Honda reveal Red Bull AlphaTauri engine changes for final F1 season
Honda has outlined the changes it has made to its power unit that will be supplied to Red Bull and AlphaTauri for what will be its final season in F1.
The Japanese manufacturer enjoyed its best season in the sport last year following its return in 2015, helping Red Bull's Max Verstappen to wins at Silverstone and Abu Dhabi, and AlphTauri's Pierre Gasly to a historic triumph in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
It was shortly after Gasly's success, however, that Honda announced it would be pulling out of F1 at the end of this year, leading to it bringing forward development that had been planned for 2022.
Explaining the changes, Honda F1 technical director Toyohari Tanabe said: “It is difficult to be specific about which parts have seen the most work, but in order to improve power and reliability, we have made modifications to the ICE [internal combustion engine], turbine and ERS [energy recovery system].
"In order to improve as a whole, we have also improved the installation and packaging of the entire PU.
“On the dyno the numbers we have seen match what we expected. Let’s see how competitive we can be on track in the actual races.
“Of course this is Honda’s last year in Formula 1 and in order to finish on a high note, everyone in Sakura and Milton Keynes is very determined and we feel we have prepared well for the coming season over the winter so far.
"We won’t know for sure how good a job we have done until we hit the track, but so far preparation has gone smoothly.”
Tanabe has conceded that the changes have been implemented against a tight deadline given they were supposed to be on the 2022 PU.
“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were going to introduce a new PU for this year, however, given all the difficulties and restrictions because of the long F1 shutdown, combined with the European lockdown and delay in parts supply, we had decided to postpone it to 2022," added Tanabe.
"However, taking into account the decision announced in October 2020, that Honda would leave the sport at the end of 2021, we reassessed the situation and changed our plan again to reintroduce it in 2021.
"It was very tight timing to make this change, but we managed to bring forward the development and preparation programme.
"At Honda, we felt that we really wanted to use all our technical know-how before leaving the sport.”
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