Honda ‘Spec 3’ engine worth 0.3 seconds per lap – Hasegawa


McLaren introduced its 'Spec 3' Internal Combustion Engine in Azerbaijan on Friday - Credit: Charles Coates/McLaren

Yusuke Hasegawa feels the ‘spec 3’ engine that Fernando Alonso ran during the two free practice sessions around the Baku City Circuit on Friday offered around three-tenths of a second worth of performance.

Following a dreadful start to the season where the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team have yet to score any points – the only team on the grid yet to do so – the emphasis has been on Honda to improve their engine, and Alonso ran the new Internal Combustion in Azerbaijan for the first time.

The ICE was removed and an older spec put in for the remainder of the weekend, with Alonso set to use the ‘spec 3’ engine again in the Austrian Grand Prix in two weeks time, and they hope for a second engine available for Stoffel Vandoorne.

“With the internal combustion engine upgrade, we focused on the power,” said Honda Executive Engineer Hasegawa to Autosport.   “Normally we don’t disclose how much power we have gained but in this circuit, the gain is more than two or three tenths with the new engine.

“From a reliability point of view, we didn’t have an ICE issue, so we can now concentrate on performance and power.”

Hasegawa said it was pleasing to see progress on track correlate to that see in the dynos back at the factory in Sakura, but knows there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure the engine becomes a competitive entity in Formula 1.

“We don’t see the actual lap time gain in here, but from the power measuring sensor on the car, we saw the same difference from the dyno,” added Hasegawa. “We are pleased we could bring a performance update here.

“But although the upgrade is reasonable, it is still not good enough to catch the other engine manufacturers. We need to accelerate the direction for the next update.”