MARCH 25, 2017
Honda engine rebuild to take two months
Honda has acknowledged the need to rebuild its hapless 2017 power unit.
Amid rumours works partner McLaren is considering dumping its Japanese partner, reports say Honda is starting work on a major upgrade.
"The difference in power with our rivals is big," Honda's F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa is quoted by Spanish newspapers including El Mundo and El Pais.
"To improve we have to achieve more efficient combustion and change the hardware of the current power unit," he added.
"We are working on it, but we will not be able to put it in the car for two months."
Hasegawa's news comes as an increasingly frustrated Fernando Alonso piles the pressure on, amid the threat of his expiring McLaren-Honda contract.
"The change of regulation is a golden opportunity to catch Mercedes, so we needed to be much better," he said in Melbourne.
"If last year we were fighting for Q3, this year anything but the top 5 or 6 is no reaction," Alonso added.
"Personally I am well prepared and I feel that I am very fast. I attack the corners but I lose 200 metres in a straight line which is very frustrating."
But Alonso was also highly critical of the media, saying reporters are "trying to exaggerate the situation".
"It is very easy to say McLaren-Honda is going to be last, that both cars will retire on the first lap. All of this nonsense is increasing day after day," he said.