Pretty much the only positive Honda executive Yusuke Hasegawa could take from the Russian Grand Prix was that Stoffel Vandoorne was able to see the chequered flag for only the second time this season, but finishing fourteenth was not the kind of performance required by the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team.
Coupled with the fact that Fernando Alonso was forced out of the race before it had even begun due to another reliability issue, it left Hasegawa disappointed that the MCL32 remains both unreliable and uncompetitive.
“We’ve had an incredibly difficult and ultimately disappointing weekend here in Russia,” said Hasegawa. “That said, it was a positive that Stoffel finished the race, especially in such tough conditions, starting from the back of the grid.
“Today his running was impressive and he kept consistent pace in a difficult situation with tyre and fuel management. Stoffel hasn’t had an easy start to the season with many issues during each race weekend, so we’re happy that he finally took the chequered flag, albeit in P14 which is of course not where we want to be.”
Hasegawa revealed it was an ERS failure that caused Alonso’s formation lap retirement, and although they tried to fix it on the formation lap, in doing a reboot it actually caused the car to stop. They will now investigate the cause of the problem and bring a fix to prevent the same problem reoccurring again.
“Fernando lost the power from his deployment with the system failure of ERS during the formation lap,” said Hasegawa. “Although we tried to fix it by rebooting the system while running, we weren’t able to recover it.
“As a result, we had to stop the car out on the track and were unable to start the race. We’ll be investigating the cause of the system failure.”
Hasegawa is hopeful that the updates Honda will bring to their power unit in the next few races overcome the reliability and performance issues that have blighted McLaren during the opening four races of the season.
“It’s a big disappointment for us that we’re not able to complete the race with both drivers, but we will move forwards from this and keep pushing,” insisted Hasegawa.
“We’re expecting some updates to the PU over the next few races, and we’ll continue working on our development in order to be more competitive with better reliability.”