Hasegawa: Cutting F1 engine numbers increases costs

Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa says the FIA’s plan to cut the number of permitted engine elements down to three per season will achieve the opposite effect of its desired outcome by raising costs in Formula 1.

The Honda F1 chief says producing a reliable engine to last multiple race weekends means each manufacturer has to invest heavily in research and development to ensure it remains competitive while also sustainable.

After Honda’s difficult return to F1 as engine supplier to McLaren, which will come to an end this year and it will switch to a new partnership with Toro Rosso in 2018, the Japanese manufacturer has been hit hardest by the rules with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne picking up the most grid drop penalties for exceeding the number of permitted parts this season.

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Alonso is on his tenth turbo charger and motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), eighth internal combustion unit and motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), seventh energy store and sixth control electronics unit – effectively double the number of permitted elements stated by the FIA rules for an entire season and still has four races remaining.

As a result, Hasegawa has warned of the “difficult challenge” of aiming to be competitive and reliable when the number of permitted elements is reduced in 2018 when each driver will be allowed just two MGU-Ks, control electronics and energy stores and three MGU-Hs and turbochargers for an entire season.

“It is a very difficult challenge,” Hasegawa said. “Of course for Honda and some of the manufacturers three engines is very difficult.

“Three engines is not making a cost reduction, so the teams are always encouraged to improve the performance of the three engines, so that’s why we have to put more budget for that. If the FIA is aiming to reduce budget with the three engines it is completely the opposite side.”

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