Honda hitting targets key to building Red Bull trust

Honda believes its ability to hit its engine targets in Formula 1 this season has been key to building mutual trust with its new partner Red Bull.

Honda hitting targets key to building Red Bull trust

The Japanese manufacturer has been lauded by Red Bull for producing the gains it promised this season, thanks to an aggressive development programme that included three specification upgrades.

Although Honda had initially wanted to start the season with what eventually became the Spec 2 engine, it has hit the schedule it agreed with Red Bull before the winter of 2018/19, and Motorsport.com understands that the engine maker’s performance relative to its rivals is where its Sakura research and development facility targeted by this point.

Honda’s F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto told Motorsport.com: “We have regular meetings with Red Bull, Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko], myself and [Sakura R&D chief Yasuaki] Asaki-san. There we share our plans and the current situation as well, they share their plan and current position.

“The fact it is almost on the schedule as planned is very important because we have mutual trust in each other, which makes the relationship stronger. We are really looking forward to next year.”

Honda avoided setting specific goals for this season, although privately hoped it would help Red Bull achieve better results than the team managed with previous partner Renault.

However, Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko started the year with the intention of winning five races, and neither party achieved their private or public ambitions, despite Max Verstappen winning three grands prix, because of the problems with Pierre Gasly in the first half of the season and Red Bull’s decision to replace him with F1 rookie Alex Albon.

That meant Red Bull’s win count was smaller and its points tally was down by two, but Yamamoto said he was never stressed even when Mercedes had a clear advantage early in the season.

“I know Christian and Helmut, we communicate very well, and I have visited the factory at Red Bull,” he said. “So I trust them.

“I thought that maybe we could win in Monaco, which we couldn’t in the end. However, that didn't give us nerves or anything. We were quite relaxed about the situation. We thought it was going to go well.”

By the end of the season Red Bull and Honda had suffered no race-ending engine problems, meaning Honda defeated its rivals on reliability for the first time.

It also completed more mileage per engine than any other manufacturer, although these successes are qualified by Mercedes and Ferrari using their engines for longer.

“This year we have a big result in terms of power unit development,” added Yamamoto. “As you can see from the race result, reliability is one thing, but the other thing is power. We are quite close to Mercedes, but we are behind.

“This whole year was really good for us. And we are satisfied about that.”

shares
comments
F1's TV directors "not doing a great job," says Perez

Previous article

F1's TV directors "not doing a great job," says Perez

Next article

The top 20 motorsport signings in 2019

The top 20 motorsport signings in 2019
Load comments
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams Prime

How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams

OPINION: The Formula 1 cost cap has been billed as a saviour to several teams and helped to guarantee their viability for investors. But there already exists another mechanism that effectively had the same purpose, and serves as a strong deterrent for those with the means to go it alone in setting up a new team

Formula 1
Sep 10, 2021
How Schumacher's first year marked him out as F1's king in-waiting Prime

How Schumacher's first year marked him out as F1's king in-waiting

After his sparkling F1 debut with Jordan at Spa, Michael Schumacher quickly leapt to Benetton for the 1991 Italian Grand Prix. This move paved the way for the German to win his first grand prix one year later and laid the foundations for his ascent to become a title contender by 1994.

Formula 1
Sep 10, 2021