British GP engine upgrade a possibility for McLaren-Honda


Fernando Alonso leaves the pits.

Following the McLaren F1 team’s better than expected performance at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg, Honda have confirmed that they may consider introducing an engine upgrade ahead of Sunday’s race at Silverstone.

The Japanese manufacturer has been waiting to release the raft of upgrades and solutions they already have in the offing, to ensure they could be implemented at the most strategic and tactical time, when the biggest gains are on offer, so as to minimise the risk of wasting the engine development tokens they have available this season. However, following driver Jenson Button’s sixth place finish at the Red Bull Ring, Honda Chief Yusuke Hasegawa has confirmed to motorsport.com that he is now chomping at the bit to put his updates into action.

“I don’t want to wait.

“So as soon as they are ready we will introduce them, even in Silverstone. But I haven’t got the information yet so I need to check that we can do that.

“It could be next weekend! But actually every race I am expecting to introduce a new update.”

Any upgrades brought in at this point would be used to benefit the internal combustion engine, as opposed to the recent Canadian Grand Prix modifications, which primarily focused on the ERS system. Now that the energy recovery system appears to be in good order, boosting the available horsepower will be Honda’s main priority, as Hasegawa explained.

“Yes, it will be the engine.

“To create enough power, we spent a little of the engine power for the exhaust, and we sacrifice some engine power with the new turbine.

“I think since we have introduced the new turbine [things have improved]. Canada and Azerbaijan are too competitive from a power point of view.

“We’ve come back to a normal circuit and I think that is the reason why we can prove that our update was working well, I think.”

So far, when McLaren have shown strongly at a track, they have only managed to capitalise with one of their cars. As the Woking based squad head to their home race of the British Grand Prix this weekend, they will be hoping to extract as much performance as they can out of the MP4-31 and come away with a good points haul, in front of their dedicated fans.

Straight line speed and outright pace are key areas where the squad are currently lacking, and this weakness will likely be shown up at a high speed circuit such as Silverstone. A boost in engine power therefore would be a huge benefit, as McLaren look to carry some of their Austria form through to England.