Honda Looking for a ‘Further Step Forward’ in Second Week of Testing – Tanabe

by Paul Hensby

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1’s Technical Director, was pleased with the amount of work done by both Honda-powered teams during this week’s first pre-season test of 2020 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri completed a good number of laps across all three days in Spain, with no major reliability issues occurring with either team on any of the days, with only a few minor niggles costing them a small amount of time.

Wednesday’s first day of testing saw Daniil Kvyat drive for AlphaTauri, while Red Bull gave Max Verstappen the first taste of the RB16, with Tanabe delighted with the amount of laps completed, with the Russian doing one hundred and sixteen laps and the Dutchman an incredible one hundred and sixty-eight.

“It’s great to be back on track after a busy winter during which everyone involved in Honda’s F1 project worked very hard to prepare for this season in conjunction with our two teams,” said Tanabe.  “Therefore, it was gratifying to complete the first day with no real issues on both cars and it was a bit different to see the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda livery for the first time on track.

“It’s the same for everyone but these two tests will be even more intensive than last year, as we have only six days instead of eight to prepare for Melbourne. As usual, with a first day of testing, today was mainly about doing functionality checks for the RA620H Power Unit and also on the chassis side and ensuring everything worked correctly.

“Both our teams got through the scheduled programmes and we encountered a few minor issues which is what you expect during testing, especially on day 1. We got plenty of data which will now be analysed by the night shift here at the track and back in the factory. There’s much more work to be done over the rest of the test.”

Max Verstappen was busy on both Wednesday and Friday in Spain – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Tanabe was also pleased with the work done and data gathered on the second day of the test on Thursday, with Pierre Gasly completing one hundred and forty-seven laps for AlphaTauri and Alexander Albon getting his first running with Red Bull, the Anglo-Thai driver completing one hundred and thirty-four laps.

“For the second day of testing, our work followed on from what we did yesterday, with functionality checks as well as beginning to work on optimising our PU settings based on yesterday’s feedback and data,” said Tanabe.

“Pierre did 147 laps, the second highest number on the day. Overall another solid day’s work with plenty more data to study.”

Everyone is Going to be ‘Very Busy Analysing a Huge Quantity of Data’

Friday’s final day of the test saw another productive day for all the Honda-powered drivers, with Verstappen and Albon completing one hundred and sixty-nine laps between them, while Kvyat and Gasly also shared driving duties and completed an additional one hundred and twenty-one laps.

Tanabe says there is now a chance before next week’s second test to analyse the data they’ve gathered so they can come back to Spain with a further step forward in performance.

“On the final day of the first test of 2020, both our teams completed a good number of laps,” said Tanabe.  “For Scuderia AlphaTauri, Daniil drove in the morning and Pierre in the afternoon for a total of 121 laps. AlphaTauri continued working on optimising the PU.

“We now have plenty of data to analyse at the mid-point of the pre-season tests. The fine weather and the fact there were very few red flags over the past three days means that this was a very productive first test for Honda and our two teams.

“We now have four days until the second test and everyone back in Japan, the UK and here in Spain is going to be very busy analysing a huge quantity of data, to make a further step forward in the final three days of track time before the first race.

“In total, the four Honda-powered cars completed 855 laps, equivalent to a distance of 3,980.025 kilometres.”

Pierre Gasly was back in action for AlphaTauri in Spain – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

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