Honda admits the ability to directly compare its upgraded power unit with the previous specification on the same circuit was a useful byproduct of a failure at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Pierre Gasly suffered a loss of power when running the upgraded engine late in FP3, and with time tight ahead of qualifying Honda reverted to its previous specification. That meant the old and new power units ran simultaneously during qualifying, with Gasly saying it showed how much of a step forward the upgrade is.
While different conditions at different circuits usually make a clear comparison difficult, Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe (pictured at right, above) says the back-to-back running was an upside of the reliability issue.
“It is good to know,” Tanabe told RACER. “We started to use the new spec on Friday and also on Saturday until lunchtime. We changed several settings and calibrated the updated specification here, and then we could compare the qualifying data.
“That showed us what the differences are. What the shape of the power curve is, deployment and so on. We can evaluate that type of thing on the dyno, but usually we cannot evaluate that sort of thing trackside, so it was a good point.”
Asked if the comparison had allowed Honda to gather any extra information than it usually would have done, Tanabe replied: “I believe so, yes.
“The dyno is just the dyno; the track is slightly different. So we can correlate the dyno data with the trackside data as well.”
With Gasly having to change the power unit and start from the back of the grid and Hartley then crashing early in the race, Tanabe also feels there is more potential in the power unit upgrade, given running.
“From a track experience point of view, we need to add more. We had reasonably calibrated the power unit before the race, but maybe at a different race with different conditions we will need to do the same thing to optimize the calibration. But from a trackside point of view we could achieve the desirable level.”