Honda’s 'big improvement' after F1 engine upgrade setback explained

Honda believes it has made a "big improvement" with its upgraded Formula 1 engine after working on the issues that delayed the new specification until this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix

Honda’s 'big improvement' after F1 engine upgrade setback explained

The Japanese manufacturer's updated engine was used in practice last week in Russia, but Honda opted not to continue after recording some irregular behaviour on track.

This was related to the driveability of the engine, which suffered from higher than expected gearbox oscillations.

Honda worked on the engine back at its Milton Keynes base, where it has the necessary gearbox equipment, and just days later it is impressed by the results from Friday practice at Suzuka ahead of its home F1 race.

"The latest version of our PU, which we first used on Friday in Sochi, has produced encouraging data today," said Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.

"It's a big improvement and validates the tuning work we carried out on this new PU since Russia."

Autosport understands that a software change has allowed Honda to better manage the oscillations from the gearbox and stop them being so aggressive.

Both Toro Rosso drivers were suffering from unpredictable torque delivery last week in Sochi.

This was not to the same degree as the problems suffered by McLaren in 2017 pre-season testing, where Honda's engine was suffering extreme oscillations that prompted odd gear changes to avoid the problem.

Pierre Gasly said the torque delivery "is much better this weekend", while his team-mate Brendon Hartley ended Friday 10th-fastest.

Hartley said: "It was very clear in Sochi that we had some work to do on a few areas of mapping and already there's been a really good step here in Suzuka.

"There's no doubt there's more power. And they improved all the mapping deficits we had in Sochi.

"A lot of those have moved a big step in the right direction."

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost declared it must progression through to Q3 with the upgrade.

Honda's confidence that it has the engine oscillations under control will play a key role in it being able to maximise the engine.

Improved driveability will mean more performance over one lap and over a stint, while less aggressive gearbox oscillations will lower reliability concerns.

Gasly, who missed most of FP2 because of a fuel system problem, admitted the engine was still being run safely.

He said what was possible in qualifying at Suzuka would depend on "what setting we can have".

"I think in terms of spec it's probably not much better than the spec we had in Sochi, but I think we can be a bit more aggressive with the settings and the mapping and extract more," he continued.

"I don't know if it's one tenths, one and a half, or two tenths. Hopefully it will be clear enough to see it on the lap time."

shares
comments
Haas drivers hail 'surprising' Force India pace in recent F1 races

Previous article

Haas drivers hail 'surprising' Force India pace in recent F1 races

Next article

Hamilton wants 2019 Pirelli F1 tyres to be 'three steps softer'

Hamilton wants 2019 Pirelli F1 tyres to be 'three steps softer'
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Honda Racing F1 Team
Author Scott Mitchell
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021