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Honda boss reveals reasons for 2017 woes but claims gap to F1 leaders is ‘closing’
McLaren Honda
Posted By: Editor   |  21 Jul 2017   |  3:23 pm GMT  |  117 comments

Honda Formula 1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa has revealed why McLaren-Honda’s power unit has been so woeful in 2017 while remaining optimistic that Honda is ‘closing the gap’ with F1’s frontrunners.

McLaren sits last in the constructors’ standings having earned two points this season as engine manufacturer Honda has struggled to provide a competitive engine and hybrid unit. The latest in a series of problems occurred at Silverstone as Fernando Alonso retired late on with a fuel pump issue.

Though the team scored its first points of its season in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix (June), Honda hasn’t shown much in the way of recovery. Head of Honda’s F1 programme, Hasegawa, explained that in an interview with Honda the nature of Honda’s issues and why they remain unresolved.

“We introduced a new power unit concept this year, so I would almost call this ‘Year One’,” Hasegawa said.

“Last year the engine concept was completely different. That’s why we really needed to change the whole engine concept this year.

“Roughly speaking, it takes almost a year to design a completely new engine. So that’s why we started 2017’s engine development last May. So this year’s power unit was built up at the end of last year.

“However, when we fired up the complete engine for the first time, we could see it wasn’t delivering the durability or performance in accordance with our expectations. We also found many minor issues. So we needed to modify tiny bits.

The major issues facing Honda

“After resolving these [minor issues], we started to test the full concept at the start of this year – call it Spec Zero as it was the initial one – and before the first winter test we confirmed that it ran on the dyno.

“At that moment we knew that the power was not [being delivered] to our target.

“Then, at the Barcelona test, we found more issues on the car, such as the oil tank issue. It was a car-related issue. This is not a complete engine issue, but of course it is very important.”

“The oil tank is one of the biggest items, so we have a rig for the oil tank but we cannot recreate the same types of G-forces and conditions as in the car.

“The second issue was down to the vibrations. On the dyno, the model is stiffer and heavier, so it doesn’t create any synchronised vibrations, but on the car – with the gearbox and the tyres – there is a much lower level of inertia.

“Low inertia does not always create vibrations but it’s completely different from the dyno and that’s why we suffered a huge vibration on the car. Of course, we were aware some level of vibration would come in the car but it was much bigger than we expected.”

In essence, Hasegawa said that the fault emerged as tests using the dyno and Honda’s other equipment provided a different picture to real-life testing.

The forces acting on the car weren’t, and still aren’t, replicated accurately enough in the factory to provide a representative picture of how the Honda power unit performs in race conditions. Solutions take time to prepare and apply, as Hasegawa goes on to say.

Upgrades take place ‘almost every race’

“Something like the combustion system takes longer for testing and [production]. So we cannot set a target just for two weeks later – normally such an upgrade takes something more like half a year.

“Spec 2 was introduced in Barcelona, and we were already working on Spec 3,” Hasegawa says. Spec 3 engines have now been rolled out to both drivers.

“If we still had the token system we wouldn’t have been able to change the whole engine modification for this season and also introduce the Spec 2 and Spec 3 power units.

“I haven’t counted how many tokens it would cost so I don’t know for sure, but maybe it would be difficult to modify and introduce the current Spec 3 engine using last year’s token system.”

Hasegawa also said that engines are upgraded “almost every race…but we don’t always call it an upgrade because sometimes it is a countermeasure for the durability or reliability issues.

“Also for weight reduction we improved many areas: last year we changed the induction system from aluminium to carbon. That type of update is easier to introduce, but the core performance has not changed.

“So when the material changes or something like that, that’s a different type of update.”

On the rest of the season and beyond: ‘We are closing the gap’

Honda is working on the Spec 4 power unit while developing its 2018 engine. Hasegawa maintains that the current engine design will carry over to next year as it has the potential to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari; Honda will not panic and completely overhaul its power unit.

“I get excited when we bring an update, because it can lead to increased expectations of scoring points or similar,” Hasegawa admits. “But still we need more from our other updates to catch up to the level of Mercedes and Ferrari.

“I am definitely confident that we are closing the gap to the leaders so, from that point of view, our speed of development is good. But at the same time it is natural for the follower because you have a target that you know is achievable.”

