Toyoharu Tanabe reckons Honda’s improved reliability has given them the necessary time to work on the performance side of its power units, with the race results improving as a result.
Honda’s first four seasons back in Formula 1 were hampered by a multitude of reliability issues, with the work needed to overcome these problems coming at the expense of making the power units strong enough to fight for podiums and wins, with the McLaren F1 Team ditching the Japanese manufacturer after just three seasons after the 2017 campaign.
Scuderia Toro Rosso took up the mantle in 2018 but also suffered their fair share of mechanical issues, but 2019, when Aston Martin Red Bull Racing joined its sister outfit at Honda, the reliability issues dried up somewhat and a lot of work was able to be put in on improving the performance of the engine.
Tanabe, Honda’s Formula 1 Technical Director, says that whilst the reliability is yet to be perfect, the fact there has been less problems means they can improve the details on the engine to make them genuine contenders at the front of the field, which was highlighted by Max Verstappen’s trio of victories in 2019 and Toro Rosso twice securing podium finishes.
“I believe we have learned what is a priority for qualifying, or how to win the race,” said Tanabe to Motorsport.com. “I’m asking Sakura on the Japan side to focus on some key points to improve. We learned a lot.
“On the other hand, reliability is not perfect enough this year, but our reliability is getting much better since last year. It means we can develop positive items, not a countermeasure test or bench test.
“We spent a lot of time on something that was a clean-up test [before]. Now we can put more time to improve our performance. Then we can think about the more detail with each area.”