JULY 27, 2016
McLaren-Honda relationship closer than ever
McLaren and Honda have hailed the state of their current working relationship.
Last year, amid an awful start to the new Anglo-Japanese works collaboration, there were signs of tension between the British team and Honda's F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai in particular.
Arai is now gone, replaced for 2016 by Yusuke Hasegawa, and the better situation culminated in Fernando Alonso's seventh place in Hungary which the Spaniard called "the best weekend since I've been (back) at McLaren".
He credited some of the turnaround between 2015 and 2016 to Honda's Hasegawa.
"Yusuke is a former engineer so he knows very well what is happening in the garage and can adapt better to changes. He is also more used to the pressure and managing certain situations," Alonso is quoted by Spain's Marca sports newspaper.
Team boss Eric Boullier also said the relationship between Honda and McLaren has improved.
"The relationship has never been as close as it is now," said the Frenchman. "It is very collaborative, very cooperative, we regularly meet face to face although today there is technology that means we are always in touch.
"The project is more mature than before, so far so good," Boullier added.
And Hasegawa-san said: "I agree with Eric. This year we have a very good collaboration with McLaren and we are progressing well together."
He confirmed that work on the 2017 engine has begun, while Boullier added: "We're still working on this year's car and also the next one, but I can say that after the (August) holidays most of the grid will be working 100 per cent on the car for next year."