“We don’t stop developing, we need to keep updating. Of course the performance and results are the most important things but it’s all learning for the future too. Compared to last year we needed to modify the engine concept, but next year we will keep the same concept.

“It’s good that we can use the same concept because this year’s development and improvement is directly connected to next year. So that means we don’t need to stop the current development, and from that point of view we have already started next year’s design.

“But our aim is to develop the 2017 concept into the 2018 season and hopefully 2019 as well. So, the engine weight, centre of gravity and the combustion concept is all going in the same direction as the other three engine manufacturers.”

Do you think Honda will recover from its 2017 issues, or will 2018 tell a similar story? Have your say in the comment section below.


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Mclaren should give them one more year and if it fails next year then ditch them I’m ever the optimist and if Honda turn it around which I say could happen look at year two with there first engine Sauber may be wishing they had done the deal.


It sounds to me like Honda’s biggest mistake is they didn’t get the concept right initially and wasted those first two years. I find the negative comments towards them a bit ignorant, very very few truly understand what a project like this actually entails. I am frustrated as a fan watching them get this wrong so far, but they have the capability to get this right. The fact that they haven’t should only serve to underline what a challenge this engine is rather than used to paint Honda as inept.


Something has changed with Honda. My 1983 Honda 4 cylinder motorcycle is brilliant. Arguably a first sport tourer. But, in last decades they can not build an off-road motorcycle with a basic clutch that works. Then they manufactured a hydrostatic transmission motorcycle as if that were a good idea or were cutting edge? In 1970 I was a kid plowing fields with a 966 Hydro International tractor! Basically a 100 hp diesel turning a variable displacement hydraulic pump turning a variable displacement motor mated to a two speed final drive. Hydrostatic transmissions have no mechanical efficiency. They are rated for specific industrial/farming applications and lawn mowers. What decision making apparatus at Honda thought a hydrostatic transmission made any sense as a motorcycle transmission? Convincing arguments are made that Honda decision making is too top heavy. A counterpoint might suggest that when old man Honda passed on- Honda passed on.


Hello James,

McLaren exists to Win. Do you think, absurd as it may sound, that if McLaren-Honda do not sort out the lack of performance and get back to the front of the grid by 2019, The Bahrainis, the Tag Heueur guy, Zak Brown and co could sell the team to Mercedes or alike? (Maybe Aston Martin or another British major brand?


Never say never but, I don’t think they’d sell to those brands.

I think they want to build a world class tech brand with a racing team and automotive marque at the heart of it and they are doing quite well, with the exception of the current performance level of the F1 cars


Why isn’t this engine pounding around tracks installed in the back of a test mule / ex Le Mans racer (not an F1 car)? Why must they do all their development on a dyno? Honda even own their own race track, surely this would give them ‘real world’ testing without breaching the F1 test restrictions.


Its phrases like this – “The forces acting on the car weren’t, and still aren’t, replicated accurately enough in the factory to provide a representative picture of how the Honda power unit performs in race conditions.” – gives us little hope or optimism.
Given the role the block plays as a fundamental part of the chassis, to not be able to simulate additional G forces or applied stresses on the block and ancillaries means that Honda is totally in the dark. Aside from the lack of power, the lack of reliability surely points towards track and car induced issues. This isn’t McLaren’s fault one assumes because it surely have Honda adequate information on driveline inertia and stress maps.

The “Of course, we were aware some level of vibration would come in the car but it was much bigger than we expected.” This seems to indicate that little or no vibration measurements were undertaken using accelerometers and that they were unaware or, worse, unable, simulate the effect that the vibration (a lot of which probably comes from pre-ignition) would have on the drive line components.

What a sorry state of affairs for such a capable and proud company.


Improvement from this level is certain. I suspect, too, that Honda has maintained a core of engineers on the project who have actually learned from their experiences. With the help they have received, there is surely enough talent and will to move ahead. Still, they face a moving target – they could beat every lap record set this year next year and still be last, couldn’t they?


Assuming McLaren are still using Honda engines next year, as seems increasingly likely, it’s easy to speculate what will happen.

Year 1 of McLaren Honda was similarly disastrous to year 3 which exposes some fairly catastrophic correlation issues with their test facilities Vs real-world conditions.

Year 2 ironed out many of those gremlins, reliability improved as each race was effectively a test day, exposing design flaws which to Honda’s credit they were able to fix.

