Arai lays out Honda's plan of attack for rest of 2015

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Honda's Chief Officer of Motorsport Yasuhisa Arai has outlined the engine manufacturer's plans to become more competitive in Formula One.

So far in 2015 it's not proved to be the return to the sport that Honda had been hoping for, but Arai is confident that the plans in place for the rest of 2015 and into 2016 will finally see their partnership with McLaren back on track - although they'll have to wait until after the mandatory two-week summer break to get started.

"I am confident that our reliability problems are now behind us which means we can turn our attention to increasing power," Arai explained. "After the summer shutdown our plan is to apply a new-spec engine using some of our remaining seven tokens.

"The most important area for us to concentrate on is the combustion. Current regulations require high efficiency of the combustion so we want to change the characteristic with the chamber design and intake and exhaust system layout.

"Another issue we will be addressing is reducing mechanical friction by changing the gear train system along with the combustion.

"Not all of our upgrades will be in place for the Belgium Grand Prix. Some parts will be applied for Spa and the rest during the weeks that follow. Our plan is to keep improving race-by-race for the remainder of the season."

But Arai said that the current rules and regulations meant that Honda needed to be cautious about the pace of change and not charge in blindly.

"The current regulations of the whole power unit package are very complicated so one small component triggers a domino effect of other items leading to the issues that we have been seeing.

"If you try to harvest energy using the MGU-H, it puts a strenuous workload on the turbo. When the turbo is under stress, it cannot do what it is supposed to do, which is to force more air into the engine, thus leading to decreased power output. This is the result of one component working against the others, instead of working together.

"These types of technical chain reactions which lead to vehicle stoppage were definitely more than we calculated, or more than we envisioned. The difficulty with this is that you cannot calculate precisely without running the car in actual conditions, on track."

Although Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button both finished in the points in the Hungagrian Grand Prix before the summer break, Arai said there would be more pain for McLaren-Honda in the second half of the season before they started to see the full advantages of all the hard work back at the factory.

"Unfortunately we will have more penalties during the coming months, but you will also see big improvements from both sides – chassis and power unit. After Spa we aim to improve every race, and hopefully we can start fighting for podiums. We will never stop fighting.

That said, attention is increasingly turning to 2016 where McLaren and Honda will both try to overcome some of the setbacks suffered this season.

"Were already focussed on 2016 of course, but we are still concentrating on second half of the 2015 season too," he insisted. "We value 2015 as much as 2016 because the regulations will remain the same. This means we can develop an idea for 2016, and if it works we can implement it in 2015.

In the meantime, Arai was grateful that the summer break meant that all the hard-working people behind the scenes get a much needed rest from their largely unseen but nonetheless crucial labours.

"Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport that involves many different people with many different talents. It requires a team. Everything else except the skill of the driver is down to the team. It’s not down to one person or one item.

"Moving forward I hope that their hard work gets more focus, rather than one person or one comment being in the spotlight. Of course there is a lot to talk about in Formula One, but it is the team members that give their all and they should be praised for their hard work."

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