Having wrapped up Formula 1 testing at the Hungaroring, Honda’s principal engineer Satoshi Nakamura says the Japanese manufacturer will pause over the summer break have trailed new power unit parts as part of its continual hunt for performance.

After a gruelling opening half of the 2017 F1 season, having seen its new concept power unit fail to deliver and suffer with underperformance and unreliability, Honda has once again been playing catch-up to its rivals with a stream of updates throughout the campaign.

McLaren-Honda enjoyed its best race of the season in Hungary, albeit at one of the least power sensitive circuit, with a first double points finish of 2017 to jump above Sauber at the bottom of the F1 world constructors’ championship.

Following on from the Hungarian Grand Prix, McLaren-Honda says it had a productive two-day in-season test as Honda experimented with new engine elements aimed to step up performance and driveability.

With McLaren junior driver Lando Norris experiencing his maiden 2017 F1 car, Honda principal engineer Nakamura says the British teenager impressed the team by collecting ‘precious data’ which the team aims to digest over the summer break.

“The team fitted some new elements after the lunch break on day two which slightly delaying our return to the track,” Nakamura said. “However, Lando still managed to complete 91 laps in his first outing behind the wheel of the MCL32.

“We were also able to collect precious data for further improvement of both performance and reliability, in readiness for a good start to the second half of the season.

“The team now goes into the summer break: a chance to take a breath and replenish the reserves after a tough first half of the year, before we gear up again for the remainder of the season.

“Having finished a positive race and test here in Hungary, we’re also really looking forward to getting back on track in Spa-Francorchamps to show competitive pace there.”

Norris ended his first F1 test with the MCL32 second on the combined timesheet with a best lap of 1m 17.385s, albeit on ultra-soft Pirelli tyres not used during the Hungarian Grand Prix, but the lap would have theoretically put the 17-year-old seventh on the grid in last weekend’s race.

Honda's own future in F1 remains uncertain after seeing its Sauber deal for 2018 fall through, who have secured a fresh contract with Ferrari, while rumours continue to link the Japanese manufacturer with Toro Rosso for next year.


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