Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Latest Honda engine developed from McLaren-era concept

2019 F1 season

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The Honda power unit Red Bull is using for the first time in the 2019 F1 season is a development of the concept the Japanese manufacturer introduced during its final season supplying McLaren.

Honda’s technical director for F1 Toyoharu Tanabe explained the genesis of its fifth power unit built for the current V6 hybrid turbo regulations.

“We carried over the concept from last year,” said Tanabe, “but it means the concept from the 2017.

“The one reason [is] PU regulation does not change this year and then we keep working on our PU. PU means ICE [internal combustion engine] and the other ERS [energy recovery system] components. We improved our performance and the reliability for this year. It means they are not new but updated.”

McLaren ended its collaboration with Honda at the end of 2017 after Honda’s then-new concept proved underpowered and unreliable. However Tanabe is encouraged by the gains they have made since then.

“I was not directly involved the previous years. But I have studied Formula 1 project from last year and I believe the reliability is much improved and through the year we improved performance as well.

“And we had a good result with Toro Rosso early in last year. Things [are] going well inside of Honda now, not only R&D side.”

Tanabe added there are “tiny” difference in the power unit specifications being tested by Red Bull and Toro Rosso in this test.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Latest Honda engine developed from McLaren-era concept”

  1. I wont be suprised if Honda does well eventually. Certainlly better than Renault.

    It would come as a shock If they are competitive right away, even a spectacular turn of events if they compete for the Championships.

    1. I expect them to beat all Renault powered cars right away, including Mclaren who only had “first year with a new engine give us time” going for them last year.

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        19th February 2019, 18:39

        Of course RB will. They have the advantage of their excellent chassis and aero. last year’s car would’ve been faster than that McLaren even with the engine blown up….

  2. McLaren putted the willing to win fast of Alonso in front of a long term development of a relationship with Honda and, therefore, their product. They have only themselves to blame.

    1. Well, we should not forget that Honda wanted Alonso, and therefore paid for him, @SuperSenna

  3. Rumors are that RBR Honda is suffering from vibrations and can not run full 100% power.

    1. rumours from McLaren time or at this moment?

      1. At this moment.

  4. I don’t know why Honda doesn’t bring out a translator to help Tanabe… It’s painful listening/reading his comments and I’m certain a translator could help him express his thoughts more insightfully.

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