Toyoharu Tanabe was pleased to see three of the four Honda-powered drivers make it through to the top ten shootout for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, although the position for the fourth driver – Alexander Albon – is far from bad, as he will get a free choice of starting tyre.
Tanabe, Honda F1’s Technical Director, saw Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly qualify fourth and sixth for Red Bull Racing, while Daniil Kvyat and Albon will start ninth and eleventh respectively for Scuderia Toro Rosso, with all four drivers using the updated specification of power unit for the first time.
“All four cars ran the Spec 2 PU today as planned,” said Tanabe. “Today we managed to get three of our 4 cars through to Q3, in fourth, sixth and ninth places on tomorrow’s grid.
“Albon just missed the cut but his eleventh position is not bad, as he has a free tyre choice for the start.”
Tanabe has high hopes that all four drivers can end up in points-scoring positions at the end of Sunday’s race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, although he acknowledges that further updates will be needed to close the gap to their main rivals going forward, on top of the updates that have been brought to Spain this weekend.
“As the long run pace looked quite good in yesterday’s practice for both teams we hope to finish in good positions, with all cars seeing the chequered flag,” said Tanabe. “For this race, many teams have brought updates, but our competitiveness remains relatively similar to the previous races.
“Obviously this is not where we aim to be, so we must continue with our development to close the gap.”