Almost unnoticed in the Albert Park paddock, during the Australian Grand Prix weekend, mingling with Formula 1 regulars were two Japanese engineers with very big plans.
Speed Week correspondent Mathias Brunner reports that Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s new Formula 1 boss, and the Japanese marque’s technical chief Kazuo Sakurahara were on an ‘un-uniformed’ mission to learn and observe as the 2014 season kicked off.
It is not until 2015 that Honda, absent from the paddock since the shock decision in late 2008 to pull its Brackley based works team from Formula 1, will return to the grid as McLaren’s supplier of works turbo V6 engines.
But as Formula 1’s new era began in Australia, “It was the first of many visits this year,” Brunner claimed, as the Honda duo embark upon a meticulous mission to be up to speed against experienced rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
Arai is quoted as saying: “At the beginning [of our V6 programme] there were some difficulties, but at the moment we are quite satisfied with our level of development.”
Undoubtedly, Formula 1’s smaller, greener and more relevant engine regulations lured the modern-minded Honda back to the sport, but Arai insists that the ultimate ambition is clear.
“There’s no point in racing unless you win,” he is quoted by Japan Today.
“That’s why we teamed up with a winning team,” Arai added, referring to McLaren, who in 2014 are spending their twentieth and last season with Mercedes power. (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.