JULY 30, 2015
Honda set for 50 horse power step
Struggling Honda is preparing to take a significant step forward of up to 50 horse power after the summer break.
Under severe pressure from works partner McLaren, the Japanese marque's F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai announced in Hungary that a big upgrade is finally coming in time for Spa.
The Spanish sports newspaper Marca reports that the upgrade will involve Honda trading in most or all of its remaining performance 'tokens', with a source saying it will amount to about 45 horse power.
McLaren team boss Eric Boullier had said in Hungary: "We still lack 120hp compared to Mercedes. So we need to continue to work under high pressure."
The Frenchman is also quoted by the Japanese broadcaster NHK: "I hope that Honda is aware of the situation and has a plan to make up for lost time.
"You cannot buy time of course, but you can add resources. So where 450 people is sufficient now for Mercedes, Honda needs 700 so that we can catch up," said Boullier.
So far, Arai has resisted a lot of the pressure being applied by an increasingly distressed McLaren, which led to rumours the Japanese might be stepped down.
But an insider told Speed Week that Arai in fact retains the backing of Takahiro Hachigo, Honda's new CEO.
"Arai is a long-time friend of Hachigo and has won the trust of the new CEO," the source said.
And Arai insisted that Honda made real progress in Hungary, where for the first time in 2015 the troublesome 'power unit' was reportedly run at full speed.
"There were no limitations, no restrictions and it worked out," he is quoted by Brazil's UOL Esporte.
"Honestly, I am very happy. I want to say thank you to the team and thank you for the support at the factories in Sakura (Japan) and Woking. There are many people working hard and the result can be seen now."