The crucial lesson Honda learned in 2018

The FIA U-turn that caught Honda out ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix helped the Formula 1 engine manufacturer make an important breakthrough with the governing body in 2018.

The crucial lesson Honda learned in 2018

Honda had to abort a planned change to help its upgraded F1 engine at Suzuka after being "surprised" by an instruction shortly before the start of the race to go back to the post shift ignition retard settings it had used in qualifying.

A written request to make that change in parc ferme conditions had been approved by the FIA's technical delegate, Jo Bauer.

Honda was unhappy with the apparent late change of heart, but the matter boiled down to a disagreement over the purpose and impact of the change.

It led to Honda writing to the FIA to clarify how that decision was made. This proved to be a crucial lesson in liaising with the rulemaker, because Honda’s bid to catch engine benchmarks Mercedes and Ferrari will require treading fine lines.

“It shows how important communication is,” Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto told Motorsport.com of the incident. “What happened there, is the current FIA [rules] is really complicated.

“So, some data change, understanding some data change looks different from the aspect from where you see from.

“From Honda's point of view, we thought we were right, but from the FIA's point of view they thought they were right. We can't really say which is right, but it's just coming from that difference of understanding.

“We now have a major understanding together.”

Read Also:

Aside from on-track performance and reliability, Honda views communication as the major difference it experienced with Toro Rosso this season compared to its previous three years with McLaren.

It leant on its new team partner to communicate with the FIA for much of this season.

“This year we have basically been talking through Franz [Tost, Toro Rosso team principal], said Yamamoto. “Franz gave us some information about FIA, FIA resources, regulations as well.

“We directly talk as well, but the team supports us in terms of key aspects of the regulations.”

Making progress with how to discuss things directly with the FIA marks a significant step for Honda, which has also acknowledged the impact of the differences between Japanese and European culture.

While Yamamoto is happy with the improvements so far, he believes it will be vital for Honda to continue to become more expressive alongside Red Bull next season.

“At least compared to the last three years, those kind of friendly, or mutual, communications between FIA or FOM is getting much better,” he said.

“I think the way we had communication with FIA in Suzuka was not quite the right way. But now everything is clear.

“A tendency of Japanese people, of personality, of nationality, is to be a bit hesitant to say something to everybody. But this is motorsport, we have to win together.

"So in order to make that come true, we have to have more open communication. We have to say what we think more. That's the important thing.”

For PRIME users:

Honda Hybrid logo on the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Honda Hybrid logo on the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Photo by: Andy Hone / LAT Images

shares
comments
The Minardi star with a six-wheeled love affair
Previous article

The Minardi star with a six-wheeled love affair

Next article

Renault "sorry, but not sorry" about Red Bull divorce

Renault "sorry, but not sorry" about Red Bull divorce
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle Prime

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021