Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Honda power unit was “faultless” in testing

2019 F1 season

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Honda’s new Formula 1 power unit gave a “faultless” performance in testing according to Toro Rosso’s technical director Jody Egginton.

He said the team has begun the 2019 F1 season in better shape than it was in 12 months ago when it was using the Japanese manufacturer’s engines for the first time.

“Winter testing on the engine side has been faultless, it has to be said,” Egginton told media including RaceFans at the Circuit de Catalunya. “It’s been fantastic.”

“Last year we did get through some [engines] as you guys know for several reasons. We had started the year with one or two challenges reliability-wise.

“But then Honda were bringing big chunks of performance to the track and we took the decision to actually develop through the year and sometimes that means you’re making changes to power unit elements for development purposes.”

However Egginton said the high mileages completed by most teams indicates all four of F1’s power unit manufacturers have produced reliable engines.

“Compared to this time last year – it was not a disaster this time last year, Honda were working hard and developing – we’re in a better position.

“But then I think it’s fair to say it’s probably similar for all the PU manufacturers so far this winter in general. I never know in detail what other people are doing but yes it’s a good step forward. It’s reflected in the mileages that people are doing as well. Just generally the cars seem fairly reliable.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 23 comments on “Honda power unit was “faultless” in testing”

    1. Blah blah blah

    2. Meanwhile, Mercedes engine suffered oil pressure fault…

      1. papaya, yes, it is true that Mercedes did have an oil pressure issue during the second test. However, I believe that particular engine had covered at least 2,900km of testing mileage when that problem finally occurred. Now, bearing in mind that, in most situations, the minimum race distance is 305km, that indicates that engine had covered the equivalent of about nine race distances – not exactly an insubstantial distance.

        1. Nevertheless Honda did not had any faults.
          BTW, it’s very hard to know for sure if the same engine is used. It’s not uncommon engines are replaced and the old one is shipped for analysing the development.
          Teams do not communicate those actions.

          1. erikje, it depends what you define as “not having any faults”, as Tanabe’s comments have been a little more conservative than those of Egginton and Red Bull in general.

            What he has said was that Honda had “eight days of winter testing without any major problems on the PU side”, but he did note that “We experienced some minor issues in the second week”. I would therefore say that, whilst we can agree that there were no significant issues, the remark Tanabe makes about “minor issues” during the second week of testing does suggest saying there were “no faults” is slightly stretching things.

            Now, that is not to say that Honda has dire reliability – I do think that, even if they’ve been catching up a bit in that field, their record has improved in recent years and that they are sometimes harshly criticised – but that maybe they have slightly stretched things to say that it was “flawless”.

            I believe that there was a suggestion that Toro Rosso’s car has also been fitted with a few parts that were slightly different and were possibly a slightly more conservative design – particularly the wastegate – to that of Red Bull, so the reliability of Toro Rosso’s engine might not carry over perfectly to the parent team.

    3. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      4th March 2019, 16:18

      Obvious talk, but surely the first step is to make the engine reliable, and then to make it faster without sacrificing that reliability. Seems like they’re on the right track for reliability, so time to just make it quicker.

      I’m a fan of Honda, but the constant stories on Honda’s ‘improvements’ without having demonstrated them yet is both worrying and annoying. Either they’re correct and it ends up as boasting or they’re wrong and all this not only is a letdown but looks ridiculous. This kind of talk really should wait until after the first race – after we’ve seen Red Bull & Toro Rosso’s qualifying and race positions. Until then it’s just words.

      1. This kind of talk really should wait until after the first race – after we’ve seen Red Bull & Toro Rosso’s qualifying and race positions. Until then it’s just words.

        +1 to this @rocketpanda

      2. @rocketpanda

        I agree. They need to get to Australia and finish the race weekend before heaping any more praise for Honda.

        Honda themselves don’t seem too confident about the packaging as mentioned by Tanabe in Motorsport. He mentioned the aggressive packaging would require further developments on Hondas end before Australia.

        So I really think the Red bull garage didn’t get the memo to stop the PR spin.

        1. @todfod Melbourne race weekend forecast is for mid 30Cs. Should test the packaging out nicely.

      3. And if Noone said anything about the engine it would been labeled suspicious.
        So, let the reality speak for itself. During the testing the results were obvious and good. No technical problems what so ever.
        Nice and promising. Let the races begin.

        1. @rocketpanda

          I thought the formula one adagio was “it’s easier to make a fast engine reliable than a reliable engine fast”

          Honda wasn’t fast nor reliable. Them being reliable now doesn’t mean they will be fast. I hope so as a Max fan. I fear though that Japanese engineering is generally the long route to greatness (5-10 years).

