Honda’s ominous message for rivals over 2024 Red Bull engine

Thomas Maher
The Honda and Red Bull logos on the side of the RB18. Suzuka, Japan. October 2022

The Honda and Red Bull logos on the side of the RB18. Suzuka, Japan. October 2022

Honda boss Koji Watanabe says the power unit in the back of the Red Bull cars will be improved for 2024, despite the engine freeze.

F1 may be in the middle of an engine freeze, which prevents any performance-related development from taking place between now and the change in engine formula for 2026, but that doesn’t mean the power units can’t be improved.

Through targeting reliability fixes, which are permitted under the rules, subsequent gains in efficiency and power can be achieved – and Watanabe believes the durability of the Honda power unit can still be improved for next season.

本田大调的目标ability improvements for 2024

As a power unit ages with mileage, its performance can suffer through degradation.

Given that teams are permitted to use just three power units and related hybrid ancillaries in 2023, ensuring the power output it can deliver doesn’t degrade over the miles is key to ensuring competitiveness throughout the season.

“In terms of power and performance, we may not improve anything, but in other areas, we can make strides even with this engine,” Watanabe told荷兰电讯报出版.

“At Ferrari, for example, they have developed the engine considerably and Mercedes’ ERS system is also very strong.

“We will also improve our engine for next year in terms of its longevity. So there is definitely something in the pipeline.”

The relationship between Honda and Red Bull, while still hugely successful and cooperative, is evolving through a natural distancing of the two parties, given that Red Bull will swap to work with Ford power for the new regulation cycle, while Honda will switch allegiances to Aston Martin.

With the two sides set to become rival manufacturers, Watanabe said the level of communication about the future technology is non-existent.

“Red Bull doesn’t tell us anything about their engine, and we don’t say anything to them about our development,” he said.

“所以goi已经有一种信息战争ng on at the moment. At Red Bull, they do have some knowledge about our current engine but, ultimately, we are responsible for the development and the whole process.

“Most of the knowledge is with us.

“Until 2025, I hope Red Bull wins everything. And from 2026, we will hopefully be their biggest competitor. Building a completely new engine is a huge challenge, but our goal is also to win a championship in the next era.” recommends

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Honda have ‘no regets’ over decision to leave F1 behind

Red Bull would have preferred to have continued working with Honda – with whom they have just won their second consecutive Constructors’ Championship – it was only due to Honda’s parent company pulling the plug on the F1 project during 2020 that resulted in Red Bull making their eventual switch to Ford.

But Honda’s re-commitment to F1 came too late to reverse Red Bull’s change, but Watanabe said there are no regrets about how the situation played out.

“I don’t regret that decision, which we made in 2020 initially,” he said.

“At that time, in my opinion, it was the right choice. Honda’s management has made climate neutrality a key pillar. For example, to develop the battery of an electric car, we needed top engineers, who at that time were mostly engaged in Formula 1 activities.

“Those have been brought back and a lot of work has been done for the future. The engine regulations from 2026 onwards in the sport will help us stay active here, as the engines will be much more sustainable and about 50 per cent of the power will be electric.

“However, a collaboration with Red Bull was impossible, given their own plans to build an engine. But Formula 1 and our other activities in motorsport have been Honda’s backbone for decades. The very fact that we are active in Formula 1 and have also become champions sets us apart from Toyota, Nissan, and other brands.””

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