Contesting 23 race with three penalty-free engines, Honda’s technical director Toyoharu Tanabe will need to give some thought to “future developments”.
This season marks Honda’s last in Formula 1, the Japanese manufacturer announcing last year that it would quit the sport at the end of 2021.
Honda vowed at the time to launch a full on attack on this year’s titles, determined to provide Red Bull and AlphaTauri with the best engine they could build.
So far, so good.
Max Verstappen claimed pole position for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and followed that up with a P2 in the Sunday race.
Sergio Perez also scored for Red Bull while AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda was ninth.
“In terms of power comparison with last year’s Mercedes, it can be said that this year is better,” Tanabe told Auto Sport Web.
“I feel that way from a bird’s-eye view of the context of the race.
“It’s a pity that we missed the victory after starting from pole position, but on the other hand, we were able to fight at the top from beginning to end.
“I think it was a good race for the opening race to be able to demonstrate high performance.”
— Honda Racing F1 (@HondaRacingF1) March 28, 2021
There were, however, a few niggles over the course of the weekend.
Both Pierre Gasly and Perez’s cars required new Energy Store and Control Electronics while Perez’s RB16B suffered an electrical problem on the formation lap.
He was able to get the car restarted but had to start the race from the pit lane. He raced his way to fifth place.
“Perez stopped on the formation lap just before the start. I will analyse the cause, but the power was completely turned off while driving,” said Tanabe.
“I thought this was the end, but fortunately he was able to restart and start from the pit. He went up to 5th place from the end and showed a very strong race.”
Tanabe concedes seeing out the 23-race season with just three engines before penalties are incurred with involve a bit of extra thought from Honda.
“Given the constraint of fighting 23 races with three engines, I need to think about future developments and the different characteristics of each race,” he said.