Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020

Verstappen’s power unit problems “should not happen again”, says Honda

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Honda Formula 1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says the cause of Max Verstappen’s power unit problems in the last two races has been addressed and should not recur.

Verstappen was forced out of the Italian Grand Prix by a power unit problem and suffered another fault within moments of the start at the next race in Mugello.

Following an investigation by Honda, Tanabe said the fault was “a very rare situation that was the first time since we started Formula 1” and a fix has been put in place for this weekend.

“I don’t go very deep in detail but it was very complicated,” he explained. “Many parameters involved in that issue.

“After the race we analysed the data and then tried to understand what happened, especially just after the race We identified the root cause of the issue and then for this race we have applied the countermeasures to fix the problems. It should not happen again.”

Verstappen and fellow Honda user Pierre Gasly had also complained about losses of electrical power at the end of their qualifying laps at Spa. Tanabe explained this was due to “the slightly different throttle application” between the two drivers during the laps.

“We maximise the energy usage through the lap. If you [have] energy [remaining] after the finish line, it means you lose performance.

“So we maximise how to use the energy. But at the end the lap was a slightly different condition, that’s why it happened for both cars.”

Gasly’s unexpected victory at Monza made Honda the first manufacturer in the V6 hybrid turbo era to win races with two different teams.

“We are very happy with Gasly’s Monza win,” said Tanabe. “It emphasised very much our passion and the Japanese fans were very happy to see his win and then podium. We keep pushing for both teams, working very hard with both teams to improve our performance.”

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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...
Keith Collantine
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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8 comments on “Verstappen’s power unit problems “should not happen again”, says Honda”

  1. Gasly’s () victory at Monza made Honda the first manufacturer in the V6 hybrid turbo era to win races with two different teams.

    That’s a nice stat.
    I hope other PU manufacturers can climb to that same level soon :P

    1. If someone from 2017 time travelled to now and read that sentence, he would not have believed it.

      1. Indeed. Good one.

  2. Its funny even in MotoGp Honda have bad engine to the point that it has taken out 3 riders out of racing.

  3. After FP1 & FP2, it’s look like they manage to limit energy usage.

  4. It’s always difficult to follow which issue was fixed since they had so many. One was fixed after Austria and then another one was fixed after Monza, but this third issue was fixed now? Or did they fixe the issue he had in Monza again?

    So what was even the issue they think was fixed this time? The battery was somehow depleted before the start? You wouldn’t expect the battery to be used during formation laps and such.

    It really sounds like he’s talking about another issue than the one that ended Verstappen’s race in Mugello. It sounds more more like the one he had in Q3 and during the Monza race.

    Those Q3 and race battery issues seem more related to the ban on engine modes. Which is funny that instead of engine modes they are now trying to apply those mappings by interpreting throttle input patterns.

    1. They seem to be talking around several different issues, qualifying and race start conditions. One would expect them to be different.
      The rules are very specific and limiting for energy transfer rates, battery output and how parts can be charged and harvested. Hence the tussle a while ago that a Red Team was discharging one battery and charging another simultaneously.
      The rules, if I recall, are also specific that the battery can not be charged in the pits, only by a running car. Hence on the formation lap, they need to charge up for the start.
      Throttle input patterns for different engine modes, definitely, … queue the song, “Tap three times on the pedal if you want 7-B”.

  5. Same old story.
    How many computer programmers does it take to change a light bulb.?
    Trick question, can’t be done. That’s a hardware problem.

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