McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will have the pleasure of an upgraded Honda power unit for this weekends race at the legendary Spa circuit.
The Japanese based squad are having a much more successful year this time out with their hybrid V6, and head office have given the green light for the new engine developments to be raced.
Honda have used 7 of their remaining 11 power unit tokens in this upgrade, which includes refinements to the combustion chamber, compressor and turbo unit. Jenson and Fernando will have the new units to use, both drivers opting for a complete refresh of all components.
The aim of the new spec engine is to deliver a much improved overall efficiency of the power unit. This should equate to a less thirsty engine, delivering better overall performance. The focus hasn’t been solely on improved horsepower improvement, although Honda do expect to have made advances in that area. Spa will be a good test bed that is for sure.
Jenson and Fernando will have access to the engines for Fridays free practice sessions, and a decision to run the engines for the rest of the weekend will be made after that. Further additional refinement and mapping may be required which could potentially see the engine left out of the Spa race, so that they can be prepared and optimised for the forthcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
A new unit in the back of Fernando’s number 14 McLaren means that the Spaniard has taken his 5th and final set of components for all 6 separate parts of the power unit. Jenson will use his final ICE, turbo, MGU-K, and MGU-H.
It has been really refreshing this year to see the progress made from Honda. Careful consideration would have been made on the delivery of this new power unit also bearing in mind the new regulations for 2017. Honda obviously see some benefit from bringing a new spec to the track so soon after saying that they would be in no rush to push thorugh development.
McLaren’s recent return to form has left them in no man’s land behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari infront of the chasing pack of Force India, Williams and co. Lets hope that they can close that gap and start to challenge the front of the grid where many believe they belong.