Honda has credited the environment of Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso for the improvements in the performance side in 2019 F1 season.
Red Bull’s decision to use Honda as their engine supplier may have surprised many in the early stages, but in current scheme of things, it seems proven to be the right choice for the outfit, especially with the results in the 2019 F1 season with wins and podiums.
Not only the Red Bull senior team but also Toro Roso has had multiple podium finishes – albeit with a bit of luck – but their straightline pace has improved certainly in recent times as can be said from the results in the F1 Brazil GP at Interlagos.
It is still not excelling or beyond Mercedes and Ferrari but they are certainly on their way to be on top. Honda’s Masashi Yamamoto has credited the freedom in the working environment as one of the reasons for their success within F1 in 2019.
“Overall I think working with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, these two have been able to offer an environment which is very easy for Honda to work in,” said Yamamoto. “Just in the pure mutual objective of moving forward and winning in racing, I think the combination of these three parties/members is turning out to be very good.
“We get the feeling that we’re partnering with really good teams. If you look at the overall [results so far], Max has been on the podium seven times [along with couple of podims for Toro Roso], so I think its fair to say it has indeed been a good season overall for us.
Going into more details of some of the key moments in the 2019 F1 season, Honda highlighted the learning points and landmarks, which kicked-off in Australia with their first hybrid podium, then first win in Austria and first double team podium in Germany.
“From the first race our objective was to secure podium finish,” said Yamamoto. “To be honest there was so much hard work done by the Honda members to get to that stage, that that third position we got in Australia made me really happy.
“I think the takeaway [from Austria] was that we were finally able to see the potential of the Red Bull, Honda and Max combination, and that from that point onwards it really increased the motivation of the Honda mechanics and engineers.
“And then, of course having Max win at Germany was [also] big, but the fact that a Toro Rosso came in third and having the two teams on the podium, for Honda it showed that both team members grew in strength, and that things were progressing well.”
After the disaster with McLaren since the return in the hybrid era, the Japanese manufacturer had a quiet run in 2018 which was much needed for all the improvements in 2019. With stable rules in 2020, Honda could just make it a three-way F1 fight.
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This story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani