“It gives us huge stability in terms of our team management,” said Honda F1’s managing director Mashashi Yamamoto. “Everybody looked very, very positive in the garage during testing and quite confident, so we’re really looking forward to the season.
“Basically we have kept the same structure internally this year because we just want to focus fully on the development.”
Yamamoto wants the team to start 2020 more strongly than last season, when it scored just two podiums in the opening eight races. “Aside from Melbourne the first half of last year was really tough,” he said, “we struggled until Austria. Especially in Monaco, we had high expectations there but we couldn’t really get a good result, so this year we hope it will not be like that.”
“We are making every effort to be there and fight for the championship,” he added. “We had some unfortunate races last year, losing out in some of them, but we must avoid having those sort of races this year.
“Max says he wants to get on the podium at all the races, which is an aim we must support.”
The improvements the team made during 2019 will help this, said Yamamoto. “From my point of view it’s all about management. The structure is really efficient and there are many things we have learned from our first year with Red Bull, such as how to put personnel into suitable positions and what is the most efficient way to operate.”
Red Bull won three races last year, though motorsport consultant Helmut Marko had set a target for five wins. Yamamoto said Honda has “no real specific targets” for the season ahead but expects to be stronger in the races where it scored its best results in 2019.
[smr2020test]”Last year Helmut kept saying five wins [was the target] and my view was probably four wins,” said Yamamoto. ” In the end we had three wins, but there were a couple of races where we missed out such as Mexico, and the other one was probably Monza, so we could have won more.
“As Honda we have to make sure that we provide everything for Max and Alex [Albon] as well for them to be able to race and maximise each potential result. Then we will be able to see how many we can win.
“Last year we had 11 podiums – nine for Red Bull and two for Toro Rosso – so my view is there are 11 circuits where the Red Bull teams have some sort of an advantage. We have to see how many we can win among those 11, because those are the ones where we have opportunities.”
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2020 F1 season
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #1: Lewis Hamilton