While speculation continues to mount on the impending McLaren-Honda divorce, Yusuke Hasegawa sees the Singapore Grand Prix as a pivotal opportunity for points before the end of the 2017 season.

Singapore is expected to host the official confirmation of the McLaren and Honda split as the Woking-based team secures Renault power units for next year, while Honda will retain its place in F1 as it partners up with Toro Rosso after detailed negotiations stalled in Monza which saw an initial deal deadline pass.

Within the complex deals Carlos Sainz is rumoured to be switched from Toro Rosso to Renault alongside Nico Hulkenberg for 2018 as a sweetener for the engine deal.

Amid the rumours, Honda is focusing on a strong showing for the remainder of 2017 after a dreadful campaign with an unreliable and underpower engine which has stretched its relationship with McLaren to breaking point.

Due to the track characteristics of the Marian Bay Street Circuit, it has been pinpointed as McLaren-Honda’s best opportunity for points in the remaining races having seen Fernando Alonso claim sixth place in Hungary - the last previous twisty and less power-dependent circuit on the F1 calendar.

As a result, Hasegawa is hoping for a trouble-free race weekend to ease the frustrations from the past two rounds in Belgium and Italy which saw just one classified finish between Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

“We had a disappointing result last time out at the Italian Grand Prix, however, it was still positive that we had good pace on such a power-hungry track,” Hasegawa said. “In stark contrast to Monza, with so many tight, slow corners, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is less reliant on outright power and plays more to our strengths as we saw at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this season.

“The car’s overall balance between power unit and chassis will be the key to a good weekend, so our engineers are hard at work preparing the ideal set-up. Hopefully we can provide the drivers with a good package so they can be in the hunt for much-needed points.”

Reliability woes still remain for Honda after Vandoorne was forced to retire with engine issues at Monza and the team is still uncertain whether the Belgian driver will have to take further engine penalties at Singapore.


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