Honda beat its own expectations in Mexico

Fernando Alonso

Honda’s performance at the Mexican Grand Prix exceeded its own expectations says its Formula 1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa.

Honda chose to cop engine penalties in Mexico, where it anticipated a tough weekend, in deference to having new parts for the final two races of the year in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

However, both the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne performed well.

Alonso was fifth-fastest in Qualifying 1 and asserted that he had the fastest car in the field before finishing the race in 10th position.

“The performance was much better than we thought,” said Hasegawa.

“Before we came here, we thought our engine performance was worse than the other teams and the effect from the high altitude would be bad.

“But Sakura has worked hard to create a good set-up for this high altitude, which is why the engine power deficit was much smaller than we thought.

“This gap is smaller. The relative performance is still a bit behind, but we think we can catch up.”

Hasegawa pointed to gains made on Honda’s dynos at its Sakura base as a reason for its form in Mexico, where the high altitude puts a strain on the engines.

“Previously, we couldn’t create a good dyno system to evaluate the high-altitude situation,” he said.

“But in the last week, we have made improvements in Sakura, regarding the operation of the engine. We made improvements here.

“(Correlation) is getting much better from the beginning of the season.

“It is not 100% copying the circuit situation, so still we need to work but we are almost satisfied with the situation.

“This circumstance, the high altitude in Mexico, is unique, though.”

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