Honda: from laughing stock with McLaren to title contender with Red Bull Racing

21-09-2021 12:21 | Updated: 21-09-2021 13:37
F1 News
Honda: from laughing stock with McLaren to title contender with Red Bull Racing

Thanks to Honda, Max Verstappen can make a serious bid for the championship this season, but the Japanese engine manufacturer had to come a long way to do so. While Renault drew the ire of Red Bull Racing and just about every Verstappen fan, Honda did perhaps even worse at McLaren.

Difficult time

For example, during that period Honda repeatedly incurred the wrath of the likes of Fernando Alonso, who complained about the lack of power. "Due to a lack of experience, we had a very difficult time, with dropouts, engine failures and many problems during the race weekends," Tanabe explained, speaking to selected media including

According to Tanabe, the time with McLaren was a difficult time for both camps, but the cornerstone was laid then that will ensure a more successful period with Red Bull Racing in the present: "For the people in the past, it looks negative. They worked very hard but without good results, with engine failures and no power. But now we spring back and have more power, more reliability, more wins. So that gave us a lot of experience, not only for the engineers but also the logistics people and the mechanics. It was a very good experience for them and for their future."


And so although it had to come from afar, Honda can now seriously challenge Mercedes in the battle for the title: "In the past, we analysed our weaknesses and strengths, but especially our weaknesses. We set up some targets of areas we need to improve in order to compete against the Mercedes. This year we put in a new powerplant and the new powerplant included the ICE, to improve our power performance. The result was that the engine is working as expected and the gap between Honda and Mercedes has been getting smaller and smaller in that area."

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