Struggling Honda, the engine provider for McLaren is preparing for a significant upgrade of up to 50 horsepower after the summer break. Under pressure from Honda’s only works partner McLaren, with lack of performance and engine failure a constant issue, Honda’s F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai announced in Hungary that a big upgrade is finally coming after the summer break.
Various reports suggest that the upgrade will involve Honda trading in most or all of its remaining performance ‘tokens’, with the reports also saying that it will amount to about 45 horse power. McLaren team boss Eric Boullier had earlier highlighted the performance gap between his team and the big boys earlier in Hungary.
He was quoted saying, “We still lack 120hp compared to Mercedes. So we need to continue to work under high pressure.”
The Frenchman is also quoted by the Japanese broadcaster NHK, “I hope that Honda is aware of the situation and has a plan to make up for lost time.
“You cannot buy time of course, but you can add resources. So where 450 people is sufficient now for Mercedes, Honda needs 700 so that we can catch up,” said Boullier.
So far, Arai has resisted a lot of the pressure being applied by an increasingly distressed McLaren, which led to rumours that the Japanese might be stepped down. However, if reports are to be believed, Arai still has the backing of Honda’s new CEO Takahiro Hachigo.
Arai insisted that Honda made real progress in Hungary, where for the first time in 2015 the troublesome ‘power unit’ was reportedly run at full speed, which directly reflected on the team’s performance as both the driver’s finished in the points with Spaniard Fernando Alonso finishing at 5th and the British Jenson Button finishing 9th.
The F1 chief also said, “Honestly, I am very happy. I want to say thank you to the team and thank you for the support at the factories in Sakura (Japan) and Woking. There are many people working hard and the result can be seen now.”
McLaren have so far won 17 points this year and stand 9th among the 10 teams in the F1 constructors championship.