Year three was a total reset in that they introduced a new, but ironically more conventional concept and the cycle from year one started again.

Therefore logic dictates that year four will be similar to year two i.e. regular points, improved reliability, but nowhere near the podium.

Unless a rival team goes and reinvents the wheel they should just about be coming good just in time for a fresh set of problems in 2021.

Unless of course they can find some good solutions in their test facility.


Just as well they only have ‘issues’ and no problems.


I have a nagging suspicion that despite all the crap we have seen from Honda over the last 2 seasons that they are on a good trajectory of improvement for the rest of this season and may even surprise us in 2018…


Words and more words…….that’s all we get.


Masashi Yamamoto, the Honda General Manager of Motor Sports Division: as per contract until 2021, McLaren can’t change engines.
“I’m always in contact with Takahiro Hachigo, CEO of Honda, and we have no intentions to retreat from F1”.
“McLaren can’t use another engine on a temporary basis either”.


It’s telling that he doesn’t do what the article title says, explain the reasons. All he does is list a lot of issues that occured.

It’s like if I say the reason for me being late for the meeting is that I couldn’t find my car keys, I had to get petrol, I forgot the way and I couldn’t find a park. But the actual reason is that I am massively disorganised.

What’s Honda’s real reason?


And yet Mercedes build a brand new engine for 2014 and win the championships in its first year.


That’s just not true. The current engine regs were announced in 2011. So Mercedes had a least 3 years of development alone, without the need to race and develop at the same time. But it’s actually better than that, the hybrid part of the engine was under heavy development from 2009.

The fact is Honda still has 2 years, or arguably 4 years to go, in which to match the same development pace as Mercedes.


Actually it is true. If you read what I wrote with care, and without emotion, I do not refer to the amount of time that Mercedes took to develop the engine. Instead, I point out that in its first year of competition, the engine was winning championships, unlike the Honda engine which, in its first year of competition, was more of an embarrassment. Two stars against your name. Not sure what that means.


“Mercedes build a brand new engine for 2014”

That’s what you posted “a brand new engine for 2014”, the fact is it was a brand new engine in 2011 not 2014. In fact the energy recovery sections of the engine were “brand new” back in 2009.

Maybe what you should have posted was “Mercedes built a brand new engine between 2009 and 2013 and raced it for the first time in 2014 and won the championships in that year”. I would have no argument with that.

My point was that your claim reads as if Mercedes built an engine from scratch and won a championship in one year, when the fact is it took them 5 years. We should give Honda the same 5 years and then any comparison is valid. The difference is Mercedes did their development away from the races whereas Honda are doing for everyone to see. We don’t know how many engines Mercedes blew up in their 5 years of testing, could be many more times than what Honda has.


Talk is cheap and we’ve heard this all before from Honda. However I do think McLaren are better off sticking with them and hoping they eventually come good rather than changing to the Merc. If they switch to Merc there is no way they would be allowed to win. The factory team will always be a step ahead. And the best they could hope for is 4th or 5th probably behind the other factory teams and battling it out with the Williams and Force Indias for best if the rest customer teams. At least if they stick with Honda they have a chance of winning if Honda can eventually get their act together.


Not one poster appears to have read a previous JAoF1 article where it clearly explained why Honda were so far behind?

Amazing, almost as daft as Honda themselves.

So, how many F1 people from the British F1 community have Honda now hired ?

People who have come from the successful 1,6 hybrid PU era teams Mercedes, Ferrari and know how to make them work, how many have HRC now hired ?

Because HRC were failing because they have always used HRC to train engineers, believing that their natural brilliance and massive resources would win. It didn’t, this was flagged, so obviously they have hired experienced F1 hands who know what to do, rather than staggering around playing a billion dollar game of blind man’s buff right?

After it was so clearly pointed out where they failed ? Surely ?


I believe the engine is getting quicker but the reliability is worse than Ilmor was. And the Ilmor was very quick.


It seems to me there are two issues with Honda.

First, your dealing with a corporate culture that has decided to throw millions of dollars at McLaren and to design and build a Honda F1 PU. Honda appear to be approaching this task with a much longer time frame than the typical hyper productive FI team. I’m sure to Honda they are doing fine and making progress, and financing the payroll at McLaren, why should they worry when its not in their culture to acknowledge an elephant, let alone one in the room.

