Red Bull, Alpha Tauri set to take new new Honda PU ahead of Austria
Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri are set for a major Honda engine upgrade as they gear up for the 2020 F1 season start in Austria.
Of the engine manufacturers, few have been able to match the pace of development of Honda. The Japanese company displayed their ability to rapidly mature a power unit throughout the 2019 F1 season and are reportedly set to hit the ground running in 2020 with another upgrade ahead of Austria.
Apparently, the upgrade being brought to Spielberg will bring gains on both the sides of reliability and performance to theoretically assist both Red Bull and AlphaTauri in the early stages of the championship, when it is expected the former may have the edge over their rivals at the sharp end of the grid.
This news comes after major aerodynamic upgrades were announced for not only Red Bull, but its rivals like Mercedes and Ferrari. It also comes as reports surface that the German manufacturer will be bringing a new, reliability-enhancing fuel.
According to the accounts - which come from the official F1 website - dyno numbers for the new Honda power unit are promising, but as Formula 1 also pointed out, its worth noting that it is not yet known how much progress has been made by the other teams.
With that said, significant progress on this front is not expected of Honda's rivals due to the shutdown enforced by F1 that Honda was able to skirt due to a clause in the regulations that states that the shutdown is, to an extent, dependent on local laws.
The one asterik to this is that the days of frozen development on such components must still be observed, and Honda has opted to push these off until later, presumably to make the most out of the crucial opening rounds, all three of which take place at venues that suit the Red Bull car.
As per F1, Honda utilised Article 21.10 of the Sporting Regulations which states that manufacturers' can use the shutdown as per local laws as mentioned above. With Japan not going into a full lockdown, it helped them to keep their Sakura base running.
The tactic is an interesting one, as it seems the team are prioritizing the early races so as to make the most of the natural advantage they have by virtue of the calendar the tradeoff being them having to observe their shutdown in summer, when other teams will be working a full tilt.
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]