New Honda F1 engine allows more use of higher power mode in races
|By Adam Cooper||Friday, April 26th 2019, 12:29 GMT|
Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner says Honda's new engine will boost race performance thanks to the increased availability of higher power modes.
All four Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers had new V6s installed for the start of Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice, while Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly also took new turbos, MGU-Hs and MGU-Ks.
Although Honda has suggested that the main target with the new specification is to improve reliability, Horner stressed that it will also provide a performance benefit on Sundays.
"So far the engine has run absolutely problem-free, throughout testing and throughout all the races to date," said Horner.
"This engine has been introduced based on an an issue they saw with a Toro Rosso engine, but it also enables us to run slightly more aggressive modes in the race as well.
"It's been hugely impressive, the effort and quality of stuff that's coming through from Honda."
Horner is confident that the team can close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari through improvements on both the chassis and engine sides.
"Trying to specify an amount of wins is always going to be extremely difficult," he said.
"Our goal is to converge to where the current benchmark is, which is currently Mercedes. I think we're doing that.
"Obviously we grabbed some opportunistic opportunities last year, and by the end of the year we had a car that was genuinely capable of winning on merit on its own, and wasn't circuit specific.
"The whole team is focused very hard on getting developments through onto the chassis. Obviously engine bits are coming through as well.
"It's a long season, we've done three races, we're at race four, we're confident that hopefully we can continue to close that gap to Mercedes and Ferrari ahead."