Honda Formula 1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa believes that McLaren-Honda have found around 0.3 second per lap of pace even though they are yet to introduce any upgrades.
Last year, Honda had a disappointing return to Formula 1 with McLaren, as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso struggled with reliability issues on their McLaren MP4-30. The Woking-outfit have yet to spend any development tokens this season, unlike Mercedes AMG PETRONAS and Scuderia Ferrari, to upgrade their power unit.
Hasegawa sees this improvement on their engine as encouraging heading into the sixth round in Monaco this weekend.
“Of course we don’t introduce any upgrades or hardware, but from just a settings change point of view I think we have already introduced a few tenths – three tenths or something from the engine,” Hasegawa told F1i.
“It’s quite encouraging, it’s not natural to improve just with the power unit, especially just the settings. But vice versa that means we didn’t start with the best engine settings in Melbourne!”
Hasegawa believes Honda has reached the maximum power from the engine and if they wish to improve they must develop their upgrades.
“I think with the current specification we are squeezing the maximum power from the engine,” he added. “Actually although we are using the same specification since Melbourne we are squeezing more and more power, so I think we are almost achieving maximum power.
“To improve the maximum power we may need some upgrades, some new parts or some new combustion. From a control settings point of view I think we are achieving the maximum already.”