Honda engineers were left scratching their heads last Christmas, when an engine specifications that worked on a mono-cylinder brought problems when transferred to the V6 engine. Having found the problem so late, the manufacturer was forced to compromise, leading to a disastrous preseason for McLaren. In theory, with the team having known at the very least that these problems were possible, there should be a solution relatively soon, but that’s not for certain. “We did some good progress in the mono-cylinder on the dyno, but as soon as we complete the V6 engine we had many issues,” said Honda F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa. “What we achieved in mono-cylinder is at a very good level, but when we transfer the exact same specification to the V6 engine, it doesn’t work. We are very disappointed. But it was too late that we noticed that – at Christmas. “After we understood the issues, it was the time we needed to confirm the final specification – we needed to have some compromise.” In preseason testing, Honda found that there was a big problem with vibrations, something that hadn’t been an issue on the dyno. “When we have a gearbox, driveshaft, and tyre it has some resonance,” Hasegawa said. “I’m not blaming the chassis. We have to realise the situation on the dyno as well.” It’s a bit of a disaster for Honda. Hasegawa had said the engine was close to 2016 Mercedes levels which, whilst not great, would have been an improvement. Maybe what the team achieved on the mono-cylinder really was at that level, but every step they took closer to the engine that would actually be in the car revealed more and more problems, and they’ve yet to find solutions. Rather than going forwards, the manufacturer has gone backwards, prompting speculation that McLaren will jump ship and return to Mercedes in the near future. But how is it possible to have been so wrong? It all comes down to that “radical new design” Honda had been talking about before testing. Since the token system was scrapped, the manufacturer has been trying to replicate the technology its competitors use. The difficulty of this engineers underestimated. “As a matter of fact, we were thinking [it was] too easy,” said Hasagawa. “And it was too difficult to achieve the new technology – that was my mistake.” Honda have started working on solutions, and McLaren will be glad to hear they already have “good levels of performance with the mono-cylinder engine”! Hasagawa also said he has some confidence that they will be able to transfer the technology to the V6 successfully. The plan is to introduce updates by round five (Spain) or six (Monaco). For more Formula One news and discussions head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members. Do you expect there to be a big difference when the engine update comes in? Should McLaren just cut their losses and go to Mercedes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.