Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe says that the Japanese manufacturer’s 2021 engine will be a “mix” of old and new developments.
Tanabe says the 2021 F1 power unit will feature a new internal combustion engine, with the supplementary energy recovery systems utilising a mix of old and new technology. “In the ICE, not everything but pretty much [everything] will be new, updated,” the Japanese engineer began.
“The ERS area, some of the parts will be updated, some of the parts will be carry over from this year. I can say a kind of mix. Some areas [will be] new, some areas [will] carry over, [it will be] a combination,” Tanabe said.
The 2021 power unit from Honda will be the last supplied to Red Bull and AlphaTauri. It is also their last in F1 in the current tenure, spanning from 2015. As they prepare to leave the sport in official capacity, there have been suggestions that the Austrian outfit, without an engine supplier, could take over Honda’s programme.
Some suggested such a move could be made even easier by the presence of a Honda factory in Milton Keynes, but Tanabe says this base is responsible only for the production of the ERS system. Though he admits talks have taken place, he denies that they have come to a conclusion.
“In Milton Keynes, we mainly develop and then manufacture the ERS system area, so the main ICE is developed in Sakura R&D in Japan,” he said. It’s a very complicated situation, especially in Honda Formula 1. The discussion is ongoing, so we haven’t gotten any conclusion yet. We will consider every circumstance in our project,” Tanabe said.
Regarding whether or not he’d consider accepting a position in a hypothetical Red Bull engine programme, Tanabe stated, “If something happens in the future, I will take time to consider carefully, for my future.”
Red Bull is keen to take over the Honda programme, provided there is limitations on development side, which will help them financially. Talks continue to take place behind the scenes, with a formal decision yet to be taken and announced.
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