Honda "worried" about reliability for Australian GP

Honda Formula 1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa has admitted he is still "worried" about reliability for the Australian Grand Prix, despite the work that has been done to address its recent problems.

Honda "worried" about reliability for Australian GP
Honda logo and nose detail of a McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda Senior Managing Officer
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, in cockpit
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Yusuke Hasegawa, Senior Managing Officer, Honda
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32

The Japanese manufacturer faced a tough pre-season testing programme, with running at Barcelona affected by a spate of problems.

One of the biggest issues was a vibration of the car, which Hasegawa suggests was exacerbated by drivers running over kerbs.

"On the last two days of the second week [of testing], trouble was caused by the vibration of the car," said Hasegawa in Melbourne on Thursday.

"It was not only a problem with the engine itself, although the thing vibrating the most was the engine.

"The trouble caused cracks in a carbon pipe on the side of the car – with the harness getting detached. However, I don't know if these problems will not occur again if the engine vibrations stop. I am worried.

"It is also certain that the cars rode over the kerbs [in Barcelona] and this caused some vibration. If we have such a weakness in the side of the car, then it is worrying."

Honda says work on engine mapping that should improve the vibration issues has showed progress on the test bench, but the real situation would only be revealed once the cars were running on track.

"I think driveability is improving," added Hasegawa. "We have done some bench testing at Sakura, but we haven't run the engine on the track yet so I do not understand the situation as of today.

Other problems solved

Although there remains a question mark about the vibrations, Hasegawa said other issues that hit Honda in testing had been cured.

"In the Spanish test, trouble occurred in the oil tank on the first day of the first week, and the engine itself on the second day. I do not disclose what kind of trouble, but I have taken countermeasures," he said.

"On the first day of the second week, the high voltage systems were insulated against these problems, and I think that the big problem is solved.

"On the second day of the second week's test, there was a water leak in the radiator. That is why I turned off the engine."

Elaborating on the oil tank issue, he said: "It was a matter of design. There was a baffle plate inside, but it seems that it was not able to properly suck up oil, because its shape was bad.

"I have changed that. It was a shame that it was said that it was the only trouble, because it was a very rudimentary problem."

More power

Although Fernando Alonso complained about a lack of power on top of the reliability issues, Hasegawa insisted that the new engine is up on its 2016 performance figures.

However, he did concede that Honda had not hit the target it had hoped for.

"[Regarding] Alonso's power shortage and lack of speed compared with other cars, I do not know honestly. But I think that is our problem.

"We have not yet reached the target value we have established independently. But I cannot tell you the figures.

"I think that power is better than we had in Abu Dhabi last year, but the drag has increased. And as the tyres are wider, the driver may feel that the speed has dropped."

Additional reporting by Kunihiko Akai

shares
comments
Revealed: Key F1 tech spy shots at Australian GP

Previous article

Revealed: Key F1 tech spy shots at Australian GP

Next article

Gallery: Melbourne's Australian GP F1 winners

Gallery: Melbourne's Australian GP F1 winners
Load comments
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash Prime

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021