McLaren set for more penalties as Honda bring upgrades to Spa

Honda have used the mid-season summer break to update its hybrid power unit, but as a result both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are set to take further grid penalties at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend as a result.

Honda R&D Senior Managing Director and Chief Officer of Motorsport Yasuhisa Arai revealed the Sakura-based company have updated parts of its combustion engine for its Formula 1 partners McLaren, with free practice set to be the first time the new updated units will be pressed into action.

Arai insists it is still McLaren’s and Honda’s aim to improve race by race, and hopes for some positive feedback this weekend in Belgium.

“After a well-deserved and positive result in Hungary, the summer break was good rest for the trackside team, while Sakura continued on with the power unit development,” said Arai.

“As we planned, Honda has updated our combustion characteristics to further improve our power units for Spa and the second half of the season. This weekend’s free practices will be important to test the pairing of the power units to the cars.

“The Belgian race, however, will surely be a difficult one for the team and drivers, with expected grid penalties and a long and unforgiving power circuit.

“Nevertheless, McLaren-Honda’s focus is to improve race by race. We know we can learn a lot from the circuit for immediate future, and hope that we can come out of the weekend with some positives.”