Honda’s out going Formula 1 project leader, Yusuke Hasegawa, has criticised the new three-engine per season limit set to be introduced to F1 in 2018.
The change takes the engine limit from four per season in 2017, to just three in 2018, with Hasegawa stating the move is ‘unreasonable’.
Red Bull’s team manager Christian Horner strongly disagrees with the change, calling it ‘barking mad’ to be cutting back on power unit usage after teams struggled to get through 2017 with four engines.
However, not all teams are in agreement that the three-engine limit needs changing for 2018, including Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne who bolstered the idea in the last Strategy Group meeting, leaving no hope for the rule to be mended.
“It’s very tough,” said Hasegawa
“It’s not just for us [Honda]. 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.”
Hasegawa believes the new regulation protects the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, and when questioned on it, he 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.
“Reducing cost is important, so I support cost reduction.”
In 2018, each engine will be required to last seven races, meaning manufacturers face a difficult balance between performance and 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.
“It’s good we have a baseline. We need to confirm the current engine is OK. As soon as we confirm that, we’ll do the next step.
Mercedes engine chief engineer Phil Prew, says the manufacturer will always be at the edge of reliability, in an interview with Motorsport.com.
Mercedes proved to be the most reliable engine in the 2017 Formula 1 season, with Lewis Hamilton the only Mercedes-powered driver to pick up an engine grid penalty thanks to a tactical engine swap after he crashed out of Qualifying in Brazil.
Prew told Motorsport.com his team will still push their 2018 power unit to the edge of reliability because turning down the engine is “not going to win us championships”.
“To be honest, we’ll always be at the edge because you will always want to push the performance up to the durability of the power unit,” he said.
“It’s easy to turn down a power unit and find reliability – we don’t want that, that’s not going to win us championships.
“So we will be busy understanding our current limitations, understanding how we can continue to get more mileage out of the engines, more mileage out of the electrical hybrid systems, so that we can get through next year’s championship with the proscribed number of units, not have any penalties on the track, and deliver the level of performance we all know the engine is capable of.”