Despite the McLaren split, Honda thinks it has finally found the right direction in F1. Although the Japanese marque was effectively dumped by the top British team, Honda's Yusuke Hasegawa is optimistic about the new partnership with Toro Rosso.
"The hardest year was undoubtedly the first, but also the third year was not easy," he told Speed Week. "But I think we were able to recover a bit faster than in previous years."
It means he now has no doubt that Honda will eventually get to grips with F1 in the new era. "Motor sport means everything to Honda. It's part of our DNA," Hasegawa insists. "We know that racing is tough sometimes, but it's that challenge in terms of performance and technology that motivates us. So it doesn't make sense to give up half way. That does not fit with our mentality."
The Japanese also said he thinks Toro Rosso is a better fit for Honda. "Toro Rosso has not been around as long and so they are more flexible," said Hasegawa. "It is easier to exchange opinions. McLaren is a top team, and Honda was not ready for a top team. That's a fact."
But he also admitted that 2018 will be tough, especially in light of the ever more tightening long-life engine rules. "Technologically it is not easy and it gets even harder," said Hasegawa. "But we are already working very well with Toro Rosso. For us it is very important to stay in formula one. We must continue to dream of becoming world champion," he added. "That's our motivation and what keeps us going." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing