Honda Formula 1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa has conceded that the manufacturer thought developing McLaren’s 2017 engine would be “too easy”.
McLaren have been plagued with reliability issues and are bracing themselves for another poor showing at the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.
And it now appears that a lot of the blame can be proportioned to a huge amount of complacency shown by engine suppliers Honda, following Hasegawa’s admission.
“As a matter of fact we were thinking [it was] too easy, and it was too difficult to achieve the new technology – that was my mistake,” Hasegawa told Motorsport.com.
“We did some good progress in the mono-cylinder on the dyno, but as soon as we complete the V6 engine we had many issues.
“What we achieved in mono-cylinder is at a very good level, but when we transfer exactly the same specification to the V6 engine it doesn’t work. We are very disappointed. But it was too late that we noticed that – at Christmas.
“After we understand the issues this was the time we need to confirm the final specification – we needed to have some compromise.”
Hasegawa has also confirmed McLaren-Honda have developed further issues since their disastrous Winter Testing programme.
“We have huge vibrations,” added Hasegawa, who also admitted Honda’s new engine currently produces “almost the same power” as the 2016 unit.
“The only thing I can tell is that on the dyno we didn’t have such a big issue – when we have a gearbox, driveshaft and tyre it has some resonance. I’m not blaming the chassis; we have to realise the situation on the dyno as well.”
Hasegawa concluded by pinpointing the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona as the absolute last race to introduce notable upgrades.
“If we find a good solution we need to change the engine for round five or six, so I really want to update our specification before then, or to that time,” he added.
“We have already achieved some good level of performance with the mono-cylinder engine. The thing we have to do is transfer that technology to the V6.
“Although we still have to improve that, we have some confidence we can achieve that level.”