Honda remain upbeat despite F1 problems

Honda remain upbeat despite F1 problems
PHOTO: Reuters

SPIELBERG, Austria - Honda are committed to Formula One and expect their relationship with McLaren to become a winning one despite current problems with the engine, according to the Japanese car company's motorsport head Yasuhisa Arai.

"They believe, the chief executive and the board members, they think we need time to win and it is a long-term vision," he told reporters at the Austrian Grand Prix.

"They don't doubt our success in the future.

"Honda want Formula One, we want joy in Formula One. It is a company policy. We have a very famous founder and from then to the current CEO there is no change - it is our DNA," added the Japanese.

Honda, who quit Formula One as a constructor in 2008, returned this season as engine partners to McLaren - the team they powered to several titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

They have struggled with the V6 turbo hybrid power units introduced last season, however, with only four points to their credit after seven races while Mercedes and Ferrari are way ahead.

In Austria, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button both collected 25 place grid penalties, which translated into additional race time penalties, for exceeding their engine allocation and related issues.

Arai said Honda were working hard to resolve the immediate difficulties.

"I know we don't have good reliability but right now it is almost fixed," he said.

"In races something has happened every day but the major troubles are already fixed and over the second half of the season I expect we will have more progress.

"I think that we will catch up most of the top teams because we already have a plan to increase the horsepower, drivability and control system. We have already planned to apply that in the second half of the season," added the Japanese.

Arai said the drivers had been giving good feedback and he expected the team to show improved performance from Austria onwards.

"After this weekend we will test more deeply and I hope we can make a more competitive car before Silverstone (next month)," he said.

"I hope after the summer (August) shutdown we will be more competitive. We will be more competitive every race - race by race. Hungary, Spa, we will make improvements. Not slowly, very quick."

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