Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa says it is under less pressure externally for 2018 but the pressure within the Japanese manufacturer remains constant as it prepares for its new partnership with Toro Rosso.

After three frustrating seasons with McLaren the split was confirmed in Singapore with Honda set to begin a new venture with Toro Rosso as the British F1 team switches to Renault power from 2018.

At the Japanese Grand Prix, Hasegawa confirmed preparations for its move to Toro Rosso were already in action and while he feels the switch to the Italian team won’t be hugely different to working with McLaren he admits there will be less external pressure.

McLaren were continually critical of Honda which led towards its eventual divorce, with Fernando Alonso frequently giving outbursts of his anger at the engine over team radio while feeling he’d have a title-contending car with a power unit up the standard of the front-runners.

“Maybe I will feel a bit less pressure from the outside but from the inside there is no difference,” Hasegawa said. “We need to prove that we can do a better job for next year.

“I don’t think it’s a huge difference. We have already started the preparation for next year. They are very kind and they are very excited to have a new partnership and of course we are feeling the same thing.”


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