          1. Alonso did some fastest laps when he had no worries about fuel use. It seemed the engine was quite fuel hungry when delivering performance. So the performance is there…

      4. @rocketpanda Worrying and annoying? Boasting or a letdown? Really?

        It doesn’t annoy me at all, as a Max/RBR fan, to hear how well STR’s Honda testing went. That’s all they’re talking about here. Testing. They aren’t making claims about their position amongst the teams, nor their race reliability/power combination. They’ve had a great pre-season. How is that boasting when they’ve made no claims other than having experienced progress? Why should they be silent? Everyone intimate with F1 knows that the million dollar question is re Honda’s actual current race power/reliability level. I haven’t heard them make any claims about that…just that they have seen progress since last year and in testing…did they maybe say something last year about matching Renault? That’s not really boasting is it?

        Given how last year was one of R&D, a first season of a Honda pu needing work, in an STR car, and this year we have only seen testing, albeit with mega miles put on, and apparent respectable pace, I haven’t been expecting them to show me anything yet about their true current state. That will come in Australia. So why would I be worried or annoyed, nor they be boastful or failures, when we aren’t even at the start line yet for them to have their opportunity along with the other teams to show us the progress of which they have spoken in a race…and to show themselves, for so far they can really only speak for testing and for the internal knowledge they have gained throughout last year that we wouldn’t be privy to. Yup we have to take their word for it about last year with STR. I do. I believe they have progressed. Doesn’t mean I believe they’re more than third though.

        I’m pensive (about all the cars standings) and hopeful (for Max and SV particularly and others) and much less worried now that I have seen the testing results. They’ve got what appears to me to be great potential, and I don’t expect to see it all in Australia. I do expect them to put their all into it and progress. Through this season. And I bet next year will be even better. Things can take time. Especially in new relationships. It’s going to be a blast to watch, and there’ll be ups and downs.

        The only thing I’ve heard any RBR person say that one might argue had some arrogance in it was when Marko implied they expect to win this season. Everything else has been pretty much just stating facts about their mileage and the progress that track time shows, and the resultant ability that mileage would have given them in running programs for all aspects of the car, especially setup work. Even what Marko said is not unreasonable. Why wouldn’t they expect to win? It is a safe bet Newey has done at least a good job, and all Honda has to do is be as powerful and reliable as Renault was last year, and they could bag 3 wins, even from the vantage point of third in the WCC.

    4. It’s nice to see some praise for the engine/power unit manufacturers.

      It’s refreshing to see positive comments, especially before the season kicks off when most teams (especially drivers) seem to be saying how all the other teams are doing better than them and setting expectations as low as possible. I know there were no comments are performance output – but engine longevity is a good start, it’s not easy to score points if you have to retire from a race!

    5. Electroball76
      4th March 2019, 18:35

      A quote from “the chassis is made up of around 11,000 components, the engine 6,000 parts, and the electronics another 8,500. That’s over 25,000 separate bits which are at risk of failing during a grand prix.” A sobering reminder of why these things blow up at 200mph!

      1. Just open your computer.. Lots more parts there and it works flawlessly.

        1. Ture, but the bell-cheque needs some work. It fergets stuff too.

        2. I’ll remember that the next time a driver notifies his pit wall of a problem and the pit wall tells him to “shut down his car and restart it and things’ll be fine”.
          As an IT professional, I can tell you loads of stuff goes wrong with your computer. You just either don’t notice (unless you’re doing the IT-equivalent of 200mph), or you’re so used to it, you live with it or immediately take the restart road.

          1. I can tell you’re a man well versed in the concept of “Have you tried switching it off and then on again?” :)

    6. Funny, are reporting the Japanese company are making some changes around the packaging of the PU.

      “We are not so confident with the current achievement. Still there are a lot of areas we need to work on to catch up to the top competitors.”

      1. Tanabe’s words on motorsport should be worrying for any Red Bull fan. He said he was nervous about the engine packaging. And as you mentioned, he was not so confident about their current achievement.


          Seems like you’re taking a bit of license here and mixing up two different concepts he’s talking about.

          On the one hand he is saying he was ‘made nervous sometimes’ watching RBR and STR come to grips with the 2019 pu. He speaks of tweaks to the packaging that they will do by Australia. No big concern.

          Overall though, sure he say he’s not so confident wrt to the top runners. Is that any surprise? Has anybody expected them to be matching or beating Mercedes or Ferrari, realistically? The answer is no. We all understand they have much work to do as does Renault in doing that.

          It still remains for me that they are likely no worse off having gone away from Renault, and as they stated last year, this works relationship carries more potential for them in the long run and they’ve already been experiencing the benefits of such a relationship. But of course it is all a work in progress as it is at all times with all the teams.

    7. were top speeds posted anywhere?

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