Honda have lamented their return to Formula One has been shy on grandiose expectations. Ron Dennis persuaded the Japanese race icons to re-enter the sport 1 year ahead of schedule, as a result Honda have been essentially testing since the beginning of the 2015 campaign.
Its been painful for all to watch as Honda and therefore McLaren have been beset by reliability issues. In addition the Honda hybrid powerplant has lacked power and both Alonso and have Button reported poor driveability.
After 11 races run so far McLaren Honda have scored 17 points, this is with two seasoned former world champions and with Alonso McLaren Honda have the best driver on the grid.
The Belgian Grand Prix was meant to be a step forward with power upgrades planned to transform performance. It wasn’t evident, what was noticeable was that the team suffered a double engine change and throughout the race both drivers meandered into mediocrity.
Undimmed Honda still believe their engine is around 25hp ahead of Renault in terms of horsepower and about 30hp behind Ferrari.
Mercedes are still way out in front as Honda’s Motorsport Chief, Yasuhisa Arai, said in a recent interview. ” we are 40-50[hp] behind Mercedes… Our engine is a little bit behind Ferrari but much better than the Renault team. Mercedes are still so far away.”
The Italian Grand Prix will be painful again for McLaren Honda but Fernando Alonso expects things to change from the Singapore Grand prix onwards “The starting point was maybe too low and not mature enough, but I think we are getting there and Spa and probably Monza will not show much of the progress, but Hungary showed we were more or less in the top ten in all the sessions and hopefully we can see more of the same in Singapore and the next races.”
Arai also added that he expects Honda to close the performance gap before the end of the season.
“I have confidence that the second half of the season, we will try hard to catch the top two teams. It may be that it will be difficult to catch the top teams as they have good reliability and good combustion characteristics. But I want to be close to the top teams by the end of the season.” said Arai.