Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test

Honda acknowledge “clear advantage” in power unit’s MGU-K performance

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In the round-up: Honda believes it enjoys an advantage over its power unit manufacturer rivals in the performance of its electrical systems.

In brief

Honda enjoying “clear advantage” in MGU-K

Honda Racing Corporation’s executive chief engineer and Formula 1 project leader Tetsushi Kakuda has explained how regulation changes and a development freeze have impacted how its latest powertrains for Red Bull and AlphaTauri have been developed.

“Last year, I believe all the power unit manufacturers prioritised performance in their development, and so did we,” said Kakuda. “We made every effort to recover the performance loss due to the E10 fuel introduced by the regulation change.

Early power unit problems were soon fixed
“But as a result, the internal load to the engine increased significantly compared to the previous year and so reliability was severely compromised. As a result, several problems surfaced during the 2022 season and we have been working to address those problems for this season.”

In addition to solving existing issues, Honda has been “preparing ourselves to have wider strategies by identifying the limits of each part and maximising its potential” at its research and development facility in Sakura, Japan.

“We deepened our understanding of our PU to further optimise the control and energy management,” Kakuda added. “We have also matured ourselves in the electrification technologies where we had a clear advantage last year, especially the MGU-K deployment.”

“We believe we are fully prepared for the pre-season tests starting this week.”

Cape Town expected to be a demanding track on energy consumption

Maserati’s racing director Jeremy Colancon says Formula E’s new Cape Town track, which it will race at this weekend, “is a very energy sensitive circuit, meaning that there will be a lot of energy saving during the race”, which is the fifth of the 2022-23 season.

“The track has a lot of high-speed corners, which make it more difficult to recover energy in an efficient way, but the key places for management will be in turns four, five, seven, and 11,” Colancon added.

It has been a difficult return to single-seater racing for Maserati, who dominated pre-season testing but have only scored three points in four races this season.

Sargeant “super-excited” for F1 pre-season testing

Logan Sargeant, Williams, Silverstone, 2023
Sargeant has already sampled the FW45
Williams’ rookie driver Logan Sargeant is full of anticipation for Formula 1 pre-season testing later this week, which he will drive in one-and-a-half days of as he shares the three days of track time with team mate Alex Albon.

“I’m super-excited for testing in Bahrain,” Sargeant said. “We already had a good feeling in the car at the rollout in Silverstone. I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into what the car is capable of and also getting more comfortable with it from my side.

“Bahrain is a track that I know well so that brings me confidence going into the test. Hopefully that’ll put us in a good spot ahead of the first race of the season. We’re going to try and make everyone’s efforts and hard work over the winter pay off.”

Mercedes add karter to junior team

Mercedes have revealed their line-up of F1 juniors for 2023, and the only new addition is a 12-year-old karter.

Kenzo Craigie was runner-up in the British Karting Championship’s Honda Cadet class in 2022, and won the Ultimate Karting Championship and the British Kartmasters Grand Prix.

The previous year he had been ninth in the British championship fourth in the grand prix, as well as making the final of the Rotax Grand Finals in the Micro class.

He brings Mercedes’ tally of juniors up to seven, joining Frederik Vesti (Formula 2), Paul Aron (Formula 3), Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Formula Regional) and fellow karters Yuanpu Cui, Luna Fluxa and Alex Powell.

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Comment of the day

Romain Grosjean’s chassis from his fiery 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix crash will be part of the upcoming inaugural official F1 Exhibition in Madrid, and the reveal of its inclusion has already caught the attention of many as it provided a first look at the car since the infamous crash.

As an engineer whose job included diagnosing aerospace failures, I’m not even a tiny bit surprised they kept the evidence from this crash. It’s absolute gold dust for anyone trying to improve safety in the real F1 world, as important as a dinosaur bone to an archaeologist.

Many years ago I visited the Science Museum where there was a display of an F1 McLaren after a crash, if I remember correctly one of David Coulthard’s efforts. It was of course speaking to the safety improvements of a carbon tub.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Rich!

