Honda WILL use upgraded engine at Canadian Grand Prix
McLaren-Honda are currently 9th in the constructors' standings, with a dismal 4 points.
Following Mercedes using tokens to upgrade its power unit midway through the 2015 season, it was revealed that Ferrari and Honda had done the same, with Ferrari said to have made changes to the positioning and design of the cylinder head.
When questioned about when they would be using their upgraded power units however, neither Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene nor Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai revealed any details. Arrivabene had suggested they would ‘...not be using the tokens in a race engine yet.’ Arrivabene said he did “not want to reveal information to the Germans” (Mercedes). While Ferrari may not put the upgraded engines into employ at Montreal, with both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen doing well this season, the statement may well be a diversionary tactic by Arrivabene so as to surprise opponents. Although Vettel is only behind leader Hamilton by 28 points, teammate Raikkonen is behind 66, with Ferrari 84 points behind number 1 Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.
Arai was similarly noncomittal when interviewed at the Monaco Grand Prix, saying there were ‘no plans yet’, and that any decision taken would only be effected after strategic consultation with McLaren. In fact, it was widely believed Honda would skip making changes at the Canadian Grand Prix, holding off until they raced at the Red Bull Ring at the Austrian Grand Prix, which begins on the 21st of June.
He acknowledged, however, that Honda “needed more power” ahead of the Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal: “"Canada is a power circuit, so we need more power," he said. "But it is also a heavy stopping circuit, so braking and energy recovery is very important.”
Arai said they were looking at better power, but that it was not an easy task, so they would look at better MGU-K power (the kinetic part of the motor generating unit) to be able to cope with the high speed track.
Honda have no dearth of talent, with former World Champions Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso driving under the McLaren banner – this talent has not translated very well this season, however. Hopefully the changed power unit brings better fortunes for both drivers and team.