Technical director Toyoharu Tanabe has revealed some of the upgrades Honda have introduced ahead of the 2021 season.
Red Bull will be taking over Honda’s F1 operations in 2022 following the Japanese manufacturer’s decision to walk away from the sport at the end of the upcoming campaign.
According to Tanabe, the fact it is their final year motivated Honda to introduce more upgrades than planned, and he has provided details of them.
“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were going to introduce a new [power unit] for this year. However, given all the difficulties and restrictions because of the long F1 shutdown, combined with the European lockdown and delay in parts supply, we had decided to postpone it to 2022,” he said at the AlphaTauri launch.
“However, taking into account the decision announced in October 2020 that Honda would leave the sport at the end of 2021, we reassessed the situation and changed our plan again to reintroduce it in 2021.
“It was very tight timing to make this change, but we managed to bring forward the development and preparation programme. At Honda, we felt we really wanted to use all our technical know-how before leaving the sport.
“It is difficult to be specific about which parts have seen the most work, but in order to improve power and reliability we have made modifications to the ICE [internal combustion engine], turbine and ERS [energy recovery system].
“This is our [fourth] year with Scuderia AlphaTauri and in order to improve as a whole, we have also improved the installation and packaging of the entire [power unit].
“On the dyno, the numbers we have seen match what we expected. Let’s see how competitive we can be on track in the actual races.
Did someone say FREEZE?! ✋ Introducing Red Bull Powertrains Limited – Powering the Team from 2022 💪 #ChargeOn 🤘
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) February 15, 2021
Shortly after Honda announced their decision to leave F1, Red Bull quickly stated that, if an engine freeze was approved, they would take over the intellectual property and build engines themselves.
Such a freeze was unanimously given the green light, allowing the plans to go ahead, and Tanabe thinks it is ideal for all parties involved.
“I think it is the right thing for Honda to do, considering our relationship with Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing, and how much Honda has benefited from those partnerships,” he added.
“It also reflects the importance of our role and history, as part of the world of Formula 1 over several decades. So I am glad Honda has been able to help the two teams and the sport in this way.
“In order to finish on a high note, everyone in Sakura and Milton Keynes is very determined and we feel we have prepared well for the coming season in conjunction with Scuderia AlphaTauri over the winter so far.
“We won’t know for sure how good a job we have done until we hit the track, but so far preparation has gone smoothly.”