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

Steiner feared Haas duo "not manageable anymore"

Steiner feared Haas duo "not manageable anymore"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Scott Mitchell
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021