Honda plans on analyzing its performance over the past two races to help Toro Rosso understand how to produce Bahrain-like competitiveness on a more regular basis.
After a tricky start in Australia, Toro Rosso was the fourth-quickest team in Bahrain and secured fourth place courtesy of an impressive drive from Pierre Gasly. With a new aerodynamic package being introduced at that race, the improvement was put down to gains on both the chassis and power unit side, but in China the car was less competitive and the team failed to score.
“I think the result in China came from the Toro Rosso Honda package,” Honda F1 technical direct Toyoharu Tanabe told RACER. “I can’t tell if it’s exactly from the chassis side or the power unit side.
“So we need to understand and we need to investigate the cause. We need to analyze what happened in China and also what happened in Bahrain, why it happened in China and why it happened in Bahrain, and then I think we will make a plan for the future.”
Honda had to put countermeasures in place after Gasly suffered an MGU-H problem in Australia, but Tanabe says the power unit has run without issue throughout the following two races.
“So far we haven’t seen any issues on the data. We will send the hardware back to [Honda headquarters] Sakura for maintenance and we will then have a look at the hardware itself. So from the data side there are no concerns. So at the moment we are happy with the updated MGU-H.”
Despite that positive change, Tanabe says the turbo failure suffered by Renault on Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull during FP3 in China shows that Honda can’t relax when it comes to reliability.
“One ICE has done three races, one ICE has done two races and then the MGU-H has done two races, so we still have only done two or three races with the components. The current situation means we don’t worry about reliability very much but it is easy to have an unexpected situation, so we need to be careful and can’t be too happy.
“I am very sorry Renault had a failure. There’s a possibility we will have the same thing in the future – you just don’t know – but the regulations are the regulations and we have to follow them. It is difficult, but all manufacturers are trying to follow those regulations for reliability.”