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Honda: No sign of any issues in Alonso’s Belgian GP engine data

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Honda Formula 1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa has revealed there was no sign of an engine issue in Fernando Alonso’s engine data from the Belgian Grand Prix, but opted to retire his car as a precaution on Sunday at Spa.

Alonso reported over the radio that he had an issue with his engine, prompting McLaren to call him into the pits and park him up after 25 laps of the race.

Honda has been struggling for either reliability or performance for much of this season, with a number of problems with its power unit resulting in retirements earlier in the year.

However, Hasegawa confirmed after the race that Alonso’s engine data showed no abnormalities despite his report.

“We thought we had the possibility of scoring some points here in Belgium today, so it was disappointing that we finished the race outside of the top 10,” Hasegawa said.

“After starting brilliantly, Fernando then had a tough race overall. He radioed in with what he thought was a problem with the car.

“Although there was nothing showing in the data, we decided to stop the car as a precaution.”

Eagle-eyed fans noted on Twitter after the race that Alonso’s call regarding his engine came not long after a query about the weather, asking if any rain was on the horizon.

Alonso had vented his frustration about the lack of straight-line speed and power from his car earlier in the race, being left a sitting duck while running P7 after a rocket start.

It is not the first time there has been doubt about Alonso’s report of issues with his Honda power unit, with his retirement late on in Bahrain also being suspect.

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.