Honda looks set to slow down the improvements to its engine made available to McLaren for the remaining races of 2017. It was confirmed in Singapore two weeks ago that the Japanese's works partnership with McLaren will end, as Honda switches to Toro Rosso next year.
Spain's El Confidencial newspaper now quotes Honda F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa as saying the marque wants to "minimise the engine evolutions" released to McLaren from now on. "Previously, we prioritised performance, as any improvement would be also for next year," he is quoted as saying.
The Japanese is also quoted by Italy's Autosprint: "Now we would like to get maximum results. We will no longer work with Stoffel and Fernando next year so it means we can focus on McLaren's results this year."
However, Hasegawa also said it is possible Honda will introduce engine upgrades before the season concludes in November. "If we succeed in having a big development then we will not hesitate," he said. "It could be in Malaysia or Suzuka or the United States. Obviously we will try to avoid a penalty at Suzuka, but six races remain and we could introduce a new engine." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing