Honda: Our problem is the energy recovery systems

honda F1 power unit

McLaren and Honda are working hard to improve their relationship as the once-great collaboration struggles at the start of a new era, amid a multitude of problems with the Japanese manufacturer’s F1 power unit.

After Canada, reports suggested frustrations were beginning to show in the McLaren camp, but a source for the British team told Brazil’s Globo the relationship with Honda remains “good” and “healthy”.

The insider, however, admitted there are concerns about the methods that are currently in place as Honda grapples with the huge challenges of the current engine regulations.

“Our biggest problem is that when one area begins to function well, suddenly another, completely separate problem emerges,” McLaren technical boss Matt Morris said.


Honda’s F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai acknowledged the huge learning curve as the Japanese carmaker returns to the sport for the first time since 2008, when the former V8 engine rules were in place.

“Our greatest difficulty now,” he said, “is not in the internal combustion engine, but the energy recovery systems.”

Gary Anderson, a former F1 designer turned broadcaster, agrees that the current rules are “extremely complex” for manufacturers.

Another former F1 figure, Joan Villadelprat, explained: “It is much harder for engine manufacturers to be successful in F1 today than in my time at McLaren and Ferrari.


“The precision needed to integrate all the systems is an engineering challenge, I believe, that is beyond what we have ever seen in the history of F1.

“It’s why companies even with the structures of Renault and Honda have yet to master it,” he said.

McLaren team boss Eric Boullier has admitted the huge pressure on both sides of the collaboration to speed up the learning process, including by unleashing more resources.

But Morris said: “We are learning to deal with the situation, and improving the way we are working, but there are situations where there is no way to do it faster.”