Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Honda’s new spec three engine is better than Renault’s – Tost

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says the new version of Honda’s power unit has moved the Japanese manufacturer ahead of Renault.

Tost said the new spec three Honda power unit, which the team tested on Friday at the Sochi Autodrom, is “really fantastic”. The team reverted to the older specification unit for the race so Honda could address any teething problem with the new unit and reduce the risk of making a further replacement and incurring grid penalties at their home race this weekend.

“Honda is making big steps forward,” said Tost in an interview shared with RaceFans. “Yesterday we had the new spec in the car and was really fantastic.”

The upgrade means “Honda is in front of Renault” now, said Tost, adding he believes its “complete package” is now superior to the current Renault power unit.

“The power unit the years before was so not so reliable, not so strong. We knew some deficiencies but Honda caught up dramatically and they are doing a fantastic job.”

Toro Rosso switched from Renault to Honda power units at the end of last year. Sister team Red Bull will replace its TAG Heuer-branded Renault power units with Hondas for the 2019 F1 season.

Renault introduced the ‘C spec’ version of its power unit earlier this year. Red Bull reverted to the older B-spec version in Sochi for reliability reasons. But team principal Christian Horner said the team will switch back to the C-spec this weekend.

“We’ve now got two engines available to us between now and the end of the year,” said Horner. “This will be the engine that [Max Verstappen] uses in Mexico, and Daniel [Ricciardo]. We’ll use the C-spec in Japan.

“Hopefully we’ll have enough components to get to the end of the year penalty-free the last five races.”

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31 comments on “Honda’s new spec three engine is better than Renault’s – Tost”

  1. Ted Kravitz mentioned during his Sochi Notebook that he had heard Honda’s new spec engine is worth around 0.5 to 0.6 seconds per lap over the current engine. It’ll be interesting to see how much that jumps the STR boys in Japan. Just be reliable.

    1. Would be perfect weekend if one of the cars even finishes the race.

    2. Hard to believe. That would be an enormous power boost. First we will have to see if they can use the engine for an entire weekend.

      1. They were the ones with the lowest power so any increases could be % much bigger then for example Mercedes upgrade

        Merc 1000 hp 1% increase would be 1010 hp as they are at their max
        Renault 900 hp get a 5% means they get 45 hp totaling 945 hp
        Honda 880 hp has for example a 10% as their engine isn’t maxed out would be 880+80= 960 hp

        These values i made up for an example.

      2. Remember @mosquito this is Honda dress-rehearsing for a partnership with the big boys next year. All they’ve done with the new engine is catch up with everyone else. In that sense it’s not hard to believe, and the timing is certainly not a co-incidence, arriving at their home grand prix.

  2. I’m inclined to trust Honda on this one, because whenever they’ve promised something, they’ve delivered.

    1. @pratyushp276 – There are some sentences where you don’t even need to add a /s to show you’re being sarcastic :-)

    2. Indeed, Honda’s upgrades have created quite the explosiveness one should expect from an F1 engine

  3. To be honest I’d say I’m a fan of Honda and I’m excited at the prospect of seeing them finally come good… but after both cars failed to finish the last race (albeit not engine related) and we’ve not actually ‘seen’ this Honda engine that’s better than Renault’s perform in a race yet… I’d be inclined to keep quiet. Like if it is as good as they say then let the track performance speak for itself.

    Though to be honest I hope it’s true. I think the best chance for a competetive season next year is Red Bull-Honda.

    1. @rocketpanda, Honda themselves are being considerably more careful about what they say – they have avoided any comparison with any other manufacturer, simply commenting that the upgrade improves on the peak power output of the engine.

      They have also been suggesting that they might postpone the reintroduction of this engine, which was originally meant to occur at the Japanese GP – they have admitted that the new engine has problems with putting excessive amounts of oscillation through the drivetrain, which is causing problems with drivability and concerns over reliability.

      It is not as severe as the problems they had in 2017, which were fairly catastrophic at the start of the year, but it might take longer to remap the engines than originally hoped for – it might mean waiting until Austin instead. It also raises the question of whether the recalibration might have a knock on effect on performance in other areas, so perhaps Tost might have been better off waiting until the engine could be used in a race before praising Honda just yet.

    2. The failures at Sochi were engine related – the car is now too fast for the brakes ;)


  4. The proof is in the pudding. No pudding, yet…

    1. I must say that when I read this:

      The team reverted to the older specification unit for the race so Honda could address any teething problem with the new unit and reduce the risk of making a further replacement and incurring grid penalties at their home race this weekend.

      does nothing but make me more sceptical. Surely they did not plan it this way – they must have had more problems than they expected if they took the engine out right away to “solve teething problems”.

  5. Best of luck to them! Would love to see a competitive Honda/RBR combination next year.

  6. I was told this four years ago

    1. By who….. Ron Dennis isn’t that the one of McLaren which body was unbeatable?

  7. Guybrush Threepwood
    1st October 2018, 21:38

    So Renault manage to find a way to be the worst engine manufacturer in F1 yet again? Merci Mr Abitofbull.

    1. Maybe before slating Renault you should wait and see if Honda have actually delivered what they promised. Pretty sure over 1 year ago Honda were banging on about their engine being just as powerful as Renault

      1. Yeah, what they delivered in reality was an update that was so good that they didn’t trust it to run 2 races in a row. Sorry but that looks like more of the same to me, not a huge step forward.

        Remember the old, tired line “to finish first, you first have to finish”. Honda did an incredible job showing us the truth of that in the last few years. I’ll believe them when they really deliver.

  8. I was disappointed to see the double retirement of both Toro Rosso cars. I wondered if there’d been a slip up in the preparation of the cars because from the way Pierre spoke it appeared as though both retired for the same reason. I think Honda would have been very disappointed if their new engine is as good as they claim. Red Bull won’t be happy either because every race is now essential for next year, so to have both cars retire means a lost weekend.

    1. @drycrust But I thought it was a brake problem with both, no?

      1. @robbie I’d heard that too, and mistakenly thought someone must have forgotten to put brake fluid into the brake system, which would be part of the preparation of the car for a race (although I have no idea why you’d remove the brake fluid in the first place), hence Toro Rosso’s responsibility. However as MacLeod (@macleod) says below, the brake system is a brake by wire system. Isn’t the energy collected under braking part of the KERS system (MGU-K)? If so then that might be part of Honda’s responsibility, but again to have both cars fail suggest it was an omission that happened on both cars, which suggests a problem with the preparation of the cars. As I think about it, the changing nature of the problem suggests a leak of some sort, but both cars?

    2. And they used the old spec engine as they want to save the new spec for Japan. The front brake brake by wire went wrong so other part of the car.

  9. The press and paddock are hailing Honda’s new engine claiming they are getting closer.
    In fact, if it weren’t for Ilmor, they still be floundering. They finally had to admit to themselves they couldn’t do it and sought outside help.
    McLaren was prodding them to enlist help from the beginning with no success.
    A bunch of arrogant losers.

    1. What’s any of this got to do with Ilmor? Nothing. It’s only Honda’s second season running this engine, so improvements were expected this year.

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      2nd October 2018, 10:07

      And looking at the state of the McLaren chassis now it wouldnt really have made much of a difference to the final result regardless.

  10. Wow, they said that for the first time back in Silverstone 2015.
    That’s some delay.

    1. Did Honda said that or a person who isn’t there anymore?

  11. Adub Smallblock
    2nd October 2018, 14:51

    Its difficult to be optimistic for Honda, given the last three years. That said, I do hope they get significant improvement. Great to tighten up the field and make the racing more exciting.

  12. I hope Honda finally get this right.
    Unlike Danny Ric….

  13. Let’s be positive, it’s been a long journey for Honda, I’m keen to see what Gasly does with the TR with this upgraded engine. Tost is entitled to his opinion and there’s nothing wrong with being enthusiastic. But on the whole from the winter testing the signs have only been positive relative to the previous years with Maclaren.

Comments are closed.