Honda's new head of F1 project Yusuke Hasegawa admits the Japanese manufacturer is “not satisfied with engine power” yet, but says reliability has been “our biggest improvement”.
Coming off a torrid 2015 campaign, Honda and its supplied team McLaren enjoyed a much more productive pre-season testing this winter though the two partners lost a day and a half of running due to hydraulic and coolant leaks.
With Honda chasing both reliability and performance, Hasegawa explains the constructor has already made significant headway in strengthening its power unit, thus laying solid foundations to unlock more speed.
“The drivers have already said there is a performance gain, which is with the deployment of the harvested energy,” he told F1i during an exclusive interview.
“Also the reliability is our biggest improvement, but we need more time to prove it. Especially during the races, we have to prove it.
“So far it is very good, we are very satisfied with our test results but […] it is not enough to prove the race mileage.
“Still we are not satisfied with engine power, and also the deployment and harvest. So we want to improve in those areas while keeping the reliability.”
Although teams have been given another four days of in-season testing in 2016, the opportunities for Honda to further refine its engine package away from grand prix weekends are quite limited.
“It is very difficult,” Hasegawa commented. “But of course we have a dyno in Sakura in Japan. The tests are very important but we have to prove and check the performance on the dyno first.
“It is difficult because after the tests there are very few opportunities, but from an engine performance point of view it shouldn’t be hugely affected.”