Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

Honda surprised by Mercedes’ progress since last year

2020 British Grand Prix

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The gains Mercedes has made with its power unit since last year caught Honda by surprise, the Japanese engine manufacturer admitted.

Speaking in yesterday’s press conference, Honda’s F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe he was “surprised by their progress between last year to this year.

“We have been learning what areas we are behind [in] and what areas they are ahead of us. And then, it’s not easy, but we are trying to catch them up accordingly, in terms of qualifying and also race distance. So we are working very hard with our engineers in Japan and Milton Keynes to catch them up.”

Red Bull and AlphaTauri discussed their strategy for the rest of the season with Honda at a meeting after the previous race in Hungary.

“It was good timing to review the past three races so we had time to meet with our team members,” said Tanabe in response to a question from RaceFans.

“We discussed about performance, what we learned from the three races and then we shared the information, what we learned. And then what the plan for the future, not only for Silverstone but also for the entire season.”

Teams face the added complication this year of not knowing how many races will take place and what circuits they will visit. Honda and its teams therefore discussed “how to use the PU for this season or how to manage the performance during these races and then later,” said Tanabe.

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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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10 comments on “Honda surprised by Mercedes’ progress since last year”

  1. Honda’s F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe he was “surprised by their progress between last year to this year.

    Unfortunately it seems the pace of Mercedes car this year was partly a consequence of their pace last year when compared to the Ferrari car … which was partly related to the strength of the US dollar.

    1. … which was partly related to the strength of the US dollar.

      What! Who wrote that! Oh, me … Doh! Anyway I’m sure most people know what the current suspicion is as to where Ferrari got their extra speed, so maybe that is as good an innuendo as any other innuendo.

    2. And undisclosed intellectual property that was legal last year but not this year despite no rule change. Ferrari didn’t just make it hard for themselves running illicit hardware last year, they made it harder for everyone that doesn’t have a Mercedes in the back!

      I’m surprised there hasn’t been any more noise about the confidential agreement this year? Or did Red Bull get an extra bonus payment already?

      1. There have been comments from Renault and Red Bull indicating that they are still pushing for an answer – just that, in the current situation, they have other priorities in the short term.

  2. Since they are germans it must be something perfectly legal…for sure

  3. To be honest, it is quite surprising. I mean aero can make a difference. But to lap cars upto 5th position in the length of a GP cant just be only aero.
    But at the same time Ferrari have a bigger degradation in power, and the comparison makes Mercedes look even stronger.

    1. And that is the thing – it’s not so much that Mercedes are so fast, but that the gap is being exaggerated by their rivals going slower.

      Ferrari have lost out, but Red Bull have also gone slower in every single dry qualifying session than they did in 2019.

  4. No need for any innuendo.
    Ferrari were investigated.
    The fact that the findings were declared secret is the true Stain & Disgrace on F1.

  5. I’ve always wondered if Ferrari would’ve been caught if they slowly increased their fuel flow instead as fast as they did.
    I don’t want to suggest that Mercedes is doing anything illegal, if they still can extract more pace from their engine after quite a few years with stable regulations it’s both remarkable and well engineered (and, to be honest, quite frustrating).

  6. Merc’s brilliance, closed Ferrari’s loophole as they found another one. Times in Silverstone comfirmed it, power has gone down, perhaps just Q power but the times haven’t evolved well on power tracks. Merc’s rear wing is tiny and so is Ferrari’s.

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