Second, the corporate culture seems to be relying on solutions from Honda engineers. Now I’ve read here and elsewhere that they do have euro engine designers on staff, and whether they are listening to them or not who knows, but the bottom line is the data to build a respectable F1 PU is out there and you simply need to acquire it. Honda in contrast, seem to persist with fresh young Japanese engineers and constant iteration around already known solutions. Given the number of years they have invested in this endeavor to date, they do not appear to actually be bringing anything new and innovative to the table to get the job done.

Honda might want to consider hiring an European to head the F1 PU project, as they have an American I believe, head the Indy Car engine project in the US.


Earlier this year Yasuke Hasegawa told about their 2017 engine to “As a matter of fact we were thinking [it was] too easy, and it was too difficult to achieve the new technology – that was my mistake,”. And this statement was followed by rather silly excuses, basically they oversimplified the task in their minds and overestimated their capabilities and patted themselves with much pride on their untested achievements on a mono cylinder prototype. I lost respect for Honda for such an outrageous statement. I don’t think there is any exception to the rule if you want to do anything well in any walk of life, then it is never going to be easy no matter how small or big the task. I assuming a stereotype here because I am sure the new generation of Engineers are somewhere affected by this. And that is the Eastern culture is must too invested in virtual world in every aspect of their lives and maybe it time for them to realize that real world is much different because it works on laws not invented by humans. By the way I don’t think Honda will be able to catch up to Mercedes, Ferrari or Renault…issue is not Time but Honda itself (philosophy, process, self critique etc)…and sadly Honda is not able to look at itself objectively and honestly. Honda needed to work like an Artist but they approached the task like a Donkey.


One thing is sure, if Sauber switches to Honda, they are definitely the furthest back next year too!… Only two can win, Mercedes and Ferrari, (and perhaps RB) how fun is that!?


“Honda will not panic and completely overhaul its power unit.”

You mean AGAIN, don’t you, Hasegawa San?


What a load of… lameness!


It is easy to blame Honda for being incompetent. However, look at Ferrari and Renault. It is not as if they have been beating Merc engine on a regular basis. In spite of all the time and expertise, they are at least 0.5 sec behind and there is no hope that they will catch Merc this year. Honda’s failure is notable but the bigger story is Ferrari and Renault’s failures.


agree, FHonda, Renault and Ferrari cannot compete without Merc sandbagging. Plus add to this the massive gap from the works Merc to the customer Merc engine, almost always lapped in races.

Imagine if the customer Merc engines could easily beat the Red Bulls, to race the Ferraris, could Merc be worried that something would be done about their monopoly and marketing using F1.

Remember when Williams made the mistake of daring to take pole from the works Mercs way back in Austria 14…


FIA banned testing to contain costs and help small teams be more successful. Big teams simply redirected funds to state of art simulators and test rigs. Small teams still struggling because sponsors aren’t interested in supporting teams that can’t win. Potential simple answers:
1) Teams more that 20% adrift on points allowed to conduct unlimited in-season testing (yes, very expensive, but would help Honda get its act together) and could even help a Sauber sort its aero. Key problem: Mercedes/Ferrari would benefit from this because customer teams could test upgrades.
2) Apply equalisation (ie. extra weight and/or slower tyre compounds) to winning teams.

Ultimately F1 needs more manufacturers, not less. We should do everything to help Honda and other m/f’s be successful. Even when they display breathtaking incompetence. (Seriously, how did they build a rig that is so far adrift of in-car vibration standards?!)


An interesting read, but I am disappointed that Honda appear to have got it so wrong for the past 3 years! Admittedly last time round in the 80’s it did take them a while to get their act together. However they were able to do a lot of track testing, now they can’t which must make Dealing with these issues challenging! The real shame is that this years chassis from McLaren looks a good one, but the PU issues mean we won’t know how good it is. This must be immensely frustrating for McLaren and the drivers, especially Alonso!


I’ve changed my mind on Honda. I think they are on the right track now and McLaren should stick with them. Clearly the engine has improved. I also think McLaren and Red Bull should team up and both be Honda works teams as they risk being permanently sidelined by the engine manufacturers works teams (like Williams have become).


I hope Honda jumps ship to Red Bull. Better drivers and a better chassis. Soon, it will be Mclaren undeserving of the Honda PU.


Or at the very least run a Honda in the Toro Rosso with the option for Red Bull if it eventually outperforms the Renault.


