Honda wants to use its remaining Formula 1 engine development tokens for a limited number of very substantial upgrades rather than multiple small steps, according to motorsport chief Yusuke Hasegawa.
McLaren’s works partner is the only manufacturer to have not spent any of its engine tokens since the 2016 season started. Renault, which will introduce a major upgrade soon, used one for Bahrain while Mercedes and Ferrari spent two and three respectively for Russia.
“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.”
The World Motor Sport Council recently ratified new regulations that will mean the token system is abolished at the end of the season. It is part of a push for power convergence and Hasegawa says Honda is pleased with the decision.
“I’m happy that F1 is removing tokens for 2017 but it will be a major challenge for the engineers,” he said. “We can have more freedom for development, which is good. Cost reduction is very tough for every engine manufacturer so we’re happy.”
Plans to boost the engine noise involve the implementation of a standard power unit exhaust generator. Hasegawa is unsure whether F1 needs such a device but is in favor if that is what fans want.
“I don’t know if we need such a huge noise for Formula 1,” he said. “But if the fans want to introduce it then we’ll follow their opinions. We have a level of obligation as F1 members to follow what the fans want.”
TOKEN SPEND SO FAR THIS SEASON
Ferrari 26 (6 remaining)
Mercedes 21 (11 remaining)
Honda 18 (14 remaining)
Renault 8 (24 remaining)