Honda’s Hasegawa: “We were able to make additional changes to be ready for Melbourne”

World © Octane Photographic Ltd. Formula 1 - Winter Test 2. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren Honda MCL32. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Tuesday 7th March 2017. Digital Ref :1784CB1D0854

Honda Head of F1 Project Yusuke Hasegawa says that despite suffering from a number of problems with their engine during winter testing, they were able to make suitable changes after further investigation, and the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team will be ready for the first race in Melbourne this weekend.

“It has been a challenging winter for everyone at the team. Obviously, the problems we had in Barcelona, limited our track time and put added pressure on our pre-season preparations, however, we were still able to generate a huge amount of useful data.

“In terms of performance, there has been room for improvement with mapping in order to have better driveability, and with further analysis we were able to make additional changes to be ready for Melbourne.”

Despite that optimism, reliability is still an uncertainty, and further amendments may still be needed to bring the Woking based squad up to the levels of performance they believe they should be able to achieve in 2017.

Whether that is necessary will only be known once the first race weekend of the season gets underway, but Hasegawa is confident they are now on the right path with development, and further improvements will be apparent as the year goes on.

“We know we are heading in the right direction and we’ll continue our efforts in order to increase our competitiveness throughout the season.

Hasegawa is still anticipating a tough time out in Australia however, as the Albert Park track has always been demanding on all elements of the car, as well as the driver.

The Japanese engineer believes that getting on top of reliability will be key for the Woking based squad this weekend, and if the Honda engine can hold up, whilst delivering the maximum power available, that would be a big step forward for McLaren Honda from where they had slumped to in Barcelona, and both parties would take that…without a shadow of a doubt!

“As a season-opener, the Australian GP is a strenuous grand prix for the drivers, car and the power unit. Our priority for the weekend will be to extract the most out of our power unit, while maintaining reliability. 

“It won’t be an easy weekend, but despite the challenges we love coming to Melbourne. The fans are amazing, and we always have fantastic support from our Honda Australia peers. We hope we can show our appreciation through our efforts on the track.”

  • Roger Flerity

    Fans of McLaren and Honda need to keep hammering on Honda to move faster and more aggressively, and not give them any slack. Honda has performed miserably, and has taken far too long, made too many empty promises, and missed the mark far to often to be given the benefit of the doubt. They have embarrassed themselves and need to do whatever it takes to get it right, and put McLaren back in contention – or get out… again. It would be fantastic to see McLaren/Honda escape their horrible display and become competitive again – and even more exciting to see them win again.

  • McSerb

    Yes, but I don`t see how Honda can ever catch up to Mercedes or Ferrari. Both of these teams have made a significant step AGAIN with their engines and just when people thought there was nothing more to develop. The people working at Honda would have to be twice as smart, which they are clearly not. The engine race is over, Honda lost because a head start is a head start. Nobody waits for the competition. Honda needs about two years to catch up (if the others stop developing) so the only solution is to buy the know-how the others spent years to acquire. The Japanese will not do it.

  • Ambientereal

    Ferrari did some clever step this year (according to their own words) and that is “hundreds of millions of euros in tools that allow the testing of most parts of the car” that´s precisely what Honda needs, long range testing of the PU in all race situations imaginable. A PU must be labor tested for at least 10000 km and be free of failure. And that test should include all working regimes and in the real proportions.

  • dan pambid

    i think a few years was more than enough to develop a decent engine. maybe not the fastest, but at least somewhere in the middle. you dont take 3 years to develop a pu thats dead last. also, who builds an engine that cant take vibrations???

  • One consistent problem that Honda seems to face is that their testing program doesn’t adequately simulate race conditions.
    We keep hearing the engines perform great on the dynos and then when they get into the cars they overheat, have oil pickup problems, vibration problems etc. You can’t tell me they would put an engine in a car with known problems like that. It seems to me that they don’t adequately test the engines for the effects of G-force and being under the bodywork of the car.

  • jimjimmy123

    None of these issues proved unsurmountable in 88-92 under Osamu Goto. I think it’s also a question of management and priorities and the personality of the individuals in the exercise.

    One thing that keeps popping up is how blase Yusuke Hasegawa seems about it all. The way he speaks, acts. At the launch it just struck me because I was waiting to see who would do it…

    When the champagne was handed out at the end he was the first to drink it. It’s something small, but even that gesture (especially to a Japanese) is not a sign of knowing the responsibility that is on your shoulders and towards the company you are in.