Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2018

More to come from Honda upgrade after “early” introduction – Gasly

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Honda wanted more time to test its ‘spec three’ power unit before its race debut yesterday, according to Pierre Gasly.

The Toro Rosso driver described how his weekend was compromised by calibration problems with his power unit.

“In FP2 I didn’t do short runs, I didn’t do proper long runs so we didn’t push the engine as much as we wanted. In FP3 I had again some issues that probably we could have found in FP2 and the settings we did in qualifying we could have done in FP3…

“We should have been more prepared for quali, it just takes some small delays and for this weekend it was important to have a clean weekend, which didn’t happen and I think in the end we’ve paid a bit in quali and the race for the lack of running.”

Honda requested to change the settings on Gasly’s engine before the race, as both power and reliability were affected by his problems. According to Gasly they were initially granted permission to do so, then told to revert the changes just before the race.

“I didn’t have the best calibrations,” he said. “It was hurting the power but also the reliability for the race so it was a really big concern for the race.

“We asked if we could change it and first they accepted then they reverted so I was back with yesterday’s setting which was a bit down on power and not the best for drive-ability as well.”

This prevented Gasly being able to access the full power of the upgrade. “It’s new so we still need to find out how everything works. They introduced it pretty early, ideally they would have liked to have more time on the dyno to test it.”

Gasly said his car would have been significantly faster if he had been able to fully exploit the upgrade. “We are talking about a couple of tenths. If we had this then probably it would have put me a bit closer to Romain [Grosjean] and more in the fight.

“So I think it’s looking really good. Still a few things to improve but as a first step, after discovering and exploring a bit the way the engine works I think there is some good potential in there.”

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2018 F1 season

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 22 comments on “More to come from Honda upgrade after “early” introduction – Gasly”

    1. Toro Rosso did well considering the lack of running they had in free practice (Gasly). Their qualifying performance cost them dearly in the race, when they were forced to start on used supersofts from Q2. We get to a point where no midfield team wants to run Q3, because it is harmful for the race. I wish the FIA would scrap this tyre rule as soon as possible.

      1. @matthijs Their final race-results weren’t solely down to that, though. They already lost out a bit at the start, as well as, pitted too late, and in general, they just lacked pace in the race compared to qualifying.

        1. @jerejj I think you are right about the timing of the pitstop. Gasly was 7th before the pitstops, but ended up 10th after the pitstops. Perez finished 7th after spending half the race behind Gasly. He pitted before Gasly, so in the STR pitted Gasly at the wrong time.

          Not sure about the racepace though. Gasly was stuck behind Grosjean and after the pitstops Gasly had a good pace. Unfortunately he was very slow in the closing laps, probably down to tyres.

          https://www.racefans.net/2018/10/07/2018-japanese-grand-prix-interactive-data-lap-charts-times-and-tyres/

    2. Hm, so it shows that the pressure on Honda is already ramping up now that we get closer to Red Bull having to race with them then:

      Honda wanted more time to test its ‘spec three’ power unit before its race debut yesterday, according to Pierre Gasly.

      Wasn’t that pressure from McLaren cited only too often by both Red Bull but even more by ppl arguing how Honda would do better with Honda as exactly one of the reasons why it didn’t work? Because there would be time to build up? Lets see how this engine holds up in the following races then before we feel good about next year.

      1. Mr. Nobody (@)
        8th October 2018, 14:06

        I think it’s more like that Honda wanted to introduce it themselves because Japan.

        1. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
          9th October 2018, 7:32

          Honda always bring out an upgrade in Japan… it’s like their engines perform better with Japanese air intake, elsewhere it’s slow or always breaking down.

          We’ll see if this is a false dawn or a turning point for them. I’m pessimistic.

    3. Gasly said his car would have been significantly faster if

      Ah, the magic of the IF

      1. ‘If’ is the biggest word in the dictionary.

