Honda promise McLaren a better engine from Spa
Under-fire Honda hope to provide McLaren with a much better engine for the second half of the Formula One season after a dismal start to their new partnership.
London: Under-fire Honda hope to provide McLaren with a much better engine for the second half of the Formula One season after a dismal start to their new partnership.
With Formula One enjoying a break until the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August, Honda motorsport head Yasuhisa Arai saw grounds for optimism ahead.
"I am confident that our reliability problems are now behind us which means we can turn our attention to increasing power," said the Japanese in a mid-season review on Wednesday.
"After the summer shutdown our plan is to apply a new (specification) engine using some of our remaining seven tokens."
Engine manufacturers are allowed to continue development during the season using an agreed system of `tokens` corresponding to various components.
Honda, who partnered McLaren during a dominant era in the late 1980s and early 1990s, have struggled to match rivals with the complex new V6 turbo hybrid power units that were introduced last season.
McLaren are ninth of the 10 teams after their worst start to a championship and drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have had to endure poor reliability and a lack of performance.
Arai recognised Honda had underestimated how tough a challenge they would encounter but, asked whether he was facing pressure from Honda board members to resign, said he was the right man to deal with it.
"I hope to continue driving this project and I believe that our board members trust me emphatically," he said.
Arai said Honda remained convinced that their compact power unit layout would ultimately prove very competitive despite problems with heat rejection.
"We now know which area is affected and in the second half of the season we will apply new parts to resolve the issue and apply more horsepower to improve our competitiveness," he added.
The Honda boss said combustion was a key area for development.
"We want to change the characteristic with the chamber design and intake and exhaust system layout," he said, adding that not all the upgrades would be ready for the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August.
While the drivers would inevitably face further penalties in the coming months as a result of using too many engines, performance would improve, said Arai.
"After Spa we aim to improve every race, and hopefully we can start fighting for podiums," he added. "We will never stop fighting in 2015."