McLaren engine supplier Honda says it will now switch its focus from reliability to gaining outright performance as it seeks to close the gap to the frontrunners, particularly on the straights where it lacks top speed.
The Japanese manufacturer split its time over the winter between finding power and improving reliability following a difficult return season which saw it far exceed the allowed number of power units between its drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
However much of their reliability woes look to have been resolved according to Honda’s F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa.
“We concentrated on reliability first and I think we improved the reliability areas, although we had issues [in Bahrain],” he explained, referencing Button’s ERS failure.
“Now [we will focus] on the internal combustion performance – power – as we know that the current power isn’t good enough to get a Q3 position. So that’s what I can tell… I think the current performance is reasonable.”
When asked about which particular area the gains will come from, Hasegawa added: “Engine power and engine combustion, we have to improve that. Still we have a lack of end of straight speed, so it is everything [that needs improvement].”
Honda currently has 14 tokens remaining to spend this season and it’s believed they may use some to introduce an upgrade at the first European race of the season in Spain in mid-May.