Honda plan to take penalties in Malaysia instead of Suzuka
Honda are set to introduce a power unit upgrade for the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend to avoid doing so at their home race a week later at Suzuka,
Honda has three engine development tokens left to spend this season but both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have already used their allocated components for the season. That means a new upgrade would lead to engine penalties for both McLaren drivers, something Honda is keen to avoid when it returns to Suzuka.
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda’s F1 chief, wants to avoid disappointing their fans on home soil.
“We introduced a new engine in Spa and at that moment we had nine races [to go] so we need to introduce one more engine. If you split the nine races it could be Malaysia or Japan or the USA. We do not want to introduce the new engine and get a penalty at Suzuka, so Malaysia makes sense.
“We are still discussing it with the team. I don’t think the fans will let me take a penalty in Japan. I will not be allowed to walk into the circuit!”
Last year the team was embarrassed by Fernando Alonso’s rant when he likened the Honda powered engine on his McLaren, at the time, to a GP2 engine.
It is not known at this stage if both Alonso and Jenson Button will get upgraded engines at Sepang.
“This is also another discussion point for the team,” said Hasegawa. “I don’t want to get both cars behind from a race tactics and a constructors’ point of view. It might be better to split the tactics for the cars.”
Hasegawa hinted that Honda may look at areas away from the internal combustion engine [ICE] to upgrade this time around.
“Currently it is not very good on the dyno result, so I’m not sure we can introduce the new combustion. We will see. We may introduce [the upgrade] in a different area because once we change the combustion it will cost us so much setting time we do not want to put a lot of resource on it this year.
“The weight reduction or a tougher cylinder block or other area would give more power,” added Hasegawa