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Kvyat: Canada Will Test Honda’s F1 Progress

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Kvyat at 2019 Monaco GP
Photo: Honda

Daniil Kvyat believes the upcoming 2019 Canadian GP will be a “good test” to judge how far Honda has come with its Formula One engine.

While Honda is undoubtedly having its best year yet since its return to F1 in 2015, it’s still been difficult to gauge where it stacks up with regards to the other manufacturers.

Kvyat, who drives for the Honda-powered Toro Rosso team, thinks that the long straights of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve used in the Canadian Grand Prix will provide a worthy test of performance.

“My season has been going pretty well, and hopefully we can carry on the momentum here too,” Kvyat said. “This track is unique and it will be a good test for our engine — in terms of how fast we can go on the straight. We are looking forward to it.”

Straight-line speed has historically been one of the Honda engine’s biggest weaknesses, though it hasn’t seemed to lag behind at other circuits with long straights so far this year, such as in Bahrain and Azerbaijan.

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However, ascertaining the strength of a specific F1 car characteristic is always a hard job, as the cars are made up of thousands of intricate components that interact with one another. So far Red Bull Racing, the primary Honda-powered team, has not been competitive with the championship leaders, but nobody can quite agree if it’s because of the chassis, the engine, or both.

One thing everyone at Red Bull does seem to feel confident about is Honda’s progress and potential for the future. Max Verstappen, the team’s star driver, has been encouraged by the work done on the engine, whose progress has also been helped by an aggressive fuel development program by ExxonMobil.

“There is always a constant push,” Verstappen said. “I think this year with Honda coming on board for us, it gave us a lot more opportunities to test different kinds of things with the fuel, more samples as well.”

“We were a bit limited with that previously,” he added, in reference to Renault, the team’s previous engine supplier, “so we are continuously looking for performance and so far I am happy. Of course you always want to do better and I think we are really working on that, to try to improve, because standing still is basically going backwards.”

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