Its true Honda have not made the grade so far in F1.

Despite their failings Im not ready to write them off yet and I do admire thier persistence in the face of everyone hanging it on them. F1 needs as many manufacturers as it can get.

Incredibly complicated, amazing (& poor sounding) PU’s havent done them any favours.
If you look back how long did it take for Merc to win with a v10? The bottom line for me is uf Honda stay at it they will get there……eventually.


They will get there the Honda way, yes.


by the time they vaguely figured what needs to be done, will be 2020 and regulations will be changed again to YEAR 1 ! different engine !



I would guess the ICE will be kept more or less the same and the electric components will be simplified (and harder to get wrong).


and you can bet that Brixworth have running already at least one version of what they think the new engine riules will be!


Will be interesting to see how they go at Hungary. Stoffel qualified quite well at Silverstone considering its was power circuit.


Won’t McLaren feel sick if they drop Honda and they get it right. There’s obviously a lot of pride/shame involved so if they don’t pull the plug you better believe Honda will throw everything at it. I would give it another year.


There is definitely progress being made by Honda. Not the time for McLaren to ditch them.


I agree, but I actually hope they do just as Honda is turning the corner and Honda runs to Red Bull.


Honda will be lucky if they reach Renaults power in 2018 by which time Renault have taken another few steps forward. McLaren had a V6 Merc engine for a year so surely McLaren knew what the Honda engine needed to produce.


They used it, doesn’t mean they reverse-enginered it. And the merc pu general architecture wasn’t a secret for long either…


For a manufacturer with previous F1 experience, this all seems a bit amateurish.


I think the Honda Boss must be sniffing some high octane fuel as he is getting high on his own balderdash and piffle.
It’s one excuse after another .
Mclaren you only chance is to have a word with Porsche and get a too notch engine made.
Then we can have a German battle with Mclaren Porsche👍and Petronas Mercedes👍.
Ferrari can pootle along trying get past Max V.
Get Lando Norris at Mclaren with Alonso👍.
Stoffel and Max in the Red Bulls😈.
Maybe I’m getting the Japanese high octane fumes also😵😆


Revealed why Hondas power unit has been so woeful in 2017

He forgot to mention 2016 and 2015.
I feel sorry for Honda, it’s embarrassing for them. But we seem to hear the same thing from them every time.
I hope they do get things sorted, and quickly. But right now, listening to there explanations, it’s making them into a laughing stock. Sorry Honda😳


The Silvastone Globo TV broadcast mentioned that Toro Rosso already signed Honda for next year.
The source was their own producer.


Honda have been all talk and no action for years. They are jokers. Time to leave.


After all McLaren have been through with Honda, Honda is now saying “Let’s just call this year one”. What and forget the last two miserable years?


Attributed to the Editor.
Would that editor care to express whether or not he swallowed this line?
Publish is one thing. Believing is another ….and….well….we’ve heard so much utter BS from these incompetents this season.
Just go will you Honda.


I’m not convinced. Sounds like typical PR talk.

Achieve reliability, then develop for performance – it’s the proper way to go forward. Can’t do both at the same time – yet they keep sliding down the same slope.

It’s frustrating for us fans to watch, I can imagine that it’s exponentially more demotivating for mclaren staff to develop chassis and aero, knowing the PU can’t pull it’s own weight.

Considering the rate of development, Honda spec 4 and 5 will be on par with Renault 2015 or 2016 spec at best


Once the new combustion is introduced, a rather large gain should be realized.


I don’t know which year it was but Honda claimed their ICE part of the PU was more powerful than the Renault.

So What was their weakness then? Only the Electrical regeneration? RIght now their ICE has also gone south being full of Vibrations? (Am I right on that?) So in the mean time have the batteries, regeneration, deployment improved?

Also from an article about Cosworth wanting to come to F1 again provided the Heat energy regenerated from the Turbo bit is scrapped. How does this tech really work? Does any road car use this? Is it frightfully important? This is new.

Perhaps a future article will also shed some light on this part of the Hybrid system.


It is harmonics with the rest of the rear of the car. The dyno set-up dampened the vibrations. He states they expected vibrations, but didn’t expect the interaction they got with the rear of the car once on track.


How many road cars have a v6 configuration with a single turbo ever?


Good news Honda will get there ….


