Honda is preparing to spend the last of its engine upgrade ‘tokens’ soon.
McLaren’s works ‘power unit’ partner has made good progress in 2016 and still has three performance ‘tokens’ to further improve its unit this year.
“We introduced a new engine at Spa when there were nine races to go, so we will need to introduce another engine,” the Japanese marque’s F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint.
“It could happen in Malaysia or Japan or the US. We don’t want to take a penalty in Japan, so it would make sense to do it in Malaysia,” he added.
Indeed, avoiding a penalty and then having a strong engine for Suzuka would be a good sequel to the 2015 saga, when Fernando Alonso infamously derided his “GP2 engine”.
“We are still discussing with the team but I do not think the fans would let me take the penalty in Japan,” Hasegawa smiled.
It is also a possibility that while one McLaren-Honda driver will take the upgrade in Malaysia, another might have to wait until Austin late next month.
“It’s another point to be discussed,” Hasegawa confirmed. “We do not want both cars back on the grid from the perspective of the constructors’ championship, so it may be better to have different strategies between the cars.”