Red Bull working with Honda to resolve mysterious start-line stresses
Christian Horner says Red Bull and Honda are working together in an effort to resolve some of the issues that have plagued their starts in 2020.
Throughout the 2020 F1 season, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Honda have been subject to an undesirable trend, born from mysterious and unidentifiable origins. The trend in question? Incessant poor starts that have been troubling both drivers.
Mugello - a race at which three standing starts took place - had numerous examples of this strange phenomenon, the very first being upon the race's initial start, upon which, Max Verstappen, who was quick to react to the race start, was plunged into the middle of the pack, wherein a lap one melee would soon occur.
A byproduct of his bizarre start, it would transpire that the Dutchman would find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, as he became a casualty of the gravel trap wreckage in the first lap. Later in the race, his teammate Alexander Albon also endured a poorer start, albeit not to the same extent.
On the final restart, Albon failed to make ground on third-place Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, instead dropping further behind Racing Point's Sergio Perez. Fortunately, his pace advantage later allowed him to retake all the positions he lost.
This is something which Red Bull F1 chief Horner acknowledges and insists that they are working with Honda to resolve the issue. Horner says it is also to be seen how much the issue can be attributed to the clutch versus the power unit.
"[Verstappen] had a great initial launch, had done the hard bit as he was going ahead of Lewis," he started. "It was enormously frustrating for him because he was up for it, we had a good race car. I don't think it would have been a walk in the park for Mercedes.
"It is something which we need to work with the guys at Honda, we need to replicate these conditions and understand why is it that we are losing power at the start, so it is something we need to work," summed up Horner.
Honda F1 representative Toyoharu Tanabe clarified that Verstappen's issue at Mugello was an anomaly, but gave no answers on the persistent issue that appears to plague their starts. "Max lost a lot of places after the start because of a PU problem and then was knocked out in a mid-field collision that also ended Pierre’s race," he said.
"So, although we are happy about Alex’s first podium with Red Bull, it is very disappointing to have had a PU problem with Max, especially as he had looked to have good pace since Friday. We have already started analysing the problem back in the factory and we will now carry out an in-depth analysis to find the root cause, so as to be in good shape for the second half of the season," Tanabe said.
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida]