Outgoing Honda Formula 1 project leader Yusuke Hasegawa believes that the championship’s new three-engine limit is “unreasonable”.
Some manufacturers could not get through 2017 under the then-limit of four engines, with Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, a Renault customer, describing the even tighter cap as “barking mad”.
However, a move to call off the change did not attract the unanimous support needed when raised during a late-season Strategy Group meeting, with Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne knocking back the idea.
FIA president Jean Todt said he was as unhappy as other people about the extent that some teams had been hit with grid penalties in 2017, but underlined nothing could be done to stop the three-engine move without unanimous agreement.
“It’s very tough,” said Hasegawa, who was speaking before the news he would no longer be working on the F1 project from the start of January.
“It’s not just for us. Renault had difficulties. I don’t think it’s reasonable. From a technical point of view, it’s difficult.
“If we save the engine performance, it’s easy to achieve. If we use 2000rpm lower, of course we can finish, but there’s no point.”
When asked if the regulation protected Mercedes and Ferrari, Hasegawa said, “As a consequence, yes. We have discussed many times.
“With three engines, it means we only have two chances to introduce a new (upgraded) engine.
“We need to introduce a good engine at the start, but if we don’t, we only have two chances to introduce a new engine.”
With engines required to last seven races this year, manufacturers face a difficult balance between pushing for performance and ensuring reliability.
“At this moment, we need to concentrate on reliability, to get an engine to do seven races,” said Hasegawa. “But we need to improve performance too.”
He added that he understood the reasoning behind the push for longer-life components.
“Reducing cost is important, so I support cost reduction,” Hasegawa said.