Honda has readied an updated power unit for Red Bull and AlphaTauri at this weekend’s season-opening Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix.
Engine departments were allowed to reopen at the beginning of June following an extended shutdown period for all of Formula 1 teams, and the respective engine arms, due to the covid-19 pandemic.
With eight races currently confirmed, drivers will not be allowed more than two ICE (Internal Combustion Engines), two MGU-H, two MGU-K and one of each ES (Energy Store) and CE (Control Electronics).
Because the first practice did not begin at the Australian Grand Prix earlier in the year, the permitted power unit usage limits have not yet begun.
Honda’s updated specification is part of a raft of updates that will be available for Red Bull this weekend, including new components that were scheduled to be brought earlier in the year.
“There would have been updates at the first European races at Zandvoort and Barcelona, there would have been further updates for Montreal,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
“So of course all the updates that were in the pipeline prior to the shutdown, plus whatever we’ve learned subsequent to the shutdown, have been implemented to the car so there are subtle revisions all over the car as part of that update process which I’m sure the other front running teams have also done.
“We also have an engine upgrade as we essentially introduce what would have been engine number two, which becomes our first engine.
“So in all aspects of the car there has been an awful lot of work go into and it’s been a race against the clock to get those updates onto the car since reopening the factory at the beginning of June.”
The Red Bull-Honda axis is entering its second season, having taken three victories in 2019, the Japanese marque’s first since returning to the championship in 2015.
“As we head into our second year of our Honda relationship it feels much more integrated within the team,” added Horner. “We enjoyed a great debut season with Honda winning three races, and of course now we’re looking to build on that.
“They’re ambitious, they share the same ambitions that we do, they’ve been working tremendously hard during the off-season and of course come into this year with higher expectations.
“It’s a key part of the car and a key partner for us as we move forward and look to mount a challenge for championships in the future.”