Honda holds fire on upgrade for now

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Honda holds fire on upgrade for now
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May 16, 2016, 3:26 PM

Honda plans to trial only some new control system updates at the Barcelona Formula 1 test this week, as it continues to evaluate how best tactically it can unleash proper upgrades to its engines.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31 makes a pit stop
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31 makes a pit stop
The McLaren MP4-31 of race retiree Fernando Alonso, McLaren is recovered back to the pits on the back of a truck
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31
Fernando Alonso, McLaren Honda

Although the Japanese manufacturer has elected against trialling any of its planned hardware changes to the power unit for now, it is still pushing to deliver several step changes over the course of the campaign.

With 14 development tokens remaining, it remains likely that it could spend the first batch for the Canadian Grand Prix, when new fuel is expected to come on board.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Honda's F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa said that the upgrade situation was based on tactical evaluation of how best to spend the tokens, rather than it waiting for developments to be ready.

"I haven't decided yet," he explained. "Although we are developing all the time, if we don't care about tokens we are ready to update.

"But I need to decide the tactics about which grand prix we have upgrades, so I cannot tell yet. We have no concrete plan."

When asked about what would be tested at Barcelona, Hasegawa said: "There is not a big hardware update, but there are some control items."

Canada opportunity

Honda's upgrades would have to come in line with when Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button move on to their next engines though, which would make Canada most likely especially if new fuel is ready for then.

"We don't need to use tokens for the fuel updates," added Hasegawa. "Any time that it is ready, if we change the fuel we have to change the mapping: so also it is reasonable and effective to have the update timing to this as well."

However, Honda said a scenario could open up for it to happen earlier if Alonso's engine suffered any problems as the result of the mode switch change that shut it off in Spain.

Hasegawa added: "We haven't decide when the next engine will come but first we need to check Fernando's engine is okay for Monaco.

"But we think it is fine. It was an unexpected mode switch that killed the engine. We don't know the cause of that happening, but we think the engine itself can be used for the next race. We need to check the situation."

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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren Shop Now
Author Jonathan Noble
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