Yusuke Hasegawa has confirmed that Honda will replace Fernando Alonso’s complete power unit at the Bahrain Grand Prix after finding out the engine damaged in Melbourne was beyond repairs.
In the wake of the Spaniard’s huge crash in Australia, Honda hoped to salvage some parts that might have been spared in the wreckage. But the Japanese manufacturer was left to rue the loss of its first engine in Alonso's five-unit allocation for 2016.
“We have recovered the power unit from Fernando’s car used in Melbourne,” Hasegawa said. “After initial investigations, we are massively disappointed that the ICE and most of the surrounding parts have been heavily damaged, as the impact from the accident was just too great. We will be replacing the complete power unit in Bahrain.”
After a wild season opener prevented McLaren-Honda from assessing the scope of its progress, Hasegawa hopes Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button can enjoy a smooth weekend in Sakhir.
“Bahrain’s sunny and dry weather will hopefully ensure that we have plenty of clean running. The circuit’s two long front and back straights will be strenuous on the power units, so we will make the most of the practice sessions to set up the car.
“It’s evident that we still need to increase our performance, but thankfully we were able to learn more about where we are and how to progress from the data collected in Melbourne.”
The Bahrain International Circuit should serve as a good indicator to gauge McLaren-Honda’s improvements. The Middle Eastern venue saw the reunited partners experience one of their toughest weekends in their torrid 2015 season, with Button not even able to take the start due to recurrent electrical issues.