Honda ‘very relieved’ at season's first points
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
By Chris Medland / Image by Steven Tee/LAT
Honda is "very relieved" McLaren managed to score its first points of the season in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and says the signs from Baku were encouraging.
The Baku City Circuit was expected to be one of McLaren-Honda's weakest venues of the year due to the emphasis on the power unit, but Fernando Alonso managed to score two points in a chaotic race. That result came despite Honda not running its upgraded power unit during the race, and head of F1 project Yusuke Hasegawa says he it is important the team has now scored its first points.
"I'm very relieved that we could get points," Hasegawa told RACER. "Actually, the drivers made a very good job in a race of survival. As a result, we are very pleased about that.
"It's very important of course [to finish with both cars]. Although we didn't have a big concern, as we're introducing a brand new engine and MGU-H so we shouldn't have an issue, but of course I'm very pleased we can show some development on reliability and because of that we can get a point, which is very good."
Both Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne started at the back of the grid due to power unit penalties, and Hasegawa says the recovery is less important due to the nature of the race but still shows the power unit can fight in the midfield.
"From a performance point of view, just 13 cars finished, so it's fair to say we're not very fast. We can show some decent performance. We can finish the race is the most important point with some reliability. That performance was very reasonable one, I have to say. Finishing ninth is a very good position."
Explaining the process for the power unit penalties – with Alonso running the upgraded engine on Friday before taking a brand-new version of the older specification for the race weekend – Hasegawa says the plan had been to run the upgrade all weekend before a gearbox failure led to over-revving on Friday.
"As I've always mentioned, I'm not waiting for any updates. As soon as we can prepare, we'll bring the update. That means we have the update here. But because of that, we can prepare only one engine, so we can introduce it for Fernando's side.
"Before we came here, we knew we have to take a penalty, we have to introduce MGU-H number six, so we also decided to prepare enough numbers of the engine, to avoid any penalty after a couple of races. Of course we didn't decide to introduce two engines for Fernando before coming. We thought we had a chance to introduce two engines, but because we had a gearbox failure, we had no chance to discuss whether we would keep this spec three engine or if we would introduce another engine for Saturday or Sunday.
"As a consequence, we could have used the spec three for Saturday and Sunday but still we need to check the engine at Sakura, so that's the reason. We also knew we would get a penalty for Stoffel, so to increase the number of engines we introduced two engines here."
Koliko mi je poznato, jednom ubacen motor u bolid postaje zapecacen i nije ga moguce otvarati (otvaranje FIA pecata znaci da je taj motor izbacen iz dalje upotrebe za datu sezonu), tako da nisam siguran sta ocekuju da vide u Sakuri. Takodje, ovo o ubacivanju dva motora u cirkulaciju na ovoj trci je glupost, posto se svakog vikenda samo zadnji motor racuna za kazne (budu li ponovo probali da ubace onaj prvi opet ce da dobiju kaznu).
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