Honda will investigate the MGU-H issue it faced on Pierre Gasly’s car in the Australian Grand Prix back at its headquarters in Sakura in an attempt to repair the component.
Gasly was trying to recover from an error in qualifying that left him 20th on the grid and had moved up four positions in the opening stages when he slowed exiting Turn 12 on just the 15th lap of the race. A puff of smoke was visible from the rear of the Toro Rosso as Gasly lost power, and it was later confirmed that an MGU-H problem was the cause of his retirement.
“We saw some unusual data on the telemetry which is related to the MGU-H,” Honda’s F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe told RACER. “So we stopped the car and now we will investigate the details of the data and also the part itself and think about what we can do for the next race.
“We’re not sure if the part itself is badly damaged. We need to investigate to see if it can be used again.”
Honda suffered a number of MGU-H issues during its time with McLaren but entered Sunday’s race in optimistic mood after a strong pre-season, and Tanabe says there had been no problems faced prior to Gasly’s retirement.
“During pre-season we had no trouble in that area, so this is the first time. So during the off-season we evaluated mileage for the three power units for this season. It wasn’t perfect mileage because using three power units means more than 5000 kilometers. From the mileage we’ve accumulated we’d had no problem so far, which means we didn’t expect trouble or any unusual data on the telemetry at the first race event.”
With Brendon Hartley suffering a puncture that ruined his hopes of getting back into the midfield after a heavy lock-up on the first lap that forced him to pit, Tanabe says the way the race panned out limits how much Honda could evaluate its own power unit against its rivals.
“In Brendon’s case it’s a little bit of a difficult situation as well, but we are satisfied with the general performance level we could see from this race.”