James Key says the impressive start to pre-season testing for the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team came less as a surprise to those involved in the team than others in the paddock, thanks to the professional way their Japanese engine supplier have come in and done their job.
Toro Rosso completed the most laps of any team – three hundred and twenty-four – during the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Pierre Gasly completing one hundred and forty-seven of them on the final day, the most ever for a Honda powered car since they returned to Formula 1 ahead of the 2015 season.
During their time with the McLaren F1 Team, Honda endured a tough time, suffering multiple mechanical problems and distinct competitiveness deficiencies compared to their rivals, but there appeared to be no such problems in Spain, much to the delight of technical director Key.
“I think if we looked at the situation last year it’s a bit of a surprise, but having worked with them for a while now it’s less of a surprise,” Key is quoted of saying by Racer.
“I think looking at the facilities that they’ve got and the desperate will that they’ve got to make it work, it’s less of a surprise to me now.
“But obviously you never know until you hit the track and I have to say – touch wood – there hasn’t been any major issues at all. Any minor stoppages we’ve had have been on our side.
“They’ve just been super smooth to work with – we’re very inclusive so they attend all our meetings and all that sort of thing so we all know what’s going on, and we’re working together with them on optimizing everything. So it’s been very, very smooth so far and I’m sure that will continue.”