McLaren engine partner Honda is considering radical changes to its power unit design in light of next year's token-free engine rules.
With limitations on development virtually tossed out for 2017, along with the token-based system, the Japanese manufacturer's engineers have been prompted to re-think their design approach of their hybrid power unit.
On the run-up to its return to Grand Prix racing in 2015, Honda had initially committed - on McLaren's recommendation - to an incredibly compact design where components are tightly packed together with the confines of its V-bank.
Unfortunately, the configuration has had a bearing on the efficiency of the unit's energy recovery system and ultimately its reliability.
While Honda believes its approach offers more advantages than drawbacks, with limitations subsiding for next season it is now evaluating a different approach involving placing the turbo and compressor on opposite sides of the engine in order to generate a more reliable and performing package.
"We still haven’t decided the exact specification and layout, but it is better to have a more wide open area of design," commented Honda’s F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa.
Honda has yet to decide how to deploy its outstanding development tokens in the near future, but Hasegawa admitted the manufacturer would be pulling out all the stops in order to bridge the gap with Mercedes for next year.
"We would like to do everything to improve our engine. We haven't decided yet, but everything we need to do we will do.
"Before the end of the season we have to decide the packaging. Every team wants to fix the design around September/October, but it is a tough challenge for us."