens’ will be traded in.

However, he said Honda continues to stand by its basic 2015 turbo V6 design, even though it has proved unreliable and McLaren’s Eric Boullier has spoken about a 120hp performance deficit.

“We believe that our compact power unit layout will prove to be very competitive,” said Arai this week.

But it is impossible to argue that things have gone to plan for Honda.

“It has been a really tough start to our formula one return,” Arai admitted.

“Thankfully most of the issues have now been overcome and we can start concentrating on moving forward.”

Asked if Honda underestimated the challenge of the new ‘power unit’ regulations, Arai said matching the expectations of the past was difficult.

“The sport has changed immensely since the McLaren-Honda ‘glory days’,” he said. “The current technology is much more sophisticated and it is tough to make a good racing car.

“We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but perhaps we didn’t imagine that it would be this hard,” added the Japanese. “I certainly didn’t imagine technology wise what we would be facing, but I have complete confidence in the direction we have taken with our power unit.”

And amid rumours of high tension with McLaren chiefs, however, Arai played down reports suggesting he is even being put under pressure to resign.

“I think Honda’s development method is very different to formula one and McLaren,” he said. “I think that I have what it takes to drive this project, but I can’t decide my own future, neither can the media or McLaren board members.

“I know that they (McLaren) are under pressure from sponsors, but we trust and help each other to come up with good, innovative ideas,” said Arai.

“The fact that sometimes we are colliding means were putting 100 per cent in everything we do and both sides of the partnership are extremely passionate — this is positive not negative.”

Related News

  • 30/07/2015 Honda set for 50 horse power step – reports Jul.30 (GMM) Struggling Honda is preparing to take a significant step forward of up to 50 horse power after the summer break. Under severe pressure from works partner McLaren, the […]
  • 27/04/2017 Honda help ‘better for F1’ – Boullier Apr.27 (GMM) Eric Boullier is making the case that Honda should be given a boost to finally get up to speed in formula one. 2017 is actually the Japanese carmaker's third season since […]
  • 22/09/2016 Honda aims to avoid Suzuka engine penalty Sep.22 (GMM) Honda is preparing to spend the last of its engine upgrade 'tokens' soon. McLaren's works 'power unit' partner has made good progress in 2016 and still has three performance […]
  • 19/06/2017 Honda to deliver engine upgrade in Baku – report Jun.19 (GMM) Honda looks set to deliver a much-needed engine upgrade this weekend in Baku. In Canada just over a week ago, McLaren chiefs admitted their frustration was at boiling point […]
  • 01/05/2016 Button hopes to stay for Honda’s new 2017 engine May 1 (GMM) Jenson Button has confirmed reports Honda is working on a major redesign of its F1 'power unit' for McLaren to use in 2017. The Japanese marque has made steps forward this […]
  • 10/10/2015 Honda finally making progress with upgraded engine Oct.10 (GMM) Struggling Honda appears to finally be making progress with its F1 power unit. Fernando Alonso was at the controls of a new specification of the Japanese carmaker's turbo V6 […]
  • 17/01/2015 FIA allows Honda to join engine ‘unfreeze’ Jan.17 (GMM) Honda has been granted some engine development freedom for 2015. The Japanese manufacturer had argued to the FIA that being left out of 2014 suppliers Mercedes, Renault and […]
  • 02/08/2017 Honda still pushing to improve 2017 engine Aug.2 (GMM) Amid swirling speculation about the future, Honda is still pushing to improve its 2017 engine. There are claims McLaren and Honda will divorce, but the struggling Japanese […]
  • 22/02/2015 McLaren-Honda will not win first race – Button Feb.22 (GMM) For now, McLaren's problems will not go away. At the start of the Barcelona test, a faulty seal on the Honda's MGU-K unit forced Japanese engineers to return the drawing […]
  • 28/08/2017 ‘Few weeks’ until future resolved – Alonso Aug.28 (GMM) Fernando Alonso has tipped the future of the McLaren-Honda collaboration and his next move in F1 to be decided in "the next few weeks". The Spaniard made his feelings about […]