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Yamamoto about 2017: Honda was a racehorse without speed and sensitive to injury

Yamamoto about 2017: "Honda was a racehorse without speed and sensitive to injury"

08-09-2020 12:11 Last update: 12:11


Honda has been getting better and better results since working with Toro Rosso - and later with Red Bull Racing. They have been on the podium several times with Max Verstappen and now even with the B team AlphaTauri. A special moment for the engine manufacturer who has come a long way.

Become a competitor in the short term

In a blog article, Honda's F1 director, Yamamoto, talks about the recent past. "The partnership with them, when her name was Toro Rosso, began in 2018. Until then, Honda was three years back in Formula 1 with zero podiums, let alone a win. We had hit a wall in the development of modern F1 power units, which are extremely complex in terms of both construction and control methods."

"We were the last of the four engine suppliers, but we were able to compete in a short time. The fact that it was developed on time has been an important factor. In 2017, I think that the engine was significantly underperforming its rivals in terms of performance and reliability. The PU is the heart of the car and no matter how good the chassis, if the power of the PU is inferior, you won't win races."

The early years were obviously difficult, and Yamamoto describes it in a beautiful metaphor: "No matter how good a jockey is, if the horse isn't fast enough, he won't get on top of it. At that time (2017), Honda was a racehorse without speed and prone to injury." Then came Toro Rosso who had the 'courage' to enter into a partnership, Yamamoto: "I am still very grateful to them for believing in Honda's potential."

Unique collaboration

"Even after we actually started working together, Toro Rosso has always been open and honest with us. The manufacturer who makes the car and the manufacturer who makes the power steering are often in charge of the overall concept of the car in a 'working team' structure like ours," Yamamoto explains.

But Toro Rosso was different at the time, continues the Japanese: "They always ask us what Honda wants to do and how we think it should be done, and then they go on to develop the bodywork and the PU package to optimise it. In short, Toro Rosso and Honda worked together to build the car step by step. Through this development process, we've learned a lot about technology we didn't know before."

That collaboration is now paying off. The Honda engine is reliable, Red Bull Racing takes podiums very regularly, and Honda has now achieved victory with two teams.

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