Honda has confirmed its updated power unit that will be introduced at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix is focused on improving performance from its internal combustion engine (ICE).
The V6-turbo power units feature six major components, with the ICE, turbo, MGU-H, MGU-K, energy store and control electronics all limited on how many can be used during a season. With engine manufacturers only able to use three of the ICE, turbo and MGU-H throughout the year, that limits them to introducing significant performance updates on only two occasions before picking up penalties.
While Ferrari introduced an update in Monaco, Mercedes, Renault and Honda will all have upgrades in Canada and Honda’s F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says the ICE is the focus for the Japanese manufacturer.
“We are introducing an updated PU for this event, fitting it to both cars,” Tanabe said. “The updates are mainly to the ICE, focusing on improving performance. The Montreal circuit is known for its long straights, where over 60% of the lap is spent at full throttle.
“There are slow corners after the long straights and this means that good driveability is again important as is rapid turbo response. All these features mean that the power unit is one of the key elements here, which is why it has traditionally been the venue for engine manufacturers to introduce updates.
“Energy deployment is tricky and fuel consumption also needs to be monitored carefully. The safety car has been a feature of many Canadian Grands Prix, so we need to be ready to react and make the right strategy calls in order to have a good result.”
While Honda does not estimate how much performance it expects to gain from its update, Adrian Newey this week revealed the Renault upgrade is expected to deliver around 0.1s per lap.
Both Toro Rosso drivers have already used two ICEs this season, meaning the updated power unit will leave them one component from a grid penalty. For the other five components, Brendon Hartley is on the brink of a penalty having used a third turbo and MGU-H already, as well as two of the MGU-K, energy store and control electronics.