Almost unnoticed in the Albert Park paddock last weekend strolled two Japanese with very big plans.
Speed Week correspondent Mathias Brunner reports that Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s new F1 boss, and the Japanese marque’s technical chief Kazuo Sakurahara were on an ununiformed mission to learn and observe as the 2014 season kicked off.
It is not until 2015 that Honda, absent from the paddock since the shock decision in late 2008 to pull its Brackley based works team from F1, will return to the grid as McLaren‘s supplier of works turbo V6 engines.
But as F1’s brave new era began in Australia, “It was the first of many visits this year,” Brunner claimed, as the Honda duo embark upon a meticulous mission to be up to speed against experienced rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
Arai is quoted as saying: “At the beginning (of the V6 programme) there were some difficulties, but at the moment we are quite satisfied with our level of development.”
Undoubtedly, F1’s smaller, greener and more relevant engine regulations lured the modern-minded Honda back to the sport, but Arai insists that the ultimate ambition is clear.
“There’s no point in racing unless you win,” he is quoted by Japan Today.
“That’s why we teamed up with a winning team,” Arai added, referring to McLaren, who in 2014 are spending their twentieth and last season with Mercedes power.