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Honda Optimistic F1 Engine Can Hit Mileage Target

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Red Bull Racing - 2019 F1 Pre-Season Testing
Photo: Artes Max

Honda believes its latest Formula One engine will be able to make it through seven grands prix races, representing a major step forward in the manufacturer’s ability to challenge for the title.

Honda introduced its second-spec engine at the fourth round of season in Azerbaijan, which increased horsepower by about 20 while improving reliability.

Having reported “no issues” with engine reliability in the three races that have since taken place, Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says he believes the engine is now capable of lasting seven races.

Seven is currently the magic number for engine manufacturers in F1, as they are only allowed to use three power units (including various parts like the combustion engine itself, turbochargers, and energy recovery components) per season.

With 21 races on the 2019 calendar, teams must strive to make each engine last seven races on average to avoid incurring grid penalties. Since its return to the sport in 2015, Honda has repeatedly gone over the power unit limit.

This was at times strategic. For instance, while supplying Toro Rosso last year it repeatedly introduced new upgrades, the goal being to improve the engine as much as possible before partnering with Red Bull for 2019.

Because Honda introduced its spec 2 engine so early in the 2019 season, the team remains poised to incur grid penalties. Nonetheless, it’s been an impressive improvement for Honda, which finally looks as though it has gotten on top of the many issues that have plagued its engines since rejoining the sport. Red Bull certainly seem to have made the right decision in leaving Renault for Honda, and the new partnership may produce championships titles yet.