On this day in motorsport

Lotus failed to win a race in 1988 with the 100T while McLaren, using the same engines, nearly won them all

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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37 comments on “Honda acknowledge “clear advantage” in power unit’s MGU-K performance”

  1. As to the DRS ‘debate’ – of course Liberty will just say that F1 (with DRS) is more popular than ever before.
    They won’t entertain the idea that it could actually be not just more popular but a lot better by actually making fundamentally more capable racing cars that don’t even require a solution like DRS, though.
    Instead, Domenicali is on the bandwagon to further push DRS into F1, making it an active aero element at all times.

    Which just provides further proof that even people who live and breath F1 don’t really know any better than anyone else about what’s in the best interests of F1.
    Actually, it can be argued that people within F1 are the worst judges of that, as they have a complete lack of perspective.

  2. I think this is the least interested/excited that I’ve ever been going into a new season.

    I think I’ve finally got to the point where all the things i don’t like have overtaken the things i do.

    I still love and have so much passion for the sport and i still love all the things about it that i always have. But i just look at what it is now and look at the direction Liberty are taking it and I just don’t like where it’s going and thats the first time in the 33-34 years I’ve been a fan that I’ve ever felt that way.

    It started with DRS and the high deg tyres (And having to pay to watch it due to Sky) but then over the past few years we’ve had things like the sprints, The more restrictive regulations, The expansion of the calendar & the circuits they have expanded to as well as the feeling that the show has overtaken the sport in importance are all things that have just started to make me feel like I’m been pushed away.

    I’m thinking of just backing away from it this year. Still following it, Still watching but in a more casual way. And given how passionate and dedicated to F1 i have always been i actually can’t believe i would ever think of not following it super closely or not watching every race.

    1. @stefmeister Pretty much where I’m at too.
      I’ve dropped my Kayo subscription and for the first time in over 40 years I won’t be watching anything live.

      I’ll still keep an eye on news via sites like this and might watch a few highlights on you tube but like you I’m just not that excited. I think probably because there’s so much restriction (when now there’s a cost cap they could open it up and let engineers innovate), DRS is a joke, and there’s way too many races. Let’s not even mention the sprint abomination.

    2. Living in the Netherlands there weren’t many options to watch F1 live when I was growing up – only in 1993 all the races were broadcasted live (we got cable TV and Eurosport). So for 30 years I have been following F1 now and I can really relate to your post. I especially don’t like the drive of Liberty to keep adding races to the calendar, especially the races in countries with poor human rights and the fact the FIA is now even squandering freedom of speech for the drivers – in order to keep racing in those places. I would also wish Liberty would be more aware of the history of the sport – only the mention of dropping Spa or Monza for a soulless new track – makes it clear to me they don’t have a vision for the sport, but just for filling their already deep pockets. It would be like cycling dropping Paris Roubaix or the Ronde van Vlaanderen for a higher paying event in a different country and it would never ever work. But maybe it’s just my age.. I will definitely not be following all the races this year and might stop watching all together once Liberty skips Spa and Monza.

    3. @stefmeister @dbradock I think i’m in the same boat. I’ve never really been less interested in an upcoming season. Weirdly with F1’s popularity rising (there was a time when I didn’t know anyone other than myself who watched it). And people now wanting to talk about it, I’ve sort of gone in the opposite direction. I didn’t bother getting the latest F1 game, simply because the thought of doing sprint races seemed a chore.

      I kind of put it down to just how many races there are these days, they seemed a bit more ‘special’ when there were only twelve. Or just as I got older my priorities changed. Or the countless gimmicks. It’s nice to hear someone else feels the same way. I’ll still be watching, highlights, YouTube and visiting places like RaceFans, but I don’t feel the same about it, I feel like I’m slowly floating away from it.

    4. Agree about a few things being added, or remaining, in the sport that are far from ideal. I would have love to see a reduced impact of DRS. Maybe reducing the slot wing gap or reducing the length of the DRS zones. I’m also not a fan of the sprint weekends, but at the same time, I don’t think its harming the sport as much. There have been a few exciting sprint weekends for sure – British GP 2021, Monza 2021, Brazil 2022, etc. Regarding the number of races, it should never cross 20, and it definitely should be based on which tracks produce the most exciting races, instead of which country coughs up the most dough.

