Honda to switch focus to power unit output

Jamie Woodhouse
Honda say the targets they hit in 2019 built important trust with Red Bull.

Honda say the targets they hit in 2019 built important trust with Red Bull.

Honda Formula 1 chief Masashi Yamamoto says they will now focus on increasing their power output with reliability in the bag.

Honda returned to the sport in 2015 with McLaren, but their three-year stint with the British team was marred by woeful reliability and a serious lack of power.

An improvement was seen in the reliability of their power unit in 2018 as they linked up with Toro Rosso, and after expanding to their senior team Red Bull as well from this season, those reliability issues appear to be long gone.

However, if the Japanese manufacturer want to return to the summit of Formula 1 with Red Bull, they will need to find more power with Mercedes and Ferrari still enjoying a distinct advantage in that department.

But now that the reliability has been sorted, Yamamoto is confident that Honda can find the secret to unlocking that much-needed performance boost from their power unit.

“For Honda, the goal is always to win races,” he told Speedweek.

“The teams, Honda Research & Development (R & D) and other factors show that we have a good system.

“So far we have focused on the balance of horsepower and reliability. I think we definitely need more horsepower now.

“So we need to keep our heads down and improve.”

While Mercedes and Ferrari-level power is still out of reach, Yamamoto believes Honda have established themselves as the third-best manufacturer on the grid ahead of Renault, but they must work hard to maintain that slim advantage.

“With the help of Red Bull and Toro Rosso, we are in better shape than Renault at the moment, but I do not think we are far ahead of them,” he added.

“We have to work hard to increase power while maintaining reliability at a high level. That requires a lot of development work, but without them it’s difficult to catch up.”

Budget is of course also an issue for them.

“We must be careful with the budget in the future,” he stressed. “But I think we’re making good choices and the current balance is the best we can do.”

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