Motor racing: Honda hoping for happier homecoming

Wed Oct 5, 2016 10:07pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Abhishek Takle

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Honda, engine suppliers to former world champions McLaren, are expecting a happier homecoming than last year in Sunday's Japanese Formula One Grand Prix.

Last year's race at the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit was arguably the low point of a bruising season for the Japanese manufacturer, marred by unreliability and a lack of performance from their engines.

With Honda management watching, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were easy pickings for rivals -- prompting the Spaniard to criticize the engine in a radio transmission broadcast live across the world.

"I was not in the team in the Suzuka situation so I didn't know the actual situation," Honda's Formula One head Yusuke Hasegawa, who replaced Yasuhisa Arai in the role early this year, told Reuters.

"From the outside point of view, of course, it was a very tough moment.

"But it was a moment we had to experience, I think. Because of Fernando's comment and also the very tough result, we tried harder in the last year."

Honda returned to Formula One in 2015, having last fielded a works outfit in 2008, but their renewed partnership with McLaren has struggled to get up to speed.

McLaren finished ninth in the constructors standings last year, above only backmarkers Manor.   Continued...

A Honda logo is seen on media day at the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier