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Honda will do ‘everything’ in bid to fix McLaren F1 partnership

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Honda is doing “everything” in a bid to fix its struggling Formula 1 partnership with McLaren amid ongoing power unit problems, according to sporting chief Yusuke Hasegawa.

The McLaren-Honda partnership is now into its third year, but has shown few signs of progress in that time as the British team currently ails at the back of the grid.

McLaren executive director Zak Brown offered the team’s most scathing assessment of Honda’s problems yet earlier this week, saying the Japanese manufacturer looked “lost” and that the partnership was nearing a “fork in the road”.

When asked for a response to Brown’s comments on Friday, Hasegawa said: “I don’t respond.

“Of course we are talking together, even this morning. It is obvious we are frustrated with the current situation and we are disappointing with our team result, so there is no wonder there are some complaining comments.

“But the things we can do is try our very best for the team, and we are still aiming to go the same direction.”

Hasegawa said that Honda needs to up its game and prove to McLaren that it has the potential to lift the team up the grid and become competitive.

“It is very difficult but it is very unfortunate that we can’t convince them that we can do that,” Hasegawa said.

“From the results point of view of course we need much improvement, from the performance and the reliability point of view. So, yeah, we will do everything. We need to do everything.”

Brown said in the interview earlier this week that Honda was behind schedule on planned updates for its power unit, with the package set to be introduced in Canada never appearing. However, Hasegawa claimed that it was never promised.

“We don’t promise normally, although of course every time I try to update the engine as soon as possible, so every time we are ready, we will introduce it,” Hasegawa said.

“Unfortunately, it has not happened here. So, still we are trying hard in Japan, and so as soon as it is ready, we will introduce it.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”