This morning a press release popped into TJ13s inbox from Honda confirming a story we published last week.
It seems that Honda are indeed planning to bring a new engine for Baku and despite the Japanese conservatism in their statement, the power hike is significant, if you believe Red Bull.
TOYOHARU TANABE TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, HONDA RACING F1:
The fourth round of the championship takes place on the fastest street circuit on the calendar. The key features of the Baku track are the main straight, which is over 2 kilometres in length and the many right angle corners, typical of a city circuit.
From a PU point of view, the long straight means energy management is an important factor and we will use the lessons we learned here last year when it comes to optimising our settings.
This weekend, we will introduce the Spec 2 version of our internal combustion engine (ICE) across all four cars right from the start of the weekend. One of the reasons for bringing it to this race is that we found that Kvyat’s PU problem in China was down to a quality control issue.
The main benefits of Spec 2 are improved durability and life and better reliability. It also offers a slight improvement in performance.
Marko: Honda big power upgrade for Baku
15th March 2019
Although Red Bull and some pundits declared that China was a turnaround for the troubled Red Bull Racing RB15 car, a machine not easy to setup aerodynamically according to bosses, it seems that the chassis is still short of its rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.
Indeed after the Grand Prix yesterday, Christian Horner declared that race victories are unlikely for this season and that their focus was to close the gap on the front runners.
“The truth is that we have no target for the number of wins. Our goal is to reduce the gap to the leaders,” admits Horner after both he and Marko said that Red Bull has an “aerodynamic problem” and they “hope” that Adrian Newey (chief designer) can come up with a solution. Newey himself goes onto admit that the car isn’t correct. (READ MORE)
“At the moment the maximum we can do is score points,” Max Verstappen told Ziggo Sport after the race.
The official line for Red Bull currently is not to blame Honda, bulking a very long established Red Bull tradition (Renault!). They claim that engine power is not the problem for Red Bull this season. The Honda engine they say holds its own for the time being despite the numbers showing a near identical performance delta in previous seasons with Renault. Not that truth plays a part in public media politics in Formula 1.
Drunken Kimi at Chinese Grand Prix
The word is that Red Bull will be receiving a significant power unit upgrade from Honda for the next race in Baku. A known ‘power circuit’ with its immense start / finish straight.
According to Dutch media after interviewing Helmut Marko, the Red Bull boss claims that “For Baku, we will gain an extra 20 hp from Honda” say the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
A remarkable statement from Marko as Marko previously declared that a combination of chassis and engine upgrades would on the RB15 for Monaco at the earliest, one race later than initially planned. Red Bull wanted to have the updated version of the RB15 with Newey’s aero fixes on the track for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Honda, on the other hand, appears ready to go with their next upgrade for the Japanese power unit with an additional twenty more horsepower, roughly the equivalent to a possible two-tenths of a second gain in time per lap at Baku.
It’s unknown for now that should the rumour be true and Honda has a big upgrade coming already, which engine components would be affected. Currently Red Bull has not had to change any of the Honda power unit parts so perhaps now is an ideal opportunity to bring forward the new engine as they won’t suffer any grid penalties, whereas leaving until later in the season could mean starting races from the rear.
#F1 Race Review: 2019 FORMULA ONE HEINEKEN CHINESE GRAND PRIX
Ambient 19° Track 29° Humidity 45% Wind 3.5 m/s
A pallid grey sky hung over the start of F1’s 1000th race (that was counted for championship points, natch) as the grid was awash in frantic, last minute activity. Alex Albon was being gifted a new gearbox amongst other new bits but for his sins yesterday it was going to be a pit lane start.
Listening to the drivers being interviewed it was very much a story of the first 3 corners on their mind, reasonable, if one considers recent examples such as Kvyat v Vettel… In terms of strategy one stop is still the preferred choice but all the talk is of it being marginal, though cooler conditions may make it slightly more possible. Given the sets left for drivers, it was Hamilton with no new Mediums left but a new set of Softs and Hards, whereas the rest of the sharp end had at least a set of new Mediums, no new Softs and Hards. Gasly on down start on the Softs in the top 10 vs the Medium for the top 5 and just to make things fun look at Kvyat in P11 on down with Mediums (save Racing Point) with the chance to go long and take advantage of the high degradation of the Softs that the midfield ahead of him will have to start with.
Ferrari with good starts and lots of straightline speed vs Mercedes with inconsistent starts and excellent cornering speeds, along with a top 10 lined up 2×2 and, on average mere hundredths between teammates looks good as the field prepared for the the formation lap… And both Verstappen and Kubica spin their cars on the way to the grid so, yeah, good omen that….. (CONTINUE READING)