Honda hoping to catch Renault by the end of the season

Published on 10 Aug 2017 11:43

Honda has set its sights on surpassing Renault by the end of the season. The Japanese manufacturer that supplies power units to McLaren has massively struggled in the last number of years, with 2017 taking a turn for the worst. The engine has been slow and unreliable, leaving lead driver very Fernando Alonso frustrated with the team.

It appears that in recent weeks, Honda has made some improvements to both its reliability and speed. Last time out in Hungary, McLaren dragged itself off last place in the constructor standings for the first time this year, claiming a sixth and tenth place finish - albeit on a non-power sensitive track.

"We can continue to improve in terms of performance but it will be difficult to catch Ferrari and Mercedes," said Honda's Yusuke Hasegawa to Speed Week. "But by the end of the season, we want to move past Renault. The drivers are now happy with the drivability of the engine, we just have to have more power. We're working on that now."

Honda finally reach pre-season target

Hasegawa also confirmed that Honda has now reached its pre-season target. When designing the 2017 unit, it was decided that a radical and new way of creating the engine was the way to go. It led to a disastrous start to the season with countless breakdowns and grid penalties.

"It is difficult for me to say it is satisfying," Hasegawa told Racer. "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."


Fergal Walsh

Replies (3)
SE calle.itw 10 Aug 2017 19:420
Posts: 4597
Thats fully possible. And it should be, since Renault wont be upgrading their PU much more this year, rendering them and their customers nothing more than sitting ducks.

I'll give credit where credit is due: I like Honda's attitude of trying to improve the situation, and I find Hasegawa to be way healthier for Honda, and the fans, than Arai ever was. However, and here is the shrimp, they need to show results if they want to retain McLaren or attract a new partner. If not, then Honda could be on their way out of F1.
Posts: 100
It raises the question to what the point is.

The new engine rules seem to change the engine formula significantly. There is much emphasis on simplification. This could mean Honda and Renault decide to just sit it out, regardless of what press statements they make. After all what's the point of investing in an engine that does not perform today and that will be obsolete tomorrow? I imagine it makes more sense to allocate the available funds to the new engine formula and get off to a good start.

And as there is even talk about advancing the formula to introduce the engine already in 2020 engine builders will need to get cracking.
SE calle.itw 12 Aug 2017 12:500
Posts: 4597
The point is that it'll be a platform for them to build further on for the next season. This will largely be the same engine that they will run in 2018. Finish and test more now, and you will have more time to polish it and resources to put on other things before the next season.

As for the regulations for 2020: none of the other teams put that much resources on those projects yet. They are just in the planning phase, and they dont even know all the specifics, so it'd be silly to put more resources for that season than for the current PUs. Besides, the engines post 2020 will largely be the same, they will just be simpler and may or may not lack the MGU-H, so any gains they gain now might translate very well into seasons post 2020.

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