Horner says Honda 0.6s quicker than Renault over US GP weekend
Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner has made a startling revelation that the Honda units were about 0.6s quicker than Renault during the Formula 1's US GP weekend on an average.
Honda has been making steady progress in 2018. The reliability has improved to a certain extent while the performance side is improving as well - not yet to the level of Mercedes or Ferrari but catching Renault certainly.
The one lap performance seems there for Honda but in the race, the deficit comes into play slightly. The Japanese manufacturer introduced upgrades on Pierre Gasly's car for practice in US GP but they opted not to use it in the race as they couldn't gather enough data.
Gasly then used the older spec, same as Brendon Hartley for qualifying. The race though didn't go as per the plan as Gasly damaged his car on Lap 1 to finish 14th, while Hartley had a clean run to 11th from the back of the grid.
At the same time, the two Renault drivers ended up sixth and seventh with Max Verstappen scoring a podium - making it three Renault-powered cars in the Top 10. After the race though, Horner dropped a big statement regarding Honda's progression.
As per the Red Bull chief, the Japanese manufacturer was around 0.6s quicker than Renault on an average. He didn't go into the details though, adding that seeing this kind of progress is only encouraging the team for 2019 and beyond.
"It was 0.6s here [at Austin] between ourselves and Toro Rosso, so that's the progress that they [Honda] are making," revealed Horner when talking about Honda and Renault to the media. "The Hondas are 0.6s better than us on an average than what we had this weekend.
"That's tremendously encouraging for next season and beyond. We are [continuously] getting great noises from Japan. What we are actually seeing visibly at the back of Toro Rosso is constant improvement [and] constant progression.
"[The] championship challenger is still a tall order for next year but I think for the next two years we should be really getting into that battle. I think with the Honda power unit making the progress it is - that's put energy into everybody in the factory and the drivers with us."
Since the announcement of Red Bull joining hands with Honda, the team has been quite confident of the progress the Japanese manufacturer are making. For now, the main competition for Honda is Renault as Mercedes and Ferrari are already a step ahead.
[Note: This story was also written by me on Formula Rapida]