      I’ve been watching the sport for nearly 29 years myself.. and while I think the sport is far from perfect right now, I believe there are a lot of great drivers, rivalries and drama in recent seasons. If you take Abu Dhabi’s last few laps out of the entire 2021 season, it was arguably the greatest season the sport has had so far.

      I’m still glued.. but maybe I could be going down your path in the next 3 to 4 years, if there aren’t a few things fixed.

      1. Thanks @todfod, I’m in your corner too I think. Yes my priorities and time have changed too, but I do think there’s a lot of good drivers able to show good things. Though I am very likely not viewing every race live, just as was the case last year (travel and family interfering), I do enjoy watching and looking for what’s happening through the field.

        If one has it, F1 tv pro can be very useful in that (both with the driver cams, as well as with the ‘only driver/pits and engine, environment sound’ feeds) without having to lean in to any narrative that’s going on which is so often not what I am really interested in over what happens on track.

    5. Your feelings are not unusual. There’s a big thread on Autosport with a lot of people echoing the same thing. I am not sure if it’s symptomatic of a growing apathy towards F1 or not, but I’ve certainly observed the same in myself. It’s probably a conflation of factors similar to superhero fatigue we’re seeing in cinema. Obviously there’s more to it than just over-exposure, I think there’s similar alienation of core fanbase things going on too in F1.

      F1 is a monolith that has taken of the motorsport landscape. Scarcity has been replacing with over-abundance and naturally perceived value of each Grand Prix has dropped. I actually think the dropping of Melbourne being the first round has had an effect in western Europe. While maybe better for ‘overall’ viewership, there was always something special about that race and the excitement of getting up at 5am or whatever to see the new cars hit the track. In addition the over-prescriptive regs have almost killed off all technical intrigue. We no longer see new teams, so that’s another area of ‘intrigue’ that’s died off. The bet from Liberty is the new fans will replace the old fanbase, and maybe they are right, but something is happening with the core fanbase that no doubt will be on the radar.

    6. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd February 2023, 9:19

      Yep, another “same here” to add to the list. I think they’ll have a major problem in the future because F1 has always had boring seasons some years and exciting seasons others. We’ve had a few interesting seasons recently and the casual audience has grown. Liberty have jumped on board with that and are aiming the sport solely towards them which is pushing away the longer-term, more hardcore fans.

      Best hope the casual fans stay tuned in when we have a boring, dominant season huh? The fans who would tune in regardless (I didn’t miss a race for years) are starting to tune out and if you lose your core fans, you’ll be extremely reliant on the Netflix crowd not deciding to move on to the next trendy thing.

      1. After 1952 I’m not sure there was another boring season until the early 2000s. You could possibly point to the 1.5 litre era because it was so dependent on reliability but having seasons dominated by the greatest driver of all time gave them extra points, and the cars were also particularly beautiful then. 1992 and 1993 weren’t great but they were very exciting cars to watch. And I think 1994 was the worst season ever, although certainly not because it was boring as it was in fact a fascinating season.

    7. @stefmeister I think I’ve ultimately just lost all faith in the governing body actually running the sport properly – from the Todd administration deliberately sitting back and letting many many bad things happen, to the sport-washing, to the handling of AD ’21, to the dark place his replacement seems intent on taking things…

      This, coupled with the transition from ‘sport’ to ‘spectacle’, the need to pay Sky to follow the sport properly in the UK and what looks to be (at least) a few years of Red Bull/MV dominance after playing bare-faced schenanigans to get an engine lock-in (I suppose more the fool for FOM/the other teams taking their lies at face value) has just utterly drained my enthusiasm for the sport…

      1. Good summary. I guess we will find a lot of people on this forum thinking the same. Liberty is clearly out for another type of audience that is greater in numbers. They will however have to continuously feed and invest in this group as it will prove to be a disloyal group that needs to be refreshed all the time in order to reach the revenue objectives set. They are in for an exhaustive race but am sure they’ll sell out at the right moment pleasing their shareholders. Who cares about the sport and its fans? Sure there will be a few fanboys & girls within Liberty, but the shots eventually get called by the board who’s target is purely and solely financially driven.

