Honda update improved pace

20/10/2016
NEWS STORY

Although aimed at reliability, the latest update from Honda aided McLaren's pace in Japan.

The update, which featured a new engine block and lightweight exhaust, was first tried by Fernando Alonso in the Friday sessions in Malaysia.

Happy with the results the Spaniard took a major grid penalty at Sepang in order to have two of the upgraded engines added to his pool, rather than take the hit at Suzuka, Honda's home race.

Initially, Honda chose not to issue Jenson Button with the update as it would have meant the Briton suffering a grid penalty at Suzuka, however the Japanese manufacturer subsequently had a change of heart and both drivers lined up for the race with the upgraded engine.

However, while Alonso claims that the upgrade has not affected the pace of the car, only the engine's reliability, Button disagrees.

"Reliability helps performance because it means you can run a more aggressive strategy with the engine," he told Autosport. "So it does help performance in a race, yeah, but in qualifying it shouldn't be any different."

That said, both drivers suffered a miserable weekend in Japan, much to the obvious dismay of Honda.

While it has been given back one of its engine development tokens as it was deemed the most recent upgrade was for reliability purposes, Honda has no intention of using it or indeed any tokens as it is now fully focussed on 2017.

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Published: 20/10/2016
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