So much shit in this comment section. A bunch of losers like the author himself.
All guys that designed hundred of PUs so they know how it should be done.


I’m going to quote a long time friend and mentor of mine here “I’m not saying I could do better, I’m saying they could do better”


You’d think they would if they had the choice.


Helmut, have you forgotten your daily dose of redbull again?


Is that you Yusuke?
意地悪 弱虫


So many losers…. and you still feel the need to come here then.
Says a lot about you aswell🤔


When you get angry Marko go for a walk first. Look at a sunset. Smell a flower. Do something else rather than going on a website and abusing people. Your words are just a reflection of how you feel about yourself you know.


I feel Honda should just not say anything more about their powertrain until the day they manage catch-up to the rest of the grid. Right now their lack of actual performance is less irritating than their constant need to issue these useless updates about how close they are.


Don’t read them.


i really want to say that


My sentiments to!👍🏻


Feel so sorry for McLaren and Alonso!
What F1 misses are the best drivers, tragic! There are only three top drivers at the moment!
Alonso, one of the best, how often does he score?
Furthermore, it’s sad that F1 does not have the best drivers, due to markets, we need two South Americans, etc. F1 is more of a market place!


When ya look at the “pu” sagas of RB and McL, they are different, yet similar. Both are still with their “supplier” – even if one now carries a different “badge.” Both are lacking in power and their performance isn’t what the constructors require.

The difference seems to be in how the constructor handled the situation. One has tried to be the “gentleman” and go along to get along but the other slapped the supplier about for the better part of a season. Seems the slapping about provided better results in terms of performance. While that’s just what it looks like from outside, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here. . . ?


Funny, Renault openly sympathized with Honda’s situation. I’d like to see Honda move to RB and Mclaren fall off the map.


Sorry but it is really hard to take Honda seriously anymore. Was their 2016 unique engine even weaker than their current one at the start of the year?? If so why change design? I find it to be really suspect that a company would spend hundreds of millions and only this year realise their dyno isn’t accurately reflecting on track results.. didn’t they know that from the prior two years? What did they even learn from the years before this?

Effectively Yusuke is saying the tank issue is a Mclaren issue, which tells me they aren’t working together efficiently enough… not compared to Mercedes who fight for every millisecond. I’m all aggrieved that Button had to wind his career down with their lousy engine, and now Alonso also. Hearing details like this makes me think Alonso should head off to Renault.. at least they are building everything under one roof.. instead of here where two companies are building things separately and seemingly unaware of issues till it’s far too late. By my calculations given their progress in specs they’ll need to get to Spec 9 before they’re close to Ferrari.


Alonso is done for in F1. If he wants to experience winning again, he should move to IndyCar and sports cars. I think they are his only hope.


Though ironically Button got his WDC because of Honda’s previous poor F1 engine that Ross Brawn replaced with the Mercedes!


No. Even the Honda unit that year was due for an upgrade Iike what was gifted to Renault.

harvey bushell

If by “closing” he means “not closing” then sure, “closing”.


He means closing, when Fernando puts on slicks on a damp track in Q1, that tiny bit before it blows up or breaks down again.

or closing because a DNF is better than a DNS…


After two years in the sport plus the prior development time, why were their facilities unable to anticipate the stresses on their test engine? What’s different from their facilities and those of Renault, Mercedes, and Ferrari? What has Honda done to make sure they do not recreate the same mistakes?


The difference is a Mclaren gearbox and rear end.


It’s good that he’s being a bit more open about the catastrophic performance he has been responsible for, but it’s really only a tiny bit more open and he still seems to be in denial.
He says they didn’t have enough time before the start of the season, but he doesn’t admit that they should have begun the 2017 development much earlier than they did and that he is personally responsible for that failure.
He blames the discrepancy between the dyno and real-world conditions, but he doesn’t admit that this a huge failing and a firm like Honda ought to be able to establish a valid dyno system as it’s fundamental to the ability to design an engine.
He admits that excess vibration is at the root of the problems, but he doesn’t say whether and if so when they’re going to be able to get it down to a tolerable level.
He doesn’t apologise to their partners for their complete failure this season, and acknowledge how much it has cost their partner, both in reputational terms and in points-related FOM revenue going forward.
He really should have been sacked by now, but the fact that there seem to be no consequences for failure at Honda is the most worrying thing of all, in terms of whether they might ever become a respectable F1 engine builder in the future.

