Honda reveals fast-tracked F1 power unit upgrade introduced at Spa

Honda has revealed it introduced a fast-tracked upgrade for its Formula 1 power unit energy store to Max Verstappen’s car at Spa last month, boosting his championship challenge.

Honda reveals fast-tracked F1 power unit upgrade introduced at Spa

Honda will quit F1 at the end of the season following a seven-season stint back in the series, during which it has worked with McLaren, Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

Red Bull has a chance to give Honda a farewell championship as it goes head-to-head with Mercedes for the constructors’ title, as well as seeing Verstappen in the thick of the fight for the drivers’ crown.

Honda worked to fast-track a number of its power unit developments initially planned for the 2022 season onto its 2021 design, bringing forward upgrades to assist its customer teams.

The latest step forward arrived last month at the Belgian Grand Prix when years of development led to the introduction of a new energy store that debuted on Verstappen’s car. Under the current regulations, each power unit component can be upgraded once per season.

Honda revealed on Wednesday ahead of the Russian Grand Prix that the new energy store had been introduced two races ago at Spa.

“This new energy store has been developed in a project that has taken several years, with an aim to combine improvements in energy efficiency with significant reductions in weight,” said Honda’s head of power unit development, Yasuaki Asaki.

“In what will be the company’s final season in the sport, Honda F1 has managed to introduce the new ES - fitted with a lighter, low-resistance, highly efficient and ultra-high power battery cell - just in time for the start of the second half of the season.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“In order to achieve the ultimate goal of defeating Mercedes and winning the championship before leaving F1 at the end of the 2021 season, we recognised the need to enhance performance.

“As such, the development plan for the new energy store was brought forward substantially from the original goal of 2022 to introduction during the 2021 season.”

Verstappen used the updated energy store to take pole position in the wet at Spa, before being declared the winner of the two-lap race following heavy rain. Verstappen also started on pole at Monza before a clash with Hamilton forced him to retire from the race.

Honda said that the introduction of the new energy store this year was a “massive undertaking” due to the long lead times involved in the part design, which received full support from Honda’s road car battery development team.

“Even after Honda leaves F1, this new battery technology will contribute hugely to Honda’s future technology to create a carbon neutral society, lead the advancement of mobility and enable people everywhere in the world to improve their daily lives,” Asaki said.

Red Bull will take over Honda’s power unit IP at the end of the year and serve as its own supplier from 2022, forming its own Red Bull Powertrains division.

shares
comments

Related video

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background
Previous article

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

Next article

Perez: One-year F1 deal doesn’t heap extra pressure on me

Perez: One-year F1 deal doesn’t heap extra pressure on me
Load comments
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021