Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa says the engine supplier hasn't decided whether it will introduce a further power unit update at the Malaysian Grand Prix or hold off until its home race at Suzuka.
The Japanese manufacturer has confirmed its latest configuration of power unit is ready to be rolled out but wants to understand McLaren's 'balance of performance' at Sepang before making a final decision, while it has also raised concerns over reliability in the intense heat and humidity.
“The circuit in Sepang is an undulating mix of long straights and sweeping corners, which all make for an exciting race with lots of good overtaking battles,” Hasegawa said. “We are not 100 per cent certain if we will install any power unit updates for this race, but we'll look to make our final decision at the track based on the balance of performance and reliability.
“The Malaysian Grand Prix will no doubt be another hot and humid battle to be fought amongst the drivers. The changeable conditions mean it will be tricky to find a good balance with the car, and the rain can of course give us an added challenge.”
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Honda has already spent a sizeable number of power unit update tokens in 2016, most recently at Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix, but the latest upgrade is believed to be the final step up for the season.
Hasegawa has also paid tribute to Jenson Button who is set to celebrate his 300th F1 race start at Sepang this weekend. Button holds the record as the last Honda-powered driver to win an F1 race (2006 Hungarian Grand Prix) while he claimed two podium finishes with the Japanese manufacturer at Sepang (2004 and 2006).
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“This will be a race to celebrate as Jenson makes his 300th grand prix start, which is an incredible milestone and achievement in such a demanding sport,” he said. “We're lucky to have two world champion drivers in the team with such experience, and hope that we can finish with a strong result for everyone in the team.”
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