END TO WOES?Marshals help McLaren Honda driver Fernando Alonso push his car after it broke down during the qualification for the Hungarian GP in Budapest, Hungary. Image: AP/ Ronald Zak
LONDON, England - Honda hopes to provide McLaren with a much better engine for the second half of the Formula 1 season following a dismal start to their partnership.
With F1 enjoying a break until the 2015 Belgian GP at the end of August, Honda motorsport head Yasuhisa Arai saw grounds for optimism ahead.
Arai said in a mid-season review on Wednesday (August 5): "I am confident that our reliability problems are now behind us which means we can turn our attention to increasing power.
"After the northern Summer shutdown our plan is to apply a new (specification) engine using some of our remaining seven tokens."
Engine manufacturers are allowed to continue development during the season using an agreed system of 'tokens' corresponding to various components.
Honda, who partnered McLaren during a dominant era in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has struggled to match rivals with the complex new V6 turbo hybrid power units that were introduced last season.
McLaren is ninth of the 10 teams after their worst start to a championship and drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have had to endure poor reliability and a lack of performance.
Arai recognised Honda had underestimated how tough a challenge they would encounter but, asked whether he was facing pressure from Honda board members to resign, said he was the right man to deal with it.
NOT GIVING UP
Arai said: "I hope to continue driving this project and I believe that our board members trust me emphatically."
He said Honda remained convinced that their compact power unit layout would ultimately prove very competitive despite problems with heat rejection.
"We now know which area is affected and in the second half of the season we will apply new parts to resolve the issue and apply more horsepower to improve our competitiveness."
The Honda boss said combustion was a key area for development. He said not all the upgrades would be ready for the Belgian GP at the end of August: "We want to change the characteristic with the chamber design and intake and exhaust system layout."
While the drivers would inevitably face further penalties in the coming months as a result of using too many engines, performance would improve, said Arai.
"After Spa we aim to improve every race, and hopefully we can start fighting for podiums. We will never stop fighting in 2015."