Verstappen favourite in Austria as Honda uses engine loophole

Honda takes advantage of a loophole to introduce an engine update ahead of the first Formula 1 race for 2020 to be held in Austria.

The Honda engine manufacturer was able to take advantage of a loophole in the regulations to update its power unit before the first race of the 2020 season, music to the ears of Dutchman Max Verstappen.

 

Last year, Max Verstappen won the Austrian GP for Red Bull Honda

The Honda engine manufacturer was able to take advantage of a loophole in the regulations to update its power unit ahead of the first race of the 2020 season, which will take place this weekend in Austria.

This year, the obligation to shut down factories also applied to the engine manufacturer, but a loophole in the regulations allowed some manufacturers to delay the shutdown of their plants.

An article in the F1 sporting regulations [21.10] states: “An exception will be made for factories based in countries where the law and/or trade unions impose different closure periods. 

“In this case, these plants may replace certain days of the shutdown period with locally imposed periods. 

“PU manufacturers affected by this situation must make a declaration to the FIA so that their staff are not allowed to go to work in the country that is not closed during these periods. ”

 

Except Honda, which has a factory in Sakura, Japan, has only made a partial shutdown of its plant, choosing instead to take the rest of this period this summer, which means that the Japanese manufacturer was able to work longer on its power unit at the beginning of the year.

As a direct consequence, Honda will introduce its first engine update this weekend in Austria and this update will be available to its two client teams, Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri.

This is a crucial decision as this season’s technical regulations dictate the specifications with which a team will compete in the opening Grand Prix, while the development of the cars will largely be frozen for the rest of the season, with manufacturers only allowed to make one performance improvement to the MGU-K, battery and electronics package.

 

The Red Bull Racing team, meanwhile, did not stand idly by as Milton Keynes’ team conducted a private test at Silverstone last week with an upgraded RB16 compared to the one seen in Australia earlier this year.

On that day of testing, updates on the flat bottom and front wing of the RB16 driven by Alexander Albon were visible.

With an aerodynamic and Honda engine update, and due to its two consecutive wins at the Red Bull Ring over the last two years, Milton Keynes’ team is a strong favourite for victory this weekend at Spielberg, in particular Max Verstappen.

 

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