NOT ON THE BUTTON: Jenson Button's Honda-powered McLaren F1 car has not lived up to its expectations in 2015. Image: AP / Miguel Morenatti.
TOKYO, Japan - Honda is not yet abandoning the idea of powering the McLaren Formula 1 team to the winner's podium in 2015.
McLaren-Honda, amid all the hype about the reunion of the two ultra-successful names in F1, has struggled so far in 2015 but the MP4-30 has made significant progress since the Melbourne season-opener and driver Fernando Alonso has suggested Q3 and a points finish might be a realistic target for his home race in Barcelona this weekend (May 10).
IMPROVEMENT STILL NEEDED
"Day by day," agreed Honda's F1 chief Yasuhisa Arabi in a chat with Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat. "We can see real progress. I'm confident our efforts will yield results."
Arai admitted that Bahrain was a terrible weekend for Jenson Button, whose troublesome car did not even make the grid, "but I am sure that we will be able to solve the problems. We've worked hard for the first European race.
"We have not yet achieved the results we wanted but we've already been able to improve a lot, which we could see with Alonso's qualifying and race performance in Bahrain. I would say we're on the way up the mountain, although not yet at the top.
"The podium is our hope and aspiration for the remaining 15 races."
Arai, asked if F1's new 'power unit' era had proved more difficult for Honda than first imagined, replied: "I would not say more difficult, but more diverse. It's important for Honda to change its working culture so we're fine-tuning the harmonisation, mechanical work, learning and leadership."Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 season.