Honda’s Head of F1 Project and Executive Chief Engineer Yusuke Hasegawa says the team ‘can come away with some positivity’ following the team’s double finish in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team took a solitary point in Mexico, thanks to Fernando Alonso’s tenth-place finish, but this is only the fifth time both cars have finished a race in 2017, and only the sixth time the team has scored points this season.
Reliability issues have plagued the team since the start of the season, with fourteen retirements coming from their three drivers, including Jenson Button‘s one-off outing in Monaco. The Mexican Grand Prix presented an additional challenge, with its high altitude meaning their cars had to work harder to bring in more air, however seeing both cars finish is something Hasegawa is pleased with.
“Regarding our PU, despite having a tough challenge at high altitude here in Mexico, both cars finished the race and we had decent speed,” said Hasegawa.
“I think we can come away from this weekend with some positivity. The team also did a good job with strategy and everyone worked incredibly hard today.”
The team’s double finish was made even more spectacular considering their starting positions – both Stoffel Vandoorne and Alonso had penalties, leaving them to start from the back.
“Despite having both cars starting from the back of the grid, it was a great result for the team that we were able to grab a point in the end,” said Hasegawa. “Both Fernando and Stoffel made brilliant starts, and fought around tenth place throughout the race.
“Fernando, who has had a good feeling in the car all weekend, drove a superb, dogged race to eventually snatch the final point.
“His drive today was full of passion and showed what an incredibly skilled driver he is, and I think he deserves to be praised. Stoffel had an incredible start and pushed hard all race long, therefore it is disappointing that he was unable to reach the points.”
Finally with the season drawing to a close, Hasegawa is keen to make the most of the team’s current partnership with McLaren, before the team switches to Renault power next season.
“Obviously we have only two more races to go as McLaren Honda, and we will continue to work together and finish in the best position we can.”