When Honda decided to return to Formula as an engine supplier to McLaren little did they realise how far the sport had developed since Jenson Button won his sole World Championship in 2009. Back then Button powered his way too the championship courtesy of a naturally aspirated V8 Honda engine.
Initially Honda wanted to return in 2016 in order to refine the development of their new 1.6-litre, V6-hybrid power unit. On the urging of Ron Dennis Honda brought forward their program 1 year early and as a result of this haste have suffered a humiliating return to the sport.
You would assume Honda with the resources they have and the number of past F1 constructors titles won that they know how to make engines and powerful one’s at that. They do and they can but it hasn’t been demonstrated during 2015.
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have suffered multiple retirements usually at a rate of 1 per race between them in 15 of 18 races contested this year. With no where else to go Honda can only reverse the trend and make a return to the top.
That’s exactly the thinking Honda’s motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai is adopting and believes the missing link to unlocking performance has been found.
During an interview with Autosport Arai said “Already the team knows where are the strong points and where are the weak points. So we will improve the weak points and catch up with the other teams. We are still far away from the top or middle teams but we want to confirm how much progress has been made over that year,” “Maybe after that we get stronger and more competitive. The concept is already one we have shared, discussed and confirmed.”
Usually when an engine manufacture enters or re-enters Formula 1 the time it takes to get competitive may well take years, don’t expect Honda to be at the front of the grid wining the first race of the season in 2016. It doesn’t happen. Or could it?….