    8. @stefmeister i’m very much the same.

      it’s taken liberty just 5 years to basically completely kill my interest in this once great sport.

      i always hated things like the drs and comedy tires but i was just about willing to put up with such awful artificial gimmicks because everything else still felt like f1, it still felt like a sport & still featured all i always enjoyed about it. but since liberty came in there has been a shift with the show obviously been deemed more important than the sport in the liberty Americanisation of what should now be called GP1.

      it’s clear there focus is on the american audience, the casual audience and that the long time hardcore dedicated fans are no longer important as it’s those who from what i can see are been turned off by the americanisation artificial gimmick ridden show the GP1 direction is.

      last year was the first time since the early 80s i didn’t watch every race and i’ll be watching even less this year.

    9. same here. and i’m glad to reach the point that i don’t care anymore.

      1. That’s where I’m at. Certainly not getting up in the middle of the night to watch races anymore. That’s saying something after YEARS of doing so.

    10. Agree. You cogently put my thoughts to words. I have been wondering for 10 years what it would take for me to stop following F1. It started with refueling in ’94 and has just slowly crept up on me. I think the real demarcation point was the rigged championship in Abu Dhabi though. That and all the gimmicks have finally put me off. I don’t necessarily see it as Americanization since it has been happening a long time, but Liberty has definitely accelerated F1’s demise in my eyes.

  3. some racing fan
    22nd February 2023, 2:51

    You all should check out Jackie Stewart’s review of the Lotus 100T. He thoroughly trashed it- one quotable line he had was “the Honda turbo V6’s relationship to the Lotus chassis was like an angry power unit mated to an unfriendly chassis”. Lotus had gone back to using a normal suspension after they had used an active suspension in the ’87 99T, and apparently Lotus got all this incorrect aerodynamic data while it was in the wind-tunnel pre-season.

    1. I do wonder why teams let him drive their cars for that series (was it Speed TV?). I think Jackie could be described as someone ‘who says what they think’. I remember him having a go at Benetton for their turbo-lag in 87′. If you invited him over for dinner he’d probably start criticising the curtains. I was never entirely sure what the teams got out of it other than a telling off.

    2. Would have been a winner with Senna in it
      (but that kind of sums up how Lotus went off the rails)

    3. It was a gorgeous car though. Piquet’s motivation was shot by then and Nakajima was only there for one reason.

  4. COTD

    as important as a dinosaur bone to an archaeologist.

    Possibly but more important to a paleontologist.

    The difference between archeologist and paleontologist stems from the difference between archeology and paleontology. Archaeology and paleontology are historical sciences that deal with the past. Archeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts whereas paleontology is the scientific study of fossil animals and plants. Thus, the main difference between archaeologist and paleontologist is the fact that archaeologists study human history whereas paleontologists study fossil animals and plants.

    1. Is that you, Ross Geller?

      1. No @sonnycrockett just a nobody who knows the difference between archaeology and paleontology, and that avian fauna should be excluded when talking about the extinction of dinosaurs.
        I must admit though that Winton is an interesting area.

  5. With everyone whining about DRS (including Keith), I genuinely wish they’d find the race with the most overtakes last year, and disable DRS for the entire weekend at that event this year.

    And then let’s sit back and enjoy the parade.

    I don’t think we can get rid of it yet– Tune it a bit, tweak it here and there, but I don’t see competitive racing without it. The current cars are large and heavy, and many of the tracks are based on stop/start mechanics. Without DRS, I don’t see people catching up at the end of the straight to make an overtake.

    1. So basically the 2022 regulations completely failed as one of the key goals was supposedly to create racing without the need for silly artificial gimmicks that create boring, unexciting skill-less passing rather than proper racing & genuine exciting overtaking.

      DRS is nothing but quantity over quality & does nothing to improve the quality of the racing or exciting/memorable overtakes.

