Yusuke Hasegawa says Honda is looking to make its fans proud at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix by building on the strong performance it delivered in Malaysia last Sunday.

Partner team McLaren placed its two cars in the points-paying positions at Sepang, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button coming home seventh and ninth respectively.

The Spaniard also ran Honda’s latest power unit upgrade, with the Japanese manufacturer keen to take engine grid penalties in Malaysia rather than at his home race in Suzuka.

“It is a very special place and an important race weekend, of course for Honda but also for me personally – I have great memories of racing there with Formula 1 in years gone by,” Hasegawa said.

“I am thankful for all the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic F1 fans, who expect a lot from us, but are very understanding at the same time. I hope that our team’s progress encourages more spectators to join us at Suzuka and help increase McLaren-Honda’s fan base.”

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With Alonso finishing seventh in three of the last four races, Honda’s head of F1 project hopes the team can once again emerge as the fourth-quickest outfit in Japan, if not challenge the ‘Big Three’ of Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari.

“Suzuka is a track highly rated by the drivers for its technical and complex nature. In order to succeed there, there must be a good balance between the power unit and chassis.

“We will do our utmost to set up the car to hopefully score more points and be within reach of the top three teams. I hope that we can have a race that we can be proud of, and that our fans can be proud of, too.”

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