Honda has learned from the weaknesses it showed in energy management in Baku ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, according to its F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.
Toro Rosso was largely uncompetitive during the race weekend in Azerbaijan, with both cars dropping out in Q1 after nearly colliding and then struggling on the long flat out run at the end of the lap. Although Brendon Hartley scored a point at the end of a chaotic race, Honda felt its energy management was one of the reasons a larger haul of points was not possible.
“This weekend we return to the circuit where we spent eight days of pre-season testing,” Tanabe said. “Back then, track conditions were not ideal, with very low temperatures, rain and even snow at one point.
“This time we can expect much warmer weather, more suitable to running a Formula 1 car. Therefore we will base our PU setup on adjusted data from the test as well as that from the first four races.
“The 16 corners are an interesting mix of fast and slow turns. There are some reasonably long straight sections in between and in Baku, we suffered on the long straight because a weak point was our energy management strategy and we plan to implement the lessons learned from that this weekend.
“Overtaking is very difficult here, therefore ensuring our PU can deliver maximum performance over a single lap will also be an important topic for us in Spain.”
Toro Rosso showed up well during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which also gives Pierre Gasly confidence that the team can have a stronger weekend.
“This year, our winter testing went well there, so I’m impatient to get going and I hope we will be on the pace very quickly and be able to score some points,” Gasly said. “The usual cliché about the Catalunya track is that, if your car works well here, it works well everywhere…maybe, but this track has certainly a character all of its own.
“Qualifying is the key, as we know it’s complicated trying to overtake in the race, other than by playing with the strategy.”
– Chris Medland