Honda aims to overtake Renault before 2017 season ends

Japanese manufacturers Honda have been established in fourth-place in the engine pecking order since rejoining Formula 1 in 2015, but they now believe they can leapfrog Renault before the 2017 season comes to a close

Major changes to the engine concept over the winter have led to difficulties for Honda this season, as the team has struggled for reliability and consistency, but a breakthrough seems to have been made in recent races.

Honda scored their first points during June’s race in Azerbaijan and followed that with a double-points finish in Hungary last time out, raising optimism for the second-stage of the Formula 1 calendar which follows this month’s summer break.

With the turn in fortunes, Honda are now looking to rise up the pecking order and chief Yusuke Hasegwa believes the team can leapfrog Renault before the end of the season. Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said:

“I think we can keep the same ratio of the increasing of the power but it is difficult to catch up Mercedes or Ferrari. I really want to move ahead of Renault in terms of performance before the end of the season.”

Pressed as to whether that aspiration is a genuine possibility, Hasegwa responded:

“Yes, I can see that on the data. I will not tell you the number, but we are closing the gap.”

With Honda on the rise, the manufacturer looks the strongest they have been since their return to Formula 1 two years ago but there’s still work to be done, with drivers stating there was a lack of power during the most recent race in Hungary.

Work is going on behind the scenes at the team bases in Sakura and Milton Keynes, with Honda hoping to utilise ‘spec 4’ imminently ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of the month.