Honda hasn’t had an easy time since returning to Formula 1 as an engine supplier at the start of the 2015 season, one year behind the rest of the pack. But, with the halfway mark of the F1 2016 season approaching, considerable progress has been made. It is still down on power and reliability issues continue to creep in, but it’s much, much better.
Right now, what would really help is if another team started using the V6 Turbo engine. Honda’s motorsport boss Yusuke Hasegawa has admitted supplying a second team with its F1 engine would be a big benefit and help to speed up development.
But the problem is, no one else wants it. No one is keen to join McLaren as a Honda-powered team – an awkward situation to be in and a sign more must be done.
The other three F1 power unit manufacturers all supply at least two teams. Mercedes and Ferrari power four in total (including their own teams), with Renault on two (although Red Bull’s engine is branded TAG-Heuer).
Hasegawa is quoted by Autosport saying:
“I think from a technical point of view it is good to have a second team, to have more chances to run the engines. Of course it costs a bit more, and we need to prepare the engineers, but in general I would be happy to have a second team if we have the opportunity. But also at this moment we are not strong enough. There is not any team that wants to have a Honda engine. We need to wait. I have to change the situation.”
Honda and McLaren have struggled since rekindling their partnership at the start of last season but progress has been steady and both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have scored several top 10 results each so far in 2016.
If this rate of development and improvement continues, maybe things will change and we will see more cars with Honda power in F1 soon.