Honda to introduce Spec 3 power unit at French GP

Pierre Gasly in action for Red Bull

Honda is set to introduce its Spec 3 power unit at this weekend’s French Grand Prix, as it continues on its aggressive development path, with both Red Bull drivers to run the upgraded specification.

Honda accelerated the introduction of its Spec 2 power unit, introduced in Azerbaijan, after a minor quality control issue was detected with its Spec 1 during practice in China.

The marque, which supplies Red Bull and Toro Rosso, is set to deliver Spec 3 for the upcoming event at Paul Ricard, a week before Red Bull’s home event in Austria.

Honda says the main work regarding Spec 3 has focused on the Internal Combustion Engine and turbocharger.

Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly are set to avoid grid penalties but Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat faces a demotion, having already reached his 2019 allocation. His Toro Rosso team-mate Alexander Albon is set to take on Spec 3 at a later event.

Honda’s alliance with Red Bull has enabled the manufacturer to enjoy its strongest results since returning to Formula 1 in 2015, with Verstappen having taken two podium finishes.

The Dutchman also finished runner-up on-the-road in Monaco before a time penalty relegated him outside of the podium positions. 

"At the Paul Ricard circuit we will be running an upgraded Spec 3 Power Unit on Max, Pierre and Daniil’s cars," confirmed Honda F1 boss Toyoharu Tanabe.

"The changes to the previous specification are mainly around the ICE and the turbocharger.

"In this instance, our engineers at the Sakura, Japan R&D facility have worked closely with other departments within Honda, specifically the Aero engine development department.

"Their work and ours has many common technical features. For example, our 2018 update to the MGU-H, which dramatically improved its reliability, came as a result of our collaboration with them.

"In producing this Spec 3 PU, we have updated the turbocharger thanks to the knowledge and technology of the Aero engine department in the area of aerodynamic design, working alongside turbocharger manufacturer IHI.

"Our test bench data shows a power increase over the previous version of our PU, however we know that we have not yet matched the figures from the manufacturers currently leading the championship.

"But it’s a step in the right direction and we will continue our development throughout the rest of the season, calling on the resources of the whole company."

Honda is the first of the four engine manufacturers to introduce a third-specification power unit in 2019.

Ferrari and Renault both debuted their respective second-specification components in Spain, while Mercedes’ Phase 2 engine was introduced at the last event in Canada.