Honda facing upgrade penalty dilemma


With two wins under its belt, a buoyant Honda is looking to introduce its third upgrade of the season sometime soon.

However, the races in Belgium and Italy - both on power circuits, where the latest upgrade could well be advantageous as Red Bull seeks to leapfrog Ferrari in the standings - are followed by Singapore, where the Austrian outfit's chassis will allow it to take on Mercedes, a circuit where the German team has sometimes struggled.

Therefore, the question is when to introduce the upgrade and take the mandatory grid penalties.

"We are discussing all the time with the teams and we will decide when we apply a new engine or updated spec," says Honda's technical director Toyoharu Tanabe, according to

"At the moment no decision has been made," he adds. "It depends on the situation and timing and the result of the discussions with the teams. It is very complicated."

While Singapore is undoubtedly Red Bull's best chance of claiming a third win this season, should the unit not be introduced in Belgium or Italy, this would leave Russia and Japan as the next opportunities, and while Sochi is not the best place to start with a grid penalty, Honda will not want to compromise its home race at Suzuka.

The second upgrade was introduced in France, and has therefore contested five races thus far. While Honda is confident that unit is reliable enough for a couple more races, mindful of Singapore, and then Japan, in reality Sochi might well be the best option.

"We have two types of plan, long-term and short-term," admits Tanabe. "After the race we review the situation, the condition of the PU, maybe two or three races is the short-term. And the long-term means until the end of the season. It is very complicated."

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Published: 19/08/2019
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