Honda F1 tech chief Toyoharu Tanabe says that carrying over its engine design from last year will lead to better reliability in 2019.
Upon its return to F1 with McLaren in 2015, Honda encountered issues that prompted the Japanese manufacturer to change its power unit concept for 2017.
The change induced reliability issues however, leaving Honda to work diligently last year with Toro Rosso to improve its engine’s durability while also seeking performance gains.
Working with an evolution of its engine for 2019, as it adds Red Bull to its customers, ensures a solid foundation from which Honda can build its performance.
“We can carry over the current design, or concept, of PU,” Tanabe told Motorsport.com.
“We don’t know exactly [what the limit is] because we haven’t achieved a high level but we started with another concept and changed it for 2017.
“We learned something earlier, then changed it. In 2018, we carried over this concept and improved reliability and performance.
“At the moment we think this concept change is not wrong. It’s suitable. Still we [intend to] carry over this concept and try to improve.”
The off-season has seen a worrying report emerge from Germany claiming that Honda’s 2019 unit currently suffers from a vibration issue when run at full capacity, but the manufacturer is mum on the subject.
Honda’s double-dose of engine supply for this year, thanks to Red Bull Racing’s addition, will increase the manufacturer’s access to data, an advantage that should help the pace of its progress, further justifying keeping the same engine concept.
“When you change the concept of the design a lot, it’s very hard to get reliability,” said Tanabe.
“It depends on the design level but I’m comfortable with carrying over our current concept. We have a new team, a new design of the car.
“It is a little bit easier to carry over that concept, because the detail is in the installation of the car.
“Toro Rosso and Red Bull has communication and that’s easier for the Red Bull side because Toro Rosso knows our power unit.
“They can communicate a problem or a kind of concern from the chassis point of view, and they can come back to us.
“If we have a completely new, or much updated design, it’s much more work required.”
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