Walking away from the McLaren partnership was a big relief for Honda says the company’s F1 head, Yusuke Hasegawa.
The British racing team got frustrated with Honda engine’s reliability and lack of power over the last season. The lack of progress had created a lot of tension in the partnership.
Both the parties finally decided to end their agreement as a part of a four-way deal where McLaren switched to Renault Power and Honda partnered with Toro Rosso for 2018.
Before he got to know about the Honda restructure, Hasegawa said: “Relief, yes. It is good to concentrate on next season,”
“You might not believe us, but I don’t think we (McLaren-Honda) have a human issue. We have a very good relationship with McLaren.
“I don’t feel anything like it’s [a] fresh [start], it’s just up to us to concentrate now on making our engine better.
“So from that point of view it is no different, we still have a huge pressure from the inside and the outside. I’m pretty confident to work with Toro Rosso as well, and it is exciting.
“It is a new challenge and having more information and creating new relationships with a different group is very exciting.
The new relationship with Toro Rosso will see Honda continue work on their existing engine concept. The last engine that Honda delivered to McLaren was spec 3.7, and it achieved some amount of success in the last two races.
“But as I’ve always mentioned we have no plan to modify the engine concept so from that point of view we’ve already started next year’s engine development.
“So it’s not a big difference actually for our development group.”
Hasegawa was unhappy that the McLaren-Honda partnership did not work and had to be ended. But he is also confident the Japanese company will work hard and regain their reputation as an engine maker.
“Of course it’s unfortunate they decided to choose a different engine for next year,” he said.
“But this is part of the strategy for them, and we need to respect that, and we need to be a strong manufacturer so that they and other teams want to choose us in the future.”