‘Spec 3’ Honda engine a success despite Toro Rosso woes
Honda was satisfied with the performance of its upgraded Formula 1 engine in the Japanese Grand Prix, despite Toro Rosso’s failure to convert sixth and seventh-placed starts into points at Honda’s home race. Honda opted not to race the updated engine in Russia the previous weekend after recording higher-than-expected post-upshift oscillations in practice. It addressed the problem at its Milton Keynes base in the week and declared it“a big improvement”after Friday practice at Suzuka. The upgrade played a key role in Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly qualifying sixth and seventh, but they failed to score points due to a poor start and tyre problems respectively. Gasly’s race was also compromised slightly after Honda was stopped from changing the post-shift ignitionretard settings on his car after qualifying. The FIA gave Honda permission to do so, but Honda contests it was then informed on the grid that it needed to change back and does not know why. It is understood that Honda is considered to have not made the change specifically as it was requested, so was told to revert to the previous settings. Gasly had to alter the timing of his upshifts during the grand prix. Honda says the change did not limit the engine’s performance in the race, but wants more information on why the FIA changed its original decision.