Honda makes first engine change of season

12/04/2019
NEWS STORY

Though those dark days of 2015, 2016... are not that much of a distant memory, thus far Honda has enjoyed a relatively untroubled start to its 2019 season with new partners Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

However, shortly before the start of today's second practice session, the Japanese manufacturer revealed that it had changed the power unit in Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso.

"During FP1, we noticed an anomaly in the PU data from Kvyat's car," tweeted Honda. "With only a short time to investigate the matter fully between FP1 and FP2, we have therefore decided to change the PU on his car as a precautionary measure."

Ironically, at the same time as the power unit was being changed, speaking at the FIA press conference, Honda F1's technical director, Toyoharu Tanabe, was addressing the issue of reliability.

"So far we have started this season with a reasonable performance and reasonable results," he told reporters. "But reasonable means not fantastic yet.

"We see clearly there is still a big gap between the frontrunners and us," he admitted. "So, we really need to push to improve our performance to compete with the others here. We understand it's not easy to improve our performance immediately but we keep pushing."

While there is no penalty following today's change, the move confirms that other than performance the Japanese manufacturer still needs to work on reliability.

The move comes just weeks after Max Verstappen gave Honda its first podium finish since 2008, when he finished third in Melbourne.

While Honda addresses its (unspecified) issues, Renault has issued new-spec MGU-Ks to all its drivers as a result of issues first encountered in Australia by Carlos Sainz and then both works drivers in Bahrain, while Ferrari has supplied new control electronics systems to its three teams.

Check out our Friday gallery from Shanghai, here.

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Published: 12/04/2019
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