Honda have reached the level of engine performance their engineers were hoping to see from the start of the 2017 pre-season, according to Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda’s F1 Boss.
This year, Honda’s relationship with McLaren was strained as the Japanese manufacturer produced three uncompetitive engines but their performance in preseason has them in a confident pre-season mood.
Too late for improvements?
Regarding engine development, Honda is at least eight months behind Mercedes, this season’s frontrunner, a gap that will be tough to close.
'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,' said Hasegawa.
As for this season, Honda-Mclaren’s only goal is to pass Renault, in order to avoid the shame of being F1’s least powerful engine supplier.
'By the end of the season, we want to move past Renault,' Hasegawa added. 'The drivers are now happy with the driveability of the engine, we just have to have more power. We're working on that now.'
Uncertainty over Honda-McLaren future
McLaren intends to make a decision regarding its 2018 engine supplier in September.
Alternate options seem limited for McLaren, with Renault being the team’s best option for the imminent future.