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Honda: Limiting engines helps Mercedes, Ferrari & makes F1 less attractive

Written by  Jan 04, 2018

Former Head of Honda's Formula 1 operation, Yusuke Hasegawa believes the limit of just three engines for the 2018 season only benefits Mercedes and Ferrari while also making the sport less attractive to other manufacturers.

Last season, when the number allowed was four, Honda's problematic engine led to McLaren having to take grid drops from as early as round four in Russia but would make some progress throughout the year with only three engine-related retirements in the final 10 races.

With still plenty of work to be done to catch up with their rivals, Hasegawa admits the efforts have had to be on trying and minimise the grid penalties which seem almost inevitable at some stage, rather than looking at closing at the performance gap.

"It's very tough," he said of the engine restrictions to Racer. "I don't think it's reasonable from a technical point of view, it's too difficult."

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A side effect of the limit on engines is manufacturers also have fewer opportunities to introduce upgrades which in turn, the ex-Honda boss agrees, means those with more performance can keep their advantage for longer.

"With three engines, it means we only have two chances to introduce a new engine," he explained. "Reducing cost is important, but F1 is a technical challenge  unless we can prove something better, there is no meaning to stay in F1."

Mercedes, on the other hand, insist performance will continue to be pushed to the limit despite the restrictions and that development will be in line with looking to improve the lifespan of engine parts.

"We will be busy understanding how we can continue to get more mileage out of the engines, more mileage out of the electric hybrid systems, so that we can get through next year's championship with the prescribed number of units and deliver the level of performance we all know the engine is capable of," Chief Engineer Phil Prew told Autosport.

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