Honda worried about its Australian GP engine spec after test issues

Honda has admitted it now has worries about the specification of engine McLaren can run at the Australian Grand Prix, following its troubled first pre-season Formula 1 test

Honda worried about its Australian GP engine spec after test issues

The Japanese manufacturer had a tough time at Barcelona this week, suffering an issue with its oil tank design on the first day but then, more seriously, having a failure on day two.

To further compound Honda's problems, the engine did not appear to deliver the performance step hoped for.

There were even suggestions that, for reliability reasons, it was having to run in a state that produced less power than it had in 2016.

BEN ANDERSON: How much trouble is McLaren-Honda in?

Honda's F1 engine chief Yusuke Hasegawa insists that the oil tank redesign will not be a big job, but the fact the day two failure was a mystery was a proper concern.

"The first day we had an oil system issue," Hasegawa told Spanish TV station Movistar.

"Normally the oil tank has to manage the oil level but this year we had some bad oil management so that is why we need to modify the oil tank system.

"The second day we had a mechanical issue and still we don't know the root cause of the problem.

"This is more fundamental and more serious I think."

When asked if the problems could compromise Honda's start to the F1 season, Hasegawa said: "Oil tank, definitely not. The mechanical issue, I don't know, I'm yet to be confident about that, but of course I worry about that."

Honda is due to introduce its Melbourne-specification engine at the second Barcelona test next week, but its plan could be impacted by the results of the investigation into the failure.

The faulty power unit was removed from the car on Tuesday and flown immediately back to Japan, where thorough analysis is taking place but with no answer found as yet.

Should the work reveal a flaw in the engine design, it could impact on what Honda brings to the opening races.

Asked if the new engine that will run next week will be Melbourne-spec, Hasegawa said: "Yes. It is supposed to be, but we had a mechanical issue [so] currently I am discussing with Sakura members and Japanese members about next week's engine."

Given the high pre-season hopes that Honda could get closer to Mercedes this season, the troubled start to testing has been a blow to McLaren - and in particular Fernando Alonso.

While publicly both sides are keeping a brave face on matters, relations between Honda and McLaren behind the scenes are believed to be tense.

Hasegawa even hinted himself about the need for McLaren and Honda to "argue" in the situation they have found themselves in.

"In the tests, of course, this is a stage where we need to overcome a lot of trouble," he explained.

"So sometimes we need to argue or we need to have constructive discussion, but I think we are doing a very good job and we have a very good relationship."

shares
comments
Pat Symonds joins Sky Sports F1's commentary team for 2017

Previous article

Pat Symonds joins Sky Sports F1's commentary team for 2017

Next article

Ranking the 2017 Formula 1 cars so far

Ranking the 2017 Formula 1 cars so far
Load comments
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash Plus

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
The signs that suggest Mercedes can win the Silverstone F1 race Plus

The signs that suggest Mercedes can win the Silverstone F1 race

Red Bull and Max Verstappen scored an early blow against Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Silverstone, with sprint qualifying race victory. But that doesn’t mean Sunday’s grand prix is a foregone conclusion. Although Verstappen starts as the favourite, here’s why Mercedes still holds hope of winning

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2021
Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success Plus

Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success

Formula 1 returns to Silverstone this weekend, but despite its familiarity to all the teams it is no picnic. Here are five of the key points for engineers to consider prior to the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 16, 2021
The changing faces of F1’s British GP conquerors Plus

The changing faces of F1’s British GP conquerors

The British Grand Prix is where the world championship began in 1950. STUART CODLING looks at six of Formula 1's era-defining cars which have all scored memorable victories in its original race

Formula 1
Jul 15, 2021