The former Head of Honda’s F1 Project, Yusuke Hasegawa, believes the decision to reduce the limit of permitted engines in Formula 1 from four to three in 2018 is not reasonable, and technically will be extremely difficult to manage.
The decision was made to reduce the number of power units on cost grounds, but with teams struggling to go through 2017 with just the four units, and with an additional round on the schedule in 2018, Hasegawa believes it was not the right move to go to three, even if he feels the Honda unit has seen improvements during the past twelve months.
“It’s very tough,” said Hasegawa. “It’s not just for us. Renault had difficulties. I don’t think it’s reasonable. From a technical point of view, it’s difficult. If we save the engine performance, it’s easy to achieve. If we use 2000rpm lower, of course we can finish, but there’s no point.
“At this moment, we need to concentrate on reliability, to get an engine to do seven races. But we need to improve performance too. It’s good we have a baseline. We need to confirm the current engine is OK. As soon as we confirm that, we’ll do the next step.”
Hasegawa also feels the switch to three units will benefit those with Mercedes and Ferrari power in particular, and it means the initial engine, which will be for their new partners at Scuderia Toro Rosso, must be good as there is only scope for two penalty-free upgrades throughout the year.
“As a consequence, yes,” said Hasegawa. “We have discussed many times. With three engines, it means we only have two chances to introduce a new [upgraded] engine.
“We need to introduce a good engine at the start, but if we don’t, we only have two chances to introduce a new engine. Reducing cost is important, so I support cost reduction.”