Just prior to learning that he would no longer be the Head of Honda’s F1 Project in 2018, Yusuke Hasegawa said it was a relief that the Japanese engine manufacturers three-year tenure with the McLaren F1 Team is over, and they can now concentrate on their new allegiance with Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Two fifth place finishes were the best results McLaren achieved in their three years back with Honda, with the final year seeing them finishing ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, ahead only of the Sauber F1 Team, and it was decided they would leave Honda to partner with Renault for 2018 and beyond.
Hasegawa admitted that whilst the relationship was still good with McLaren, there was relief that the partnership was now over, and the engine manufacturer can now focus on developing their power unit for Toro Rosso to use in 2018.
“Relief, yes. It is good to concentrate on next season,” said Hasegawa on Autosport. “You might not believe us but I don’t think we [McLaren and Honda] have a human issue. We have a very good relationship with McLaren.
“I don’t feel anything like it’s [a] fresh [start], it’s just up to us to concentrate now on making our engine better. So from that point of view it is no different, we still have a huge pressure from the inside and the outside.
“I’m pretty confident to work with Toro Rosso as well and it is exciting. It is a new challenge and having more information and creating new relationships with a different group is very exciting.
“But as I’ve always mentioned we have no plan to modify the engine concept so from that point of view we’ve already started next year’s engine development. So it’s not a big difference actually for our development group.”