    4. Torro Rosso on twitter Saturday: “We can fight”
      Maybe next time they should wait until the race is over before spouting off.
      Passed by a Renault no less…

      1. Did anyone else notice how Mclaren and Williams were fighting their own battle at Suzuka? it was almost like the old days…

        Oh wait i held the laederboard upside down

      2. Please, Gasleys tires were shot.

      3. Yep, as they say “the points are handed out on the Sunday”

    5. Gasly was getting passed on the main straight before the start/finish line, much like the McLarens were the last 3 years. Red Bull are in for a season of pain in 2019.

    6. See this is exactly why I said they should have kept their mouths shut. I’m a Honda fan, and of Red Bull, so I want this partnership to work out but boasting about it before it’s done a race was silly.

      Though by the sounds of it Gasly was down on power the whole weekend and the engine wasn’t 100% ready – and at least in qualifying trim the engine does look a step forward (even Hartley got into Q3) so it certainly still looks like a good step forward. Also looks like in the race Toro Rosso just didn’t really help their drivers with strategy either.

      I really hope it works out next year but I do rather hope Red Bull has more patience than McLaren, or both Red Bull/Toro Rosso and Honda will probably bounce out of F1.

      1. @rocketpanda

        Honestly you can’t read too much in to the constant compliments by Tost, Horner, Verstappen and Gasly. It’s their job to talk up their Japanese counterparts after the humiliation they’ve received over the past few seasons.

        Their spec 3 however, did look impressive in quali trim. Although I have a feeling they intentionally mapped the engine for a quali glory run in front of the home fans. In the race, they were probably the weakest power unit again.

        I wouldn’t get my hopes too high for Honda despite this positive PR spin. It’s still highly likely for Red bull to get frustrated with them over the next 2 seasons and either dump them or leave the sport by 2021.

        1. This spec was supposed to be introduced in COTA, not Russia, but Red Bull wants these last races of the season to be a massive test session. The engine has more power then last spec that is obvious, the reliability is somewhat under control to but I read somewhere that the problem is the calibration with the gear box, that was not fully optimized, and that’s something that for the next race will be solved.
          The problem with Toro Rosso this race more then bad calibration of the engine, was poor strategy and bad tire management, that is what cost them points not the engine, Gasly’s lap times when down a cliff in the last 10 laps, that was due to extreme blistering.

          1. Are they using the McLaren gearbox? I wonder if Honda is developing its own gearbox or if they will integrate development with RBR for both teams.

        2. @todfod I agree that it is natural that Todt, Horner, Max, and Pierre are going to be only positive about Honda right now. But I remain confident that RBR and Honda are in this for the long game, so I would be quite surprised if RBR have the short attention span you think they will have. Remember that it took about 6 or 7 years for them to become disgruntled with Renault….a couple of years of building up to Championship level, four years of Championships, and the last five years of being less competitive. So just because the relationship turned sour, I don’t see the same conditions being duplicated, nor the need for RBR to now be touted as ones who have such a short attention span.

          Nobody gets it more than RBR where Honda are now and where they need to get, and it would at least seem that Honda might finally be getting toward the rhelm of respectability. RBR knows that they may need some years as they did with Renault to get to Championship level again, and then we have the reset for 2021 to consider too.

          No I really don’t see RBR getting disgruntled and impatient with Honda in the next two years. That they have with Renault will be behind them, and with Honda it will be a new chapter and a new set of conditions and circumstances. Of course it just all has to play out. There is simply no evidence that RBR are now and forever impatient blokes. It took them 11 years or so to dump Renault.

    7. Honda requested to change the settings on Gasly’s engine before the race, as both power and reliability were affected by his problems. According to Gasly they were initially granted permission to do so, then told to revert the changes just before the race.

      Who are told them to revert back? The FIA?

        1. @jerejj I thought engine settings would be outside Parc Ferme rules?

          1. In hind-site (20-20 of course) it might have been better to bite the bullet and start from the pit-lane.
            As for Red Bull and the impending marriage with Honda, look where they are relative to any of the other Renault runners. Even up against the Renault factory team, there is no comparison in terms of qualifying or race pace. If you didn’t know, you would swear that they had a totally different Power Unit (they just might, especially DR).
            If Red Bull can do that with a Renault and the Honda is on par (which isn’t looking like too big a stretch) it is going to be an exciting 2019.

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