Honda is going into yet another race weekend with mixed messages. As McLaren's struggling Japanese supplier debuted an upgraded engine in Belgium recently, boss Yasuhisa Arai said it would be a match for Ferrari's power unit. But Spa-Francorchamps turned out to be one of McLaren-Honda's worst performances of the season.
And now, at least officially, Honda is heading into another high-speed venue, Monza, with low expectations. "Monza is another high-speed track which unfortunately does not suit our package," Arai said in a media statement. "The drivers are on full throttle for most of the lap due to the long straights and fast corners, and since maximum power and minimal drag are key we know we have a big challenge ahead of us this weekend," he added.
The comment about 'minimal drag' is key, with McLaren and Honda now increasingly pointing the finger at the other for the reasons for the dire 2015. In media reports, Arai has been quoted as suggesting Honda's power unit is no longer the worst in pitlane. "Our engine is a bit behind Ferrari," he is quoted by Spain's El Confidencial, "but it is much better than Renault. Mercedes is still far away. We are about 40-50 horse power behind Mercedes, but about 25 ahead of Renault," Arai added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing