Toro Rosso will receive a significant Honda upgrade at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, resulting in grid penalties for both of its cars.
The timing of the update coincides with next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. By introducing the upgrade in Russia, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will both receive penalties in Sochi, with the intention of avoiding a grid drop at Honda’s home race in Suzuka.
RACER understands the main focus of the upgrade relates to the internal combustion engine (ICE), while additional updates will result in both drivers taking a new turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K and control electronics in Russia. Because the team already exceeded the quota for each of those five components, Gasly and Hartley will be required to start from the back of the grid.
Despite an improved showing compared to last season, Honda — which continues to pursue further performance ahead of supplying both Toro Rosso and Red Bull next year — has already taken a number of grid penalties this season, some for tactical reasons, after introducing new power unit components. Toro Rosso is currently eighth in the constructors’ championship, two points behind Force India and nine clear of Sauber.
Red Bull is also poised for grid penalties this weekend, with team principal Christian Horner highlighting Sochi as a likely venue to take additional Renault power unit components.