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Honda reliability very encouraging, says Horner

NEWS STORY
01/03/2020

While pre-season testing was a vast improvement for Williams, certainly compared to last year when the Grove outfit was forced to miss the first two days due to its car not being ready, it was leaps and bounds better for Honda when you remember those dark days with McLaren.

In 2015, the year of its return to F1, over twelve -yes 12 - days of pre-season testing the Japanese manufacturer completed just 1,088 miles. In 2016, over 10 days of testing this improved to 2,053 miles and in 2017, over the 8 days of testing its engines completed 1,229 miles.

2018, the first year of its partnership with Toro Rosso, saw Honda complete 2,377 miles, which increased to 5,113 miles in 2019 when Red Bull came on board. This year, over the 6 days of testing, the two Honda-powered teams completed 4,480 miles, 12 more than Renault.

Other than a dislodged pipe on Pierre Gasly's car on Wednesday morning, and a "precautionary change" at Red Bull, there were no issues with the Japanese power units, a far cry from those dark days of just five years ago.

"I have to say from a reliability point of view, Honda has looked pretty strong at this test," said Christian Horner, "and of course these six days are all about understanding the package in all conditions.

"So far, touch wood," he added. "Reliability has looked very encouraging."

"We still have the same engine in the car and if we finish everything without a failure, I would say it would be one of the first big steps we would have made," added his AlphaTauri counterpart, Franz Tost. "Because in the past, we always changed the power unit during the test, this is no longer the case."

Having picked up a number of grid penalties last season, both for reliability issues and Honda's desire to upgrade their engines, both teams are aiming for a penalty-free season this year.

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