Honda F1 boss targets Renault with 'Spec 4' power unit

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Honda Formula 1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa is targeting moving ahead of Renault in the power unit order as the Japanese manufacturer continues development on a 'Spec 4' engine.

McLaren's engine partner has seen a gradual improvement in performance in recent races since updates were introduced in Baku, where the British team would also score their first points of 2017 and the full introduction of a 'Spec 3' unit from Austria.

That progress was rewarded with what Honda called their first problem-free weekend of the season in Hungary and a subsequent double points score with both drivers on a layout which masked the continued lack of overall power.

With confidence growing, Hasegawa now believes the focus can switch towards closing the performance gap.

"I really want to move ahead of Renault in terms of performance before the end of the season," he told Autosport. "I think we can keep the same ratio of increasing the power but it is difficult to catch up Mercedes or Ferrari."

The Japanese claims the figures coming for the next upgrade back up his aim, which if done could move McLaren onto a par with Red Bull.

"I will not tell you the number, but we are closing the gap," he added.

All of this would also improve the chances of McLaren deciding to remain with Honda for 2018 and beyond, as the horrendous first half of the season left the Woking outfit seeking alternatives.

Recently, Racing Director Eric Boullier set the deadline of September for a final decision on their future supplier but, looking around, Renault appears to be the only plausible option. "There is no doubt that we would like to continue to cooperate with McLaren," Hasegawa commented. "I think that with

"There is no doubt that we would like to continue to cooperate with McLaren," Hasegawa commented. "I think that with better performance we will continue to work together."

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