Honda look to turn McLaren’s season around


In light of upcoming engine developments, Honda believe that they can help turn McLaren's disastrous season around. 

Yasuhisa Arai, the motorsport boss at Honda, says that his team intend to have an upgraded powerplant ready for the second half of 2015. 

These upgrades will mean that the Japanese manufacturer will use all seven of their development tokens which remain for 2015. 

“We have seven tokens still remaining, so we will apply those in the second half of the season after the summer shutdown,” Arai said in an interview with

Arai is convinced that these upgrades will allow McLaren to put in a far better showing once they arrive and are used out on the track.

A number of changes will be made with the intention of providing more horsepower. Currently, McLaren are estimated to lose up to 35km/h on the straights to both Mercedes and Ferrari. 

“We will replace many parts to improve the horsepower, so we have good harvest and good systems. And I think we can catch up this season."

Most of the development is focussed on the internal combustion engine (ICE) with many changes mooted. 

Arai believes that any extra power gained due to the upgrades, must be used more efficiently.

“Combustion is very important to get the horsepower," he said. “So changing the combustion chamber design, the valve timing and everything for better combustion.

“It is mainly in the ICE, but some areas like the MGU-K and MGU-H, including the turbo charger, are other areas we need to work on to get more horsepower.”

Honda have already used two tokens prior to the Canadian Grand Prix. As they only rejoined Formula 1 in 2015, they were only allowed nine for the season.

In 2016 however, they will be allowed 25 tokens. Arai has revealed that plans are already in place to continue to improve their powerplant. 

“We already have a good plan. With the tokens for next year, we already have many ideas," he said. 

Although the Honda powerplant has been beset by woes this season, Arai believes they made the right call in terms of the unique configuration of certain components, especially aimed to aid both the aerodynamics and centre of gravity of the MP4-30.

In the long run, Arai feels the Woking based team will reap the benefits. 

“A different way is maybe the only way to the podium. It is quite a different layout – for instance the MGU-H and turbo is a very compact package, and also with the power unit itself, everything is very tightly packaged for good influence for the aero package.

“Also the battery and controller is very, very small with a low centre of gravity for the car – so we contributed to that area too.

“We needed some ideas to apply to the combustion layout, and hybrid systems. So we tried very hard and sometimes it is very difficult layout, but we believe that direction is the only way that we can catch up and exceed the top teams.”