Engine guru Gilles Simon leaves Honda

A Honda spokesman has confirmed that engine expert Gilles Simon has left his role as a consultant on the manufacturer’s Formula 1 programme.

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The 58-year-old engine guru, who is best known for his work with Ferrari during the successful Schumacher years, had been part of Honda’s core team of engineers since its return to F1 in 2013.

It is not known whether Simon’s demise is linked to the issues Honda faced last week, or whether the engineer left because he believed his ideas were not taken into account.

Honda’s weak start to its 2017 campaign with partner McLaren last week in Barcelona was an unfortunate throwback to the miserable start it endured in 2015.

Following two separate issues last week, Honda was forced to undertake two power unit changes, a state of affairs which in turn hindered McLaren progress, but also had Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa “worried’ about whether reliability and performance would be available in time for the season-opening Australian GP.

 McLaren racing director Eric Boullier, while admitting the situation was not ideal, was confident the issues could be fixed.

“There is a bit more work to be done in Japan to investigate why we had those issues: issues that we absolutely did not expect to have – and for sure neither did Honda,” Boullier said.

“It is fixable, but it was not the plan to have these issues. They are not really serious, as there are no fundamental issues with the design.”

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