Engine power now the focus for McLaren Honda

After experiencing one of the worst season’s in their history during 2015, McLaren believe they have finally reached a point where they can begin to push on from last years woes, and concentrate on improving engine performance.

The main handicap for the Woking based squad last year was ERS deployment, which left their World champion drivers, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, looking like sitting ducks as they came up against opposition on the straights, the power deficit from the Honda PU being so huge.

Honda engineers worked hard over the winter break to rectify that insufficiency however, which they appear to have done successfully as the ERS issues now no longer remain in 2016. Power output however is still an area that needs improvement in order to bring McLaren back in contention to challenge their rivals. Now that they appear to have conquered their reliability issues, barring the retirement of Button last weekend in Bahrain, giving the MP4-31 more power is next on the Japanese manufacturers list, with Honda now in a position to up engine power and strengthen engine combustion.

Speaking to motorsport.com, Honda F1 Chief Yusuke Hasegawa, advised:

“It is very difficult to tell but we concentrated on reliability first and I think we improved the reliability areas, although we had issues [in Bahrain].”

“Now [we will focus] on the internal combustion performance – power – as we know that the current power isn’t good enough to get a Q3 position. So that’s what I can tell… I think the current performance is reasonable.”

“I think { the pace in Bahrain} is almost what we expected. The current position is what we thought. It is not very good but it is reasonable I think.”

Honda has a total of 14 tokens available to work on developing its engine throughout the season, and this year improving the power should be the sole area engineers have to concentrate on, without having to dip into the token pot to cure reliability issues as well and this should hopefully free up the team to achieve the performance levels they aspire to. With upgrades possible as early as the Spanish Grand Prix…watch this space – McLaren Honda are coming!