Reliability boosted at Honda after staff changes – Yusuke Hasegawa

by Rachel Hack

Honda have put their improved reliability this season down to a change in their staffing structure, and bringing in new recruits before and during the 2017 Formula 1 championship.

Having endured poor engine reliability since returning to the sport with the McLaren F1 team back in 2015, progress is finally starting to be made on that front this year.

The changes made primarily within the development area, are now starting to make a difference according to Honda Head of F1 Project Yusuke Hasegawa, who spoke of the Japanese manufacturer’s improvement, in an interview with recently.

“The reliability is much better. That is coming from the decision to modify our organisation at the beginning of the season.

“We had many issues, so we added more engineers, we replaced some engineers and we modified the structure of the development area.

“The improvement is also natural, because we started development ahead of the season and the performance gains are coming from eight months of work.”

Further minor changes within the team in Japan, were also implemented during April / May, and this too has now allowed Honda to start reaping the benefits.

“We have brought engineers into development from the mass production department. We knew it would not work as soon as they join and that it will take some time.”

Although McLaren Honda did not manage to score any points on home turf at the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix recently, Hasegawa was buoyed by the performance shown by the drivers in that race, especially Fernando Alonso who crossed the line in eleventh and just out of the points, having started from the back of the grid.

“We have shown some decent performance in Japan, we’ve been in the middle of the pack. We are racing with Williams, Haas and Renault. At some stages, we were quicker than they were.

“From a performance point of view, I think we are OK but obviously we are not satisfied we could not get a point.”

The Japanese engineer is confident a similar level of performance will be possible at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, and without too many grid penalties this time around, a positive result could well be on the cards.

“I think we can show the same level of performance of Suzuka.”

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