Honda dismisses need for revamp or F1 recruitment drive

Honda insists that its Formula 1 programme does not need an all-new approach nor a recruitment drive if it is going to deliver with McLaren.

On the back of a difficult British Grand Prix weekend, there have been suggestions that patience is wearing thin about the lack of progress being made as McLaren-Honda still finds itself battling for the lower point-scoring positions.

But Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai is convinced that the path that both Honda and McLaren are on is going to deliver, especially when his company can start focusing on performance gains.

"I think on both sides, in terms of aero and power, there is good progress," Arai told Motorsport.com.

"Aero area needs more time. We haven't run enough, so we need more data to investigate what has happened with new aero kit. But I think race-by-race we are getting better and more successful.

"Also on the power unit side there was no concern during the [British Grand Prix] weekend. I think we have almost fixed the reliability areas, so we have to move on to performance side after Silverstone."

No new approach

Honda's ongoing struggles prompted suggestions that the Japanese manufacturer should rethink its whole attitude to F1, perhaps by recruiting more staff from rivals or using more McLaren expertise.

But Arai is adamant that it is comfortable with its situation, and thinks that such a change will not deliver any change in its short term potential.

"We have discussed [the matter] with McLaren, and made a decision with them, for expertise on engine management," he explained.

"That is very important and we spent a lot of time with them, and finally made a decision to work together.

"And on the other side, with the power unit, it is very difficult for McLaren to help directly. Some ideas or some help is very important, and already we discussed it a lot. There is a good relation."

Regarding the suggestions of recruiting staff from rival engine manufacturers, Arai said: "I think this is very difficult. One is that, our development method – I think every company is different.

"So if someone is a good expert it would be very difficult for them to get involved in our company. So even if 'please come over right now' it would be very difficult. It would maybe take a year or two [to make a difference]."

Pressure on McLaren too

While McLaren has been putting daily pressure on Honda to improve, the engine company is also eager for the team to step up its car performance too so both parts of its package can work at their optimum.

"Honda always has pressure: not only from McLaren but also from my company. It is normal," added Arai.

"We are pushing: please increase and improve the aero and downforce. Now the downforce is so weak, so the driver cannot push the [accelerator] pedal after the corner. We lose the time, and finally the top speed is lower than the top teams, so we need more traction."

He added: "If the aero is getting better and improving race by race, then we have more competitiveness."

Key weeks

With Arai suggesting that Honda is close to getting on top of reliability, he says the next month will be crucial in sorting out its long-term strategy to deliver performance steps.

"The next few weeks are very important for us," he said. "It is very good to develop on the performance side the technology and to find out how effective the performance [step] will be. And to evaluate the performance steps for after the summer shutdown. It's step-by-step.

"Some areas still need more time: and we need a very deep think about when to use tokens and in which area."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Article type Breaking news
Tags honda