Kevin McCaughey

I would nearly agree with you, but is he actually maybe the best person they have got to do the job? The Japanese insistence on keeping it all Japanese may be running against them here – I think they need international level talent to get this engine running.


You should read more Hasegawa interviews rather than an article that pulls quotes from another article. But you probably know better because you read a few quotes. He has several Japanese interviews where he takes full responsibility. I also don’t think you understand even these small quotes based on your assumptions of the underlying issues.


An industry veteran (can’t remember who) wrote that another fundamental problem is that Honda insists on using its customary development strategy of doing everything in Japan with engineers whom the rotate through the racing departments then return them to consumer manufacturing. As a result, everything takes much longer to do, teams are too fluid and always staffed with a number of newbies. In contrast, all other teams are in Europe and develop teams over the long term.

By the way, Honda has the talent. It has been in the first rank in IndyCar, sports cars, and motorcycle racing for years. It just seems to have made such a colossal blunder in its F1 strategy that correcting it, given F1’s restrictions, will take forever.


Yes I heard that they had a higher proportion of juniors on this programme than ideal and that backfired on them, needed some more experienced heads there


They had more experience with this second design. The development phase was far too short compared to the design phase in my opinion.

Ricciardo Aficionado

He really should have been sacked by now,

Isn’t Hasegawa the guy who replaced the guy who did get sacked?



Tornillo Amarillo

What would you think if your mechanic’s cannot make your car works for 4 freaking years ??

And this is Formula 1 !!


Or if your aero engineer was the worlds best, paid very well, but he could do nothing to come close to compete with the works Merc PU.


This is where F1 fails: They limit testing to reduce costs, but end up making things extra expensive due to the need of test rigs, computing power and simulation tools.
Yes they’ll sort the worst of their problems, sooner or later, but will they catch up with Mercedes? Not so sure about that.

Tornillo Amarillo

😉 There is simply not enough buttons for Hasegawa’s crew.


Once you hear from Honda you see they have been a bit brave taking this on and then suffering all the uninformed backlash.
The assumption they would have some advantage seeing the other cars running around for a year is wrong. Its not like photographing a wing then figuring out whats going on in a wind tunnel.
Mercedes probably had all the concepts developed before suggesting the new power unit spec at the initial meetings.
Its worth remembering ferrari and renault have been inferior most of the last 4 years.
Big mistake was having big time superstars driving and all the media drubbing they
whip up.
Hope Mclaren haven’t shot themselves in the foot this year and its worth noting
Ron Dennis kept a better lid on the frustrations at Mclaren.


I think that is pretty accurate with what you’re saying mem…mid to late in their first year they realised or it was suggested that they had gone in the wrong direction experimentally with a more compact unit…smaller fan/s, chamber (cough cough) etc but how can you back paddle with the then regulations/token system.

The positive to take from this it seems they are willing to consolidate be it copying Merc or taking a few leaves as it was strongly suggested by many F1 journo’s and experts rather than just bow out.


As excuses go, that’s a pretty lame one. So next year they might have a new concept? And then the clock is reset to year zero or whatever.


Reading this, you’d think Honda haven’t a clue what they’re doing(!) It must be 4 years since they started and they still haven’t managed to develop a realistic method of testing the parts they make. Oil tank? Can’t test that…Vibrations? Can’t test for them…Durability and performance? Not what we expected. Why don’t they just find a big hole and poor money straight into it – it would save all the messing about?


So there’s a defined target; they know they’re nowhere near the target and aren’t aiming to exceed the current spec Merc, Ferrari or even Renault engines; they’re really, really, long-term focused… If I were the last team in the championship right now, I don’t know what I’d be thinking except… sheeeeeeeeeeeet…


The reason the large change in architecture was made was to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari.

Tornillo Amarillo

Get these jokers out of F1, they are an embarrassment.

Can’t engineer anything even remotely competitive or reliable therefore:

1) Run and hide and say nothing for ages
2) When the relationship collapses, blame the car not the PU…
3) The oil problem is a car issue nowt much to do with engine.
4) The vibration is a car issue, it was fine on the dyno, stupid wobbly McLaren.
5) When you fail, reset everything and call it Year Zero AGAIN.
6) Pretend Spec Current+1 will fix everything, when it fails just discuss Spec Fail+1

McLaren don’t want another failed Honda.
F1 fans don’t want another failed Honda.
Heck, Sauber don’t even want Honda!

