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."