Honda to completely redesign engine for 2017 F1 season
Honda knows that if its power unit is to stand a chance of really competing in next year’s F1 season, it will need to be completely redesigned. But rumours suggest Jenson Button may never get to try it in anger.
Following a pretty disastrous 2015 season, it seems that McLaren-Honda is making some significant steps in the right direction this year. For example, at yesterday’s 2016 Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom, McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso started the race in 12th and 14th place respectively.
However, Button was just a tenth of second shy of making ‘Q3’, which will have been extremely frustrating given the fact that he consistently featured in the top 10 in Sochi over the weekend’s practice sessions. In fact, reports
Nevertheless, the two McLaren-Honda drivers picked up their first points of the season yesterday, with Alonso finishing sixth and Button finishing tenth.
The bottom line, though, is that Honda has realised its power unit simply can’t match that of its rival Mercedes, and a complete redesign is on the cards for the 2017 F1 season.
Honda reportedly knows that unless it changes huge portions of the internal combustion and turbo system used in the MP4-31 F1 car, it won’t be able to compete with the horsepower output of its rivals’ engines.
The problem is that it only has limited development tokens available, which means it is restricted from making too many changes right now. The good news is that following a recent rule change, which will see development tokens scrapped after this season, Honda – or any other engine manufacturer for that matter – can essentially redesign its entire engine.
It’s welcome news for Button and Alonso, who are both frustrated with the way their cars are performing, despite improvements having been made.
Speaking to NBC, Button said: “I think with the way the engine is, yes, I think it’s difficult to extract the power that we feel that we need. And that’s not me saying that, that’s Honda.”
Whether or not Button will be driving for McLaren-Honda next season remains to be seen though. Rumours are currently rife that the Anglo-Japanese collaboration has already taken the decision to pair Alonso with Belgian reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne in 2017.
It would be a fantastic opportunity for reigning GP2 champion Vandoorne, while there’s speculation that Button may join Williams next season.
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