‘Spec 3’ Honda en­gine a suc­cess de­spite Toro Rosso woes

Autosport (UK) - - RACE CENTRE -

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.

GO­RIA/SUT­TON

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