Honda: Changes to 2017 engine are 'high risk'

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Honda has admitted that the redesign of its Formula One power unit for the 2017 season comes with a high level of risk.

Now that F1's token system has been abolished, Honda has opted to make big changes to the layout of its power unit to try to close the gap to rivals Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes. Speaking to Autosport, Honda engine boss Yasuke Hasegawa did not elaborate on the details of the changes but did say the winter redesign comes with a high level of risk.

"The concept is completely different," he said. "It's very high risk, we don't know a lot of things about that new concept.

"We know it will give us a performance advantage but the biggest risk is whether we can realise that potential this year."

Last year, Honda overcame the failings of its 2015-spec MGU-H during the winter before a series of in-season upgrades to its internal combustion engine (ICE) and turbocharger helped boost performance towards the end of the season. Hasegawa said the focus would remain on combustion this year, but that it would be vital to develop the other elements of the power unit to gain the most from the increased performance of the engine.

"We need to concentrate on the ICE for this year," he added. "If we improve the engine itself, which means boosting exhaust gas energy, we need to boost the turbine otherwise we cannot perform at the same level in terms of deployment.

"We still have to do some tests and there will be some trial and error. I hope we have understood the direction and the elements to focus on. But it's not easy to combine the elements to realise the improvements on the ICE completely."