They’ve had their chance, Formula PU F1 is incompatible with Honda, next up is Renault. Unlucky Max, Dan, Alonso, Stoff, Hulk, Carlos Jr etc, Liberty and the FIA don’t appear to give a hoot.

Kevin McCaughey

I would have some faith in French engineering and even they can’t match Ferrari/Merc. I think the current PU is just far to complicated. V8 and a turbo with some energy recovery from brakes.

Ricciardo Aficionado

I’d rather have Honda there battling to compete rather than only two manufacturers who can actually compete. McLaren wouldn’t be winning with a manufacturers engine so they might as well stick it out. Hopefully Honda come good and can power a few more of the independant teams to be competitive.


Agree with RicciAfici. Although it has been painful to watch its best for the sport that Honda continues. They will eventually succeed and with them as the 4th engine manufacturer it improves the engine options for the non-manufacturer teams. If all 4 engine manufacturers stay in for the new spec. engine and Cosworth rejoins as an independent engine manufacturer things get even better.

Kevin McCaughey

If Cosworth went anywhere near this engine they would be mad. They would be better just withdrawing all their company worth in cash and setting a match to it.


Definitely agree, but it is frustrating for us the fans to see this once great partnership, being made to look a joke.
The other thing that gets my back up, is the fact that McHonda keep on getting these ridiculous grid penalties. I know rules are rules, but the powers to be know full well there predicament. It’s hard enough for McHonda as it is, give them a god dammed break. Or at least give them more extra testing time so they can get things sorted. McHonda in the battle aswell can only be good for F1. Can’t these idiots at the top recognize this!

Ricciardo Aficionado

Yeah definitely more testing. Let the bottom three teams come to race weekends early or stay afterward for unlimited mileage…


I muss say that I have to agree. Those excuses could be valid on year one but this is year 4 (or 3 at the very least). Definitely scary….


It’s not year one, it’s year three of competition and year four of design work, and they are still nowhere. They aren’t even close to Renault, despite spending far, far more than the notoriously tight French manufacturer.
McLaren clearly want out, and it appears that Sauber have changed their mind as well, so according to Joe Saward, Honda’s options appear to be buy a team and re enter as a full constructor, do a deal with Red Bull to supply Torro Rosso untill the engine comes good and then supply both RB teams, or scurry of back to Japan with their tails between their legs!


it is year one for them because they changed their initial design to one similar to mercedes’ after one year of running.
looks like maclaren will be stuck with the power of a dreams for a long time to come, beyond 2019.


‘. . . using the dyno and . . .
. . . other equipment provided a different picture to real-life testing . . .’

Time to upgrade them then? Or hire Merc’s test rigs?


Please forgive my scepticism, but we seem to have it all before.

If latest rumours are true though McLaren are stuck with Honda for at least another year, unless Renault want to supply them.


Indeed, the main issue can be summed up in one word: incompetence. Firstly, Honda getting it wrong before the season even started, and secondly, failure to address the wrongs, especially now during the development “arms race” during the European season.

Still, the one (possible) positive is that the tight twisty Hungaroring is probably the one race during the European season that allows Fernando Alonso to get some decent points even if it’s a normal hot weather race in Budapest – I expect him to even get into Q3 on a circuit where brute power is irrelevant. Of course, that is assuming the damn Japanese unit stays reliable!

The Bearded Spaniard’s retirement at Silverstone was his sixth mechanically induced of the season……………and of course he didn’t even start in Russia. That is a truly pathetic record for TAG McLaren International and their Japanese partners.

Kevin McCaughey

U just so want them to get it right. If things came good with Honda and they were as good as Ferrari and (more importantly) Merc, can you imagine the mix that would create in F1? The changes up and down the grid? It would be extremely good for the sport, which is somewhat dying on it’s heals at the moment.


That is a truly pathetic record for TAG McLaren International and their Japanese partners.

It’s not just them, TAG Heuer power unit reliability doesn’t seem much better either. It certainly seems we’ve seen a lot more retirements this season, robbing us of potentially good racing.


Honda seem to just be sandbagging McLaren until the engine formula change – why throw money after the next two years when in three, they’re likely to change everything anyway?

Kevin McCaughey

That’s a very depressing thought.

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