McLaren claims the new upgrades Honda introduced for their power unit in Russia turned out to be better than McLaren had expected. The japanese engine supplier spent their final two tokens of this season to introduce this new package in Russia. While its unknown exactly what areas of the engine Honda upgraded, it is speculated that new turbo and MGU-H was introduced with the package. The goal with the upgrades was supposed to be improved reliability and minor power upgrades.
McLaren elected to only have one driver, Fernando Alonso, take the package, in order to have one driver free from penalties and one with the new unit. After the first but short testrun of the unit friday last week, during the free practice session, Alonso completed 16 laps with the new unit and were positive about the changes made afterwards.
“In FP1 we did enough laps to calibrate the engine, to see whether everything was working and it seems that everything is working as expected, so this is good news.”
Racing director Eric Boullier told autosport that the unit worked as planned, and has improved.
"It actually beat all the expectations on the data, the dyno measures. It worked as per plan, and has improved. So we introduced this engine here because we know it's a track layout that doesn't suit our package, and then run it from the race in the USA."
Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai claims he is pleased with the engine, but realise that more still needs to be done with it.
"At this circuit, on the engine itself, there has been a scheduled improvement, but total horsepower, with deployment, is still weak."
Alonso will run the unit free from penalties in Austin, Texas, in the next race. Alonso's team mate, Jenson Button, will have to wait for Mexico for his new unit.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing