Honda had hoped to have their “Spec 4” engine ready to debut at Spa following the winter break, but true to form, they missed the deadline.
At this point, it’s become far too easy to blast Honda for their performance in Formula One. While the partnership started out as a desire to recapture the lightning that brought success in the past, it has proven to be naught more than rose-tinted glasses, the continued missteps of Honda are painting a dire picture for their future in the sport.
While the Japanese manufacturer had hoped to make the best out of the Formula 1 summer break and pound out positive results in time for the Grand Prix at Spa, they conceded that they were not able to hit their mark fully. Instead of a Spec 4 engine, McLaren will instead receive a spec 3.5 engine. This news comes in addition to the fact that Stoffel Vandoorne received a 34-grid place penalty for the upcoming Grand Prix due to Honda needing to swap out parts in the name of reliability once again.
At this rate, McLaren’s entire presence in the 2017 season has been little more than one massive in-season test at the expense of their drivers. Still, the head honchos are using all of the office staples available to them to pin those smiles to their faces in the hope of still coming across as a company that know what it’s doing.
Honda’s chief Yusuke Hasegawa was the first to comment on the state of affairs, saying that while he laments their inability to match their schedule, he is happy that progress is being made in regard to performance:
“We had planned to introduce ‘spec 4’ here but we failed, we didn’t match our schedule. We’re halfway through our upgrade so we called it 3.5 and 3.6. From the data point of view, we see a good update of the performance here.
“In Hungary, we are very happy. We are very relieved we get points. But the performance we are not satisfied with. It’s the minimum performance we need to achieve.”
McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown wasted no time in bolstering Hasegawa’s claims, saying that while improvements have been made, he is keenly aware that satisfaction is a long way off:
“I don’t think we’ve been satisfied all year but I don’t think Hasegawa hasn’t been satisfied with how things have gone.
“We’ve seen some improvements here at Spa, not to level we had hoped for but some improvement nonetheless.”
Improvements, however small, is all the team needs at this point. Alonso’s performance at Hungary was an excellent way for the team to show how far it had come since the season’s start. If the project flounders in the second half, history will be made – and not the kind that McLaren wants to be remembered for.