Honda have brought an upgraded power unit to the Russian Grand Prix as attention turns to supplying Red Bull in 2019. Toro Rosso drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly, who will race for Red Bull next year, are set to take grid penalties in Sochi as a result.
Earlier in the season, Red Bull confirmed they would be ditching current supplier, Renault, in favour of Honda, who had previously had their contract with McLaren terminated before the start of the 2018 Formula One season.
Toro Rosso, in their position as Red Bull's junior outfit, will test out the latest technology from Honda in Sochi this weekend.
If you hadn't already heard the whispers...
We are introducing some Power Unit updates on both cars here in Sochi. We're looking at more performance in the long term, which does mean penalties here in the short term.#RussianGP ???????? #F1 pic.twitter.com/aSSrNjQba8 — Honda Racing F1 (@HondaRacingF1) 27 September 2018
Honda's general manager of motorsport Masashi Yamamoto told Motorsport.com that the Japanese brand was already looking towards improvements that could be made in preparation for 2019.
"Towards the end of the season, and as a preparation for next year, there will be opportunity that we can try something on the actual track," the Japanese said.
"We want to do that kind of trial and error, using this opportunity in the second half of the season."
Honda's decision to change power units ahead of the Russian GP on Sunday will result in grid penalties for both Hartley and Gasly, but the Japanese manufacturer is likely implementing the changes now rather than in the next race in Japan, where Toro Rosso will hope to maximise their result in Honda's home race.