Honda to focus on top-end speed after McLaren's good start to 2016

Honda will focus on improving the top-end performance of its Formula 1 engine as McLaren looks to build on encouraging start to the 2016 season

Honda to focus on top-end speed after McLaren's good start to 2016

Last year was miserable for the reformed alliance, as a lack of power, poor reliability and problems with the energy recovery systems limited McLaren-Honda to ninth place in the F1 constructors' championship.

But the Honda power unit has showed better reliability and improved ERS performance over the first two grands prix of 2016, allowing the drivers to flirt with the top-10 in qualifying and Stoffel Vandoorne to score the team's first point of the season in Bahrain.

ANALYSIS: Why Honda is still up against it

Honda's new F1 engine chief Yusuke Hasegawa says work now needs to focus on finding more performance from the internal combustion engine.

"From an internal combustion engine point, from our target it isn't very far behind, [but] we clearly understood our top-end power isn't good enough," Hasegawa told Autosport.

"It is a very important point that it needs to improve, especially for overtaking not very strong cars.

"I don't want to disrespect, but even the Sauber or the Haas they [McLaren] struggle to pass.

"I think it's coming from the top-end speed, so we need more top-end speed - it's very clear."

Hasegawa refuted suggestions the new 2016 power unit produces less power than the engine used at the end of last season, but admitted power has been balanced against reliability to better enable McLaren to perfect chassis set-up.

"We thought just providing maximum power wouldn't make sense - we have to find a good balancing point from the reliability and the power," Hasegawa added.

"I don't want to create three-lap engines. To find the balancing point is a very important and difficult job; just getting maximum power is not difficult.

"We didn't save lots of the power, we're actually achieving maximum power nearly; we're already squeezing that.

"We will keep pushing to provide the extra power; so far it's almost equivalent as it was last year."

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