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McLaren Honda point bigger turbocharger towards podium

Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai admitted they need to construct a bigger turbocharger despite aims to keep the engine compact in 2016.

Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai with Fernando Alonso of McLaren at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Peter J FoxGetty Images

Formula 1 Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai has laid out objectives for the coming season, what he wants from McLaren, where he wants the team to finish and how they go about getting there.

First he talked about the main aims: “We are out to meet everyone’s expectations and get to the podium as soon as possible. We will resolve all the technical problems that we didn’t manage to master in 2015 and go into the first race with confidence”.

How, exactly, are they going to do this after such a disastrous season that left drivers with one of the most unreliable cars on the circuit? “So, we are changing the compressor and the turbocharger in 2016. They’ll be bigger, but will still fit in the Vee [the part of the engine where the compressor is located], with practically the same dimensions. We still believe in ‘size zero’. We are convinced that a smaller power train is much better for aerodynamics and the chassis. We have a compact layout and want to stay true to our ideas, we will probably be the best in terms of a compact engine”. This intention chimes with the expectations of McLaren Honda’s drivers.

Speaking to motorsport.com, Arai repeated the disappointment of the past year: “Last season was difficult and we didn’t manage to achieve the objectives we set for ourselves or reach the level that the fans, McLaren, and everyone else who gave us their support expected from us. There were many reasons behind our failure, but the results say it all”.

The problems with the engine and the solutions have meant a lot of work for the Japanese: “Last August we began research and working on a motor for 2016 in our Sakura laboratory. I can’t say definitively that we will find the solutions in one year. The members of our development team have been very busy, because they have been working simultaneously on improving our 2015 power unit and redesigning it for 2016”.

Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai admitted they need to construct a bigger turbocharger while aiming to keep the engine ‘size zero’ compact in 2016, redressing a disastrous 2015 season.