Honda not ‘match fit’ for 2015 return – Arai


(GMM) Honda's F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai has admitted the Japanese marque struggled with a 'lack of match sharpness' as it returned to the grid in 2015.

Teaming up with McLaren, Honda struggled badly last year and Arai admitted to the Nikkei Asian Review: "We felt the effects of our seven year absence from racing.

"We anticipated technological troubles. And although we recognized them, we failed to quickly pinpoint the causes, come up with measures to resolve them and make the necessary adjustments.

"We were suffering from what athletes call a 'lack of match sharpness'," Arai added.

Despite their glorious history, there was also some tension with McLaren, with Arai admitting that of Honda's F1 workforce "about half" were completely new to F1.

"The talks (with McLaren) are neither cozy nor confrontational," he said. "Sometime around last summer, they asked if we had sufficient resources and wanted to know why we were doing things exclusively on our own.

"But we explained that Honda has a different philosophy. It's important to nurture manpower."

Arai said, however, that there is now light at the end of the tunnel, after undertaking a full analysis in order to "thoroughly" fix the engine problems for 2016.

"I couldn't say we would definitely find solutions within a year," he said.

"(But) we're keen to meet everyone's expectations and reach the podium as soon as possible. We will resolve the technological problems we failed to address in 2015 and will head into the opening race with confidence."

As for the question about resources, Arai insisted: "We don't disclose details about that. I can't even talk about percentage changes. But we have been considering the budget and team size since last summer.

"I've talked with (Honda) president Takahiro Hachigo and received his pledge for full support. We are ready for the 2016 season."

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