Honda looking for big gains from token spend

If you’re wondering who may have made the biggest gains from 2014 to now, AUTOSPORT has a nice chart in which they plainly did the math(s) and came up with Manor first, then McLaren. That’s probably no surprise for Manor to make a serious jump this year as they are being shoved down the track by a Mercedes power unit these days but perhaps McLaren is more of an interesting story.

The fact is, McLaren are progressing and Honda is keen to use its remaining token intelligently this season according to Honda motorsport chief Yusuke Hasegawa:

“Of course we keep developing, we just have to decide when we can expect to introduce the new technology or tokens,” Hasegawa said.

“We have some tokens, but it’s still limited and we don’t want to use them for tiny steps, from a tactical point of view.

“We’d like to use tokens effectively rather than gradually.

“We need to see the exact result of the development. I hope it is a big step forward.

“I heard some of the items are very promising but before we get it I don’t know the exact benefit.

“The ICE [combustion engine] and ERS are being focused on.”

One of the talking points from Russia was the fuel conservation Honda had to do as the engine seemed to be thirsty…at least more so than Mercedes or Ferrari’s engine.

One would presume the ICE is a focus on fuel efficiency and the ERS would add a lot to the overall efficiency and fuel use issues. The updates have both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso speaking positively about the near future.

Let’s be honest, a competitive McLaren would be terrific! A team with a custom engine supply by Honda and the facilities of Woking fighting with Ferrari and Mercedes for podiums would be outstanding. Right now they are running mid-field so they have a lot of ground to make up and covering this much of a gap during the season would be a big ask of the team.

If McLaren doesn’t catch up in 2016, there are the 2017 proposed regulation changes that will stir everything up again so let’s hope they don’t get caught out by those changes should they come to fruition. The proposed changes would eliminate the token spend system so the team may be able to make immediate changes as needed and I’m sure that’s a welcome thing inside Woking.