Yusuke Hasegawa says he isn’t satisfied with Honda’s 2016 campaign, having expected more from the Japanese manufacturer in its second season in Formula 1.
After a disastrous return to the sport in 2015, Honda made major strides last year in terms of both speed and reliability.
The improvements in Honda’s power unit were also reflected in results, with McLaren-Honda scoring 76 points in 2016 as compared to 27 the previous year. It also gained three positions in the championship, finishing sixth in the season gone by.
But Hasegawa is not getting carried away by upturn in Honda’s pace, and instead believes it should have fared far better in 2016.
“2015 was obviously terrible, but it was the first year to prepare everything,” Hasegawa told Autosport. “That was a stage we needed to overcome naturally and from that point of view, this year’s progress is natural.”
“But I did expect a little bit more. I hoped we would have done a bit better. Also, I wasn’t expecting Force India and Haas would make such a good car”.
However, Hasegawa, who replaced Yasuhisa Arai at the helm of Honda’s F1 operations, is satisfied with how the Japanese manufacturer has got on top of the reliability problems that plagued its first season in F1.
“The biggest improvement point has been reliability so we have been able to do a very decent practice and running time at most grands prix,” he said.
“Still we have some issues, but mostly we have managed our weekend programme very well and this has allowed us to realise our performance.”
“I’m operating our PU inside of our reliability - I don’t do anything that exceeds that. If the mileage is 4000kms, I never exceed 4000kms. I won’t push beyond reliability.”
Honda will no longer be limited by engine tokens in 2017, with the FIA abandoning the concept to close the gap between the four manufacturers.
by Rachit Thukral