Honda: New F1 engine an aero boost for Red Bull

Honda says the aerodynamics of Red Bull’s new RB16B Formula 1 car have been boosted by the design tweaks it made to produce a new super-compact engine.

Honda: New F1 engine an aero boost for Red Bull

The Japanese car manufacturer has entered its final season in F1 with an all-new power unit concept that partner Red Bull will take on to run itself in the future.

For the 2021 design, Honda has gone aggressive with its packaging and introduced some key changes to push the size boundaries that it famously tried before with its original ‘size zero’ engine with McLaren in 2015.

But while that 2015 power unit proved troublesome – with cooling problems and the smaller turbo unable to deliver necessary boost levels – and prompted a revised approach from Honda, its return to compact packaging is clearly working this time.

Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says that no stone was left unturned in its efforts to deliver something that would boost both power and packaging for Red Bull.

“We reviewed every single part and the kind of concept of our previous PU, and then we designed this year’s PU as a new PU,” he said.

“Of course our desire to improve our performance in our PU means ICE and ERS. Also with the new design we made it a little bit more compact compared to previous PU.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

"I think it has contributed to the car package and performance as well.”

Speaking after the Bahrain Grand Prix, Tanabe opened up on what specific changes have been made to the power unit, and why they have been such a help for Red Bull.

“The camshaft position has been lowered, and we have lowered the engine height,” he explained. “It is a compact package.

“As a result, when the engine is installed in the chassis, the degree of freedom of the airflow flowing inside the car is increased. In other words, it has contributed to the aerodynamics.

“It's hard to come up with exact numbers as to how much downforce has increased and how much lap time has been improved, but [Adrian] Newey said that he was grateful for the power unit being more compact and it contributing to the new installation.”

Honda’s effort with Red Bull paid off at the Bahrain Grand Prix F1 season opener, with Max Verstappen taking pole position and battling eventual victory Lewis Hamilton for the win.

shares
comments

Related video

The trait that has helped Tsunoda shine in F1 so far

Previous article

The trait that has helped Tsunoda shine in F1 so far

Next article

Differential issue cost Verstappen 0.3s per lap in Bahrain F1 GP

Differential issue cost Verstappen 0.3s per lap in Bahrain F1 GP
Load comments
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021