Mar.15 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Honda has defended its woeful return to formula one in 2015 by saying it opted to go conservative for Melbourne.

Experts are predicting McLaren’s works supplier is up to an enormous 250 horse power down compared to Mercedes at the start of its new era on the grid.

But Honda’s F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai explained: “After the Barcelona test, we expected to be able to fight for a good position in Australia.

“Unfortunately we do not have experience at high temperatures. We cannot lose a power unit in the first race, so our setup this weekend is very conservative.

“The power of the internal combustion engine as well as the MGU-K is therefore reduced,” the Japanese added.

Nonetheless, the fact the MP4-30 is so “slow and reliable” will be alarming news for recovering star driver Fernando Alonso, watching on from Dubai, according to former F1 driver Mika Salo.

“There may be the view that Alonso doesn’t want to be involved at all if it’s like this,” he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

“But given how far away they are, they need him more than ever now,” Salo added.

Alonso is looking to return in Malaysia in two weeks, which is typically one of the hottest races on the calendar.

“We have identified the problems,” said Honda’s Arai, “but unfortunately we cannot do everything to resolve them by Malaysia.”