Honda is bringing the first update to its power unit with a Spec 2 engine for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
For the first time since returning to Formula 1 in 2015, Honda is supplying two teams after an encouraging year with Toro Rosso last season. Reliability has been solid so far this season but a concern for Daniil Kvyat in China saw his power unit changed, and Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says that issue has played a part in introducing the second specification of internal combustion engine in Baku.
‟The fourth round of the championship takes place on the fastest street circuit on the calendar,” Tanabe said. “The key features of the Baku track are the main straight, which is over 2 kilometers in length and there are many right-angle corners, typical of a city circuit.
“From a PU point of view, the long straight means energy management is an important factor and we will use the lessons we learned here last year when it comes to optimizing our settings. This weekend, we will introduce the Spec 2 version of our internal combustion engine (ICE) across all four cars right from the start of the weekend.
“One of the reasons for bringing it to this race is that we found that Kvyat’s PU problem in China was down to a quality control issue. The main benefits of Spec 2 are improved durability and life and better reliability. It also offers a slight improvement in performance.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is hopeful the second specification will allow his team to get closer to the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, having seen Max Verstappen finish all three races in the top four so far this season.
“We are only three races in, but from a team perspective we have never set any targets in terms of race victories,” Horner said. “Our goal is about closing that gap.
“I think we are all interested in being as competitive as we can as quickly as we can and what results come out of that, the races will dictate.”