Honda has revealed it had fears that Fernando Alonso’s engine had been damaged beyond repair in the first accident he suffered at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Spaniard had pulled off a brilliant start to leap up to a potential third place at the Marina Bay circuit, before he was caught up in the collision between Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen.
Although Alonso was able to get going again after the crash, the damage inflicted to his MCL32 was too severe – and a holed exhaust and failing electronics eventually forced him to retire to the pits.
In the wake of the race, though, Honda had genuine concerns that the impact and subsequent running had put too much strain through the power unit.
The Japanese manufacturer was worried it would have to be removed from Alonso’s pool of components – prompting the need for a new engine and grid penalties.
But speaking ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, Honda’s F1 engine chief Yusuke Hasegawa has said that examination of the engine at his company’s base has delivered some good news.
“We were concerned that it may have been irreparably damaged, but fortunately after a thorough check back at the Sakura factory we can confirm it is okay to be re-used,” explained Hasegawa.
While McLaren had a strong showing in Singapore, the team is well-aware that things will be tougher for it in Malaysia this weekend – thanks to the Sepang circuit’s long straights.
Alonso said: “The configuration will work less in our favour, but of course we will still fight for everything. There are six races left and we are still putting all our energy in finishing every race in the best possible position we can.
“Sepang will be more difficult for us in terms of set-up since the straights require good straight-line speed and power, but this track is a mixture of a lot of different characteristics, so we’ll see how much we can make up on the slower-speed corners.
“The 2017 cars will definitely be faster through there, which will surely be fun to experience, and I hope we can avoid any drama and have a solid race.”