      I mean name a single DRS created overtake that was actually exciting or memorable and compared to any of the great genuine overtakes from the past?

  6. And i thought only Mercedes had the E10 fuel problems (lack of Power) but seems Honda had other problems.

    “But as a result, the internal load to the engine increased significantly compared to the previous year and so reliability was severely compromised. As a result, several problems surfaced during the 2022 season and we have been working to address those problems for this season.”

    So that was the problem as we heard nothing at all about Honda’s reliability due the fuel. Coming out means they solved the problem?

    1. None of them had reliability problems to do with the fuel, per-se. E10 fuel just delivers less energy per litre due to the changed mixture, so the engines have to work a bit harder to deliver the required power for the same amount of fuel burnt, which itself increases fuel consumption, induces engine wear and ultimately reduces reliability.

      Mercedes issues last year were just compounded with their more extreme bouncing, which was damaging the equipment.

      1. someone or something
        22nd February 2023, 12:00

        None of them had reliability problems to do with the fuel, per-se.

        Oh, but they did. The double DNF in Bahrain was directly caused by an underestimated property of E10, which is the formation of bubbles of gas at lower temperatures than with purer mixtures of gasoline. It became relevant when the fuel tanks started running low. Those bubbles stalled the engines’ fuel intake, if I remember correctly, ending both Red Bull drivers’ races.
        So that was one rather significant issue they had to manage from the very start of the season, and I’m sure there were others that were less obvious, that didn’t lead to DNFs, but had to be circumvented somehow.

  7. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    22nd February 2023, 9:32

    On race day ORBR had a clear advantage over Ferrari. If ORBR had their engine turned down a bit like Ferrari then it could possibly be this season will be a repeat of last.

  8. Oriol Servia has it right. If you have to have overtaking/defending assists then at least limit them and make it tactical, so it becomes part of the racing. Not really practical with DRS, but with any other sort of car boost it would work.

    1. The leaders tend to be able to save more ‘boost’ though in IndyCar, so they only maintain their advantage. I detest the IndyCar system as much as DRS. The added strategy doesn’t really make it better. I am not sure why it’s held in such high regard.

      1. DRS at least removes (in some cases) the ability for the defending driver to simply match the push-to-pass of the attacking driver.

        Push to pass isn’t a terrible system, but it’s a gimmick, just like DRS.

      2. The good thing about P2P which makes it miles better than DRS is that everyone starts off equal in terms of how much they can use it & it’s then down to the drivers to decide when/how/where they use it. With DRS drivers are told how/when/where to use it die to the regulations with gaps & zones so there’s no skill or strategy to it, They just push a button when they hear a beep. P2P is far more in drivers hands with some actual strategy behind how it’s used. It’s far more dynamic, Far more interesting & creates far better racing.

        Additionally unlike DRS it doesn’t really create easy push of a button drive-by highway passing as it’s easier to fine tune so thats it works purely as an assist rather than a passing device. And with a car ahead able to use it to defend it also gives us far more competitive side by side fights to the braking zones.

        If all you want is quantity over quality then stick with DRS. But if you want some actually better racing thats more down to drivers & doesn’t create slam dunk easy highway passing then they should go with P2P which has worked well in every series i’ve ever seen it used in.

        1. I am not a fan of either. Also, not everyone starts with the ‘same’ because depending on where you are gridded and who you are racing impacts how you use it. And when in shakes out often the person in P1 tends to have a ton left over and thus negatively impacts racing.

          Its something I hate to factor in as a viewer and its just as repulsive as DRS. But I am a karter, and my sport is superior from a racing perspective on all counts.

  9. max had a crazy adv in the straights we all knew that

  10. Yup was obvious redbull had a silly advantage there car was a rocket on the straight 7 tenths behind a redbull with DRS? Good luck passing. Redbull on other hand just wave them bye, drs or no drs there car was passing cars halfway down the straight but Ves fans wont admit that only Lewis has a better engine

  11. Lewisham Milton
    22nd February 2023, 21:42

    How about a 140-character limit on comments? (I know it’ll never catch on)

Comments are closed.