Honda’s next step? Challenge at every track

Mark Scott


Honda want to take the next step forward by not having to rely on a select number of circuits on the calendar to challenge for Formula 1 race wins.

There were plenty of encouraging signs for Honda in their first full year with Red Bull, powering them and, more specifically, Max Verstappen to three race victories over the course of the 2019 season.

However, as Red Bull and Verstappen get ever more eager to collect some Formula 1 silverware, Honda realise they need to do their part in providing an engine capable of meeting these lofty ambitions.

The main way they can do that is to create a power unit that can be a threat at the vast majority of circuits, rather than just a handful of tracks.

“In 2019 it was, we don’t say ‘unstable’, but we had a preference in the circuit,” Honda’s F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto told Autosport.

“We shouldn’t have that kind of thing.

“So we can tell to Max ‘we are here’, good everywhere, in every race. We have to provide that kind of engine, doing good development.”

Reliability has long been viewed as Honda’s main weakness, especially given their wretched three years as engine suppliers of McLaren, but Yamamoto feels those particular concerns have disappeared now.

“I think that what we have given to the team or Max in 2019 compared to the past is probably the reliability of the PU, and then he has more time to set up for the qualifying,” Yamamoto added.

“He doesn’t need to be worried about the engine breaking up. So he could have more time properly setting up for the race and qualifying.

“And I think that’s the reason Max had better result [than 2018] especially.”

Verstappen finished the 2019 season with 278 points, compared to 249 points accumulated in 2018.

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