Honda eyes Monza qualifying mode step from new Formula 1 engine

Honda is hopeful its latest Formula 1 engine will close its qualifying deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari but admits its rivals "won't wait for us"

Honda eyes Monza qualifying mode step from new Formula 1 engine

The Japanese manufacturer's Spec 4 engine made its race debut last weekend in Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso and will be used this weekend by both Red Bull drivers.

Alex Albon served his grid penalty last weekend, so even though a new engine means Max Verstappen will start from the back, Monza will present the first chance for Honda to judge the Spec 4 against the latest upgrades Ferrari and Mercedes.

Honda's F1 managing director Toyoharu Tanabe told Autosport after Spa: "Our new Spec 4 worked properly, the result from the data shows as we expected.

"At the moment we are happy, we will analyse the data and try to optimise the calibration to improve performance as much as we can for Monza."

Honda has targeted an improved qualifying mode with its Spec 4.

Asked if he hoped its lingering Saturday deficit would be reduced now, Tanabe said: "I hope so. But other PU manufacturers have started to apply their latest specs.

"We haven't analysed the difference between their previous performance and [Spa].

"We will try to find out their improvement compared to our improvement but they don't wait for us.

"I hope we close the gap, but in reality from [Spa's] qualifying result we see a big gap between Ferrari and Mercedes - I don't know if they [Mercedes] had a problem in qualifying.

"I hope to close the gap, but it's not easy."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner described Honda's data from Spa as "encouraging" and thinks the new unit has delivered "what is expected".

But Ferrari has established itself as the new benchmark on the engine side, and the works cars will use the upgrade for the first time this weekend.

Although Ferrari's straightline speed is also boosted by the car's lower-downforce philosophy, Horner said it is "doing an incredible job".

"Their straightline speed looks hugely impressive, particularly on Saturdays," said Horner of his team's rival for second in the constructors' championship.

"So they're the benchmark that we all have to strive for.

"But the group behind seems to be converging, you'd have to say, between Mercedes, Honda and Renault.

"It definitely looks like finally we have some convergence."

Spa and Monza traditionally represent Red Bull's weakest circuits of the season, although Honda's progress meant it was slightly less concerned this year.

Horner accepted that grid penalties meant these two weekends were inevitably going to be "tough".

"Let's see what we've got in Monza, but then we would expect to be hopefully strong in Singapore and the races that follow that," he said.

"It should hopefully be an exciting run-in to the end of the year."

shares
comments
Italian Grand Prix finally secures F1 future with new Monza deal

Previous article

Italian Grand Prix finally secures F1 future with new Monza deal

Next article

Maldonado claims he was "very close" to a Ferrari F1 deal for 2014

Maldonado claims he was "very close" to a Ferrari F1 deal for 2014
Load comments
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Plus

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a ‘feel-good’ F1 result in Baku Plus

The changes behind a ‘feel-good’ F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Plus

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021
How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP Plus

How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP

Formula 1's return to Baku after a year away had thrown up an eventful qualifying marred by four red flags, but the race appeared to be running to a familiar Red Bull vs Mercedes template entering the closing stages. That is, until a dramatic conclusion where victory was snatched away from two drivers, before landing in the lap of Sergio Perez

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021