Honda wants to start 2019 with third-best engine

Honda's target for the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season is to establish itself ahead of Renault and then try to catch Mercedes and Ferrari during the year.

Honda wants to start 2019 with third-best engine

The Japanese manufacturer has been the fourth-best in F1 since returning to the grid in 2015, enticed by the current V6 turbo-hybrid regulations.

Honda struggled to make progress with McLaren but last year made a strong step forward with Toro Rosso, to the point where it convinced Red Bull to switch to its engines for 2019 and was declared to have surpassed Renault's performance level.

Asked where Honda would be able to start 2019, given its development in 2018, the company's motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto told Motorsport.com: "We will make a big effort during the winter, and [up until] now of course.

"At least we would like to start from third within the manufacturers, then try to catch the frontrunners up during the season."

Honda remains optimistic it will make further performance gains in time for the start of the 2019 campaign, although it is still trying to improve its reliability.

Neither Honda nor Red Bull, which has publicly stated it expects to take tactical engine changes and grid penalties at some point in 2019, expect flawless reliability this year.

Instead, Honda is focused on closing the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari at a greater pace after taking longer than it wanted to make progress.

"We are not really keen to say a specific time, but Mercedes and Ferrari have loads of knowledge of the grey areas [of the rules], so they are still ahead of us," said Yamamoto.

"But after four years of our development and trying, we think we are now finding the right direction and where to go – much clearer than last year, or two years ago.

"So we think we can speed up our development."

Honda introduced two engine upgrades in 2018, both of which resulted in better performance, but the second initially came at a cost of durability as it battled gearbox oscillations.

Pierre Gasly then suffered an oil leak in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

The evolution of this engine design, which Honda intends to start the 2019 campaign with, should not come with a repeat of those problems.

Honda is preparing to start the third year with the same broad engine concept for the first time in this engine era, having ended 2018 with untapped potential.

"To tell you the truth, we're still learning from the latest specification at the track," Honda's F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe told Motorsport.com in Abu Dhabi last November.

"That's not [always] a good thing, but it's a little bit harder to understand everything on the dyno. That's why we're here, the engineers. We're part of the development.

"We feed back many things between Sakura and here. The latest spec, we have a lot of things to communicate between the development."

shares
comments
Time is running out! Join Giorgio Piola’s Kickstarter movement today

Previous article

Time is running out! Join Giorgio Piola’s Kickstarter movement today

Next article

Why F1 can't expect 2010-spec Kubica this year

Why F1 can't expect 2010-spec Kubica this year
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Scott Mitchell
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021