Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Verstappen: Honda’s ‘party mode’ worth “a few tenths” but Ferrari made “massive” gain

2019 F1 season

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Max Verstappen says Honda’s power-boosting ‘party mode’ has made Red Bull more competitive in qualifying but Ferrari have made a “massive” gain with their power unit.

The Red Bull driver told media in Azerbaijan Honda’s high-power engine mode is worth “a few tenths” in qualifying. But he admitted the manufacturer has made less progress compared to Ferrari than Mercedes.

“I think we are closer to Mercedes,” said Verstappen. “It’s always difficult to really say if it is better because everybody is always improving.”

“In the race in general we are a bit more competitive,” he added. “In qualifying it’s mainly just Ferrari which stands out.

“Like, it’s massive. They found something in their engine which really works. So it’s again good because it gives even more motivation to Honda to work even harder which they anyway do.”

Verstappen will use Honda’s new ‘spec two’ power unit this weekend which has been introduced partly to address reliability concerns.

“From our side what is really important is that we are able to maximise the result all the time, which has been a third and twice fourth without retiring,” said Verstappen. “That is sometimes more important than gaining a tenth but then breaking down all the time.”

Taking a new power unit this early in the championship means Verstappen is likely to incur engine penalties later in the season. However he believes this is the correct approach.

“I’m really happy because they keep pushing really hard to bring updates. That’s always good,” he said.

“I think last year I showed anyway that even when you start at the back you can still finish on the podium, for example like in Austin. I don’t think it’s a major problem. I’m happier than we can say at the end of the season we really closed the gap on Mercedes and Ferrari in terms of power. Just because we use a few more engines, that’s fine.”

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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...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 15 comments on “Verstappen: Honda’s ‘party mode’ worth “a few tenths” but Ferrari made “massive” gain”

    1. … and Mercedes have quietly gained more than Ferrari and Red Bull combined

      1. We will see.

      2. Not on the power unit. It seems like Mercedes has the better car, and Ferrari the better PU.

        1. Mercedes has the best everything. The best chassis is that which is the best in corners. The best PU is that which can be fast enough to create pressure and finish races 1st and 2nd.

        2. @exediron, I suppose it comes down to how exactly you want to judge what “best PU” is, as there will inevitably be some trading off of some characteristics.

          In terms of peak power in the most aggressive engine modes, it would appear that Ferrari does have an advantage in that area: however, that advantage appears to be significantly diminished in race trim. In terms of fuel consumption, Mercedes have generally been rated as having the lowest fuel consumption, and in terms of reliability Mercedes have generally been strongest in that respect too.

          In terms of cooling requirements, Ferrari, at least in the past, seemed to have slightly lower cooling requirements; in terms of the overall volume of the power unit, Honda might regain some advantage as it appears their power unit is quite compact, and possibly has the lowest overall volume of all.

          1. Good points Anon, in this case, considering all different aspects, it looks that Mercedes is the overall best in balancing power vs reliability vs fuel consumption.

    2. Every fuel injection system known to man, has had more than one mode… closed loop, open loop, whatever.

      F1 cars have had qualifying modes, to bring out more power for quali since… the 70’s?

      But Lewis calls it party mode… so now it’s party mode?

      Facepalm worthy, I tell ya…

      1. buzzwords my fellow racefanatic. CEO, the cloud, hypercars, out of the box… and so on.

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      25th April 2019, 21:20

      I like party mode. I use it too. Just sound more fun.

    4. can we please stop using the phrase ‘party mode’

    5. “…he admitted the manufacturer (Honda) has made less progress compared to Ferrari than Mercedes.
      – I think we are closer to Mercedes – said Verstappen…”
      But keep trying Max.

    6. So safe to say all the engines when running in party mode are at or over 1000hp?

    7. Every time someone from the RB sphere talks about Honda, they have gained a few tenths. By the end of 2019, they will be travelling at superluminal speed, and only the shutter speeds of the cameras will make it look as though they’re still behind Mercedes and Ferrari.

    8. I’m just enjoying how refreshing it is to hear Red Bull people being nice about others this year.

      1. @alec-glen Makes sense they are for now though. Renault have had many power unit issues already even in only three races. While Honda, so far, have been quite reliable.

        Wonder what will happen if Honda doesn’t deliver for 2021 though.

    Comments are closed.