Honda have had a great deal of success as an engine supplier in F1. They have powered the likes of McLaren and Williams to a combined 6 Constructors’ Championship titles. After stopping their supply operations in 2005, they returned to the grid in 2015 with McLaren. This year they are set to power Red Bull and its sister team AlphaTauri for one last time before walking away at the end of the season.
Honda earned plaudits last year for building some of the most reliable engines on the grid. Their F1 department’s technical director Toyoharu Tanabe believes their success last year in building reliable engines had its roots sown in 2015.
He said, “After Honda returned to F1 in 2015 we endured some very difficult times, but we also learned a lot and our good reliability last year is down to the lessons learnt.”
Red Bull would definitely want a similar degree of reliability in 2021 as well. The Milton Keynes-based outfit could see this season as their best chance to dethrone Mercedes, as the Silver Arrows seem to be battling obstacles of their own.
But Tanabe is hopeful that they can provide Red Bull the kind of engine they desire. Although reliability may come at a cost.
Honda reveals why their engines have been and will continue to be reliable, putting Red Bull F1’s fears to rest
Tanabe said, “We have changed many things on this year’s PU, but our experience in terms of reliability was applied to this. Performance and reliability are always a very subtle balancing act and we hope to maintain that balance this year.
“We expect to know more once we have run on track, after which we can just make operational changes in terms of how we run the PU.”
Apart from Red Bull’s title challenge, Honda would also power AlphaTauri‘s mid-field challenge. The Faenza-based team have a tougher task on their hand. Despite a having their best season last year, that included a race win, they might find it tough to take the fight to the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren.
Their challenger for next year certainly looks brilliant. Even their power unit seems top notch. However, any podiums or a top 5 finish looks unlikely. Honda will have to pin their hopes on Red Bull and hope that the Austrian team can send them off with a flourish.