Honda F1’s Managing Director, Masashi Yamamoto, felt Daniil Kvyat’s podium finish in this years German Grand Prix was just reward for Scuderia Toro Rosso after their efforts in 2018 in assisting the Japanese marque prepare for the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Then-Toro Rosso drivers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley took a multitude of penalties throughout last season as they tested new engine components as Honda agreed a deal to supply power units to their sister team, Red Bull Racing, from 2020.
Kvyat played a starring role in this year’s race at the Hockenheimring, gambling on an early switch to dry tyres that benefited him when others ahead of him made their own stops, and it was only a late pass by Sebastian Vettel that prevented him from finishing second.
It was only Toro Rosso’s second ever visit to the podium, with the first coming back in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix where Vettel secured a surprise victory, and Yamamoto was pleased that Honda were able to celebrate with them up on the podium.
“Kvyat in third was a very big thing for us because we were improving together last year, with some struggles as well,” Yamamoto said to Motorsport.com. “We made a big effort to improve together with Toro Rosso as a team.
“That was only the second time for Toro Rosso as well, since Vettel’s win. It was a very big moment for the team as well and we were very glad we could achieve it together. I was talking to [team principal] Franz Tost last year, looking at this year as we knew we were going to be with Red Bull from the middle of the season.
“We were discussing we can try various things with Toro Rosso towards this year. So we thank them for their contribution and we’re glad we could be on the podium with them.”
Max Verstappen won the German Grand Prix for Red Bull, his second victory of the season, but despite the first double podium for Honda since 1992, it was the Dutchman’s win in the Austrian Grand Prix earlier in the season that was more rewarding for the Japanese engine manufacturer.
“That victory meant a lot for Honda, and after this we are managing our engine very well, better than before,” insisted Yamamoto. “The biggest thing is that the engineers were so motivated from that win, they were so encouraged.”