Honda feel the heat as tensions rise

Sat Sep 5, 2015 1:54pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - McLaren's engine partners Honda faced a media battering on Saturday after the team showed no signs of improvement in Italian Grand Prix qualifying and internal strains rose to the surface.

Honda's chief officer of motorsport Yasuhisa Arai, who arrived at the track only on Saturday, was subjected to a barrage of questions at a post-qualifying media briefing in the McLaren hospitality.

Still smiling as reporters asked whether he had considered resigning, was embarrassed by Honda's poor performance and had apologized to the team's world champion drivers, the Japanese shook his head.

"We do many efforts to get more horsepower and good control for both drivers," he said. "This circuit is very difficult for our power unit.

"I always talk with both drivers," said Arai, adding: "I don't answer" when pressed again on whether he had apologized to them.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso qualified 17th, but will start 16th due to penalties to others, and made clear that the under-performing power unit was the main problem.

"It's a track with six corners...on the GPS we lose two or three tenths in those six corners," the Spaniard told television reporters.

"The rest of the three seconds (deficit) we lose on the straights. We are on full throttle with the steering wheel straight."   Continued...

Yasuhisa Arai gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Honda Motor Co's headquarters in Tokyo February 27, 2014.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino