Honda looking for trouble-free weekend

Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa is hopeful of delivering a trouble-free race weekend to McLaren’s drivers and an opportunity for points.

McLaren-Honda took no comfort from its disappointing end to the European season which saw Fernando Alonso retire both at Spa and Monza while Stoffel Vandoorne also failed to see the checkered flag in Italy.

As McLaren and Honda prepare to announce their split in Singapore, the Japanese manufacturer will likely be in the spotlight at the Asian venue as it subsequently reveals its 2018 partnership with Toro Rosso.

While its public relations machine will be working overtime next weekend, Honda won’t lose its focus on a race which is seen as perhaps McLaren-Honda’s best opportunity to shine. 

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“We had a disappointing result last time out at the Italian Grand Prix, however, it was still positive that we had good pace on such a power-hungry track,” Hasegawa said.

“In stark contrast to Monza, with so many tight, slow corners, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is less reliant on outright power and plays more to our strengths as we saw at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this season.

“The car’s overall balance between power unit and chassis will be the key to a good weekend, so our engineers are hard at work preparing the ideal set-up.

“Hopefully we can provide the drivers with a good package so they can be in the hunt for much-needed points.”

There could still be a few clouds lingering above the McLaren-Honda garage however as there is uncertainty surrounding the fate of Stoffel Vandoorne’s Monza engines.

An MGU-K shaft failed on both of the Belgian’s power units in Italy and the team awaits news on whether the issue will require another engine change, in which case Vandoorne would be hit with a grid penalty.

“Singapore is one of the best chances of the year in terms of matching our package to the characteristics of this gruelling street circuit,” said McLaren’s Eric Boullier.

“We’ve worked hard to try to avoid incurring any penalties which could halt our progress there, and we hope that following Stoffel’s retirement in Monza we won’t have to use any new power unit elements, although this is yet to be officially confirmed.”

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