McLaren drivers will receive big penalties at the start of the race in Baku due to new parts of the Honda power unit, but drivers did not want to comment on whether new parts bring more power.
Sources close to McLaren and Honda claim that new parts really bring more power even though the new MGU-H has been redesigned to be more durable, but Honda will test out a few new parts on Friday that are part of the planned upgrade kit that will be used depending on the test’s performance.
The upgrade was due to arrive at Canada where Alonso almost won his first point of the season, but was late for reliability problems and delivering a new specification of Castrol fuel and oil.
McLaren’s patience is at its end, evident from executive director Zak Brown and Fernando Alonso who loudly mention other opportunities for 2018, especially return to Mercedes.
But Honda continues with the plan and in Baku brings the first part of the upgrade. How much power it brings nobody knows exactly. McLaren said they brought 12 BHP, but it could easily be conservative number for fear of failing to fulfill the promise again so they decided to make a more conservative estimate.
From other sources, Auto Motor und Sport learned that Honda in Baku brought about 30 BHP, which is half of the predicted 60 BHP progress of the whole upgrade. Part of this 30 BHP jump definitely comes from new fuel and lubricant.
The second part of the upgrade will arrive after a summer break, for the fast trails in Belgium and Italy.
Honda has already announced that Vandoorne and Alonso will get new MGU-H and turbo chargers in Baku and Vandoorne will gain new parts after the second training. Japanese manufacturer will try modifications on a number of components on Friday as they do not have to worry about penalties because they will start from the last row anyway.
Apart from the reliability itself, Honda’s problem are the driving characteristics of the new specification as well as the vibrations which have caused major problems since the early testing.
If the driving characteristics and vibration levels are not good enough, the drivers will return to the old specification.