In preparation for the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship, which gets underway with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, on March 17, all ten F1 teams now have just 8 days of pre-season testing, starting from today February 18 to 21 and from February 26 to March 1. Testing takes place at Spain’s Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.
This year, for the first time in the hybrid power era, Honda is partnering two teams, continuing with Red Bull Scuderia Toro Rosso and also supplying Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. In the short time since the end of last season, Honda has worked very hard to establish an expanded structure to deal with supplying two teams.
“It was a great decision to move to Honda last year at the start of what we hope will be a very long relationship. Even in our first season together, the cooperation between us has been amazing. If there’s something you can’t buy in Formula One it’s time, and the step forward they made in just one year reflects the enormous commitment they put into the project with us. Taking into account the quality of the synergies with Red Bull Technology, the belief in our very high level of in-house technical knowledge, the impressive development trajectory Honda has shown so far, and our strong young driver pairing, make me feel confident we will put ourselves in a strong midfield position in the Championship,’ said Franz Tost, Team Principal, Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda.
“A change of engine supplier represents a significant shift for a team but we are excited and optimistic about the future. In Honda, we feel we have united with a partner whose passion for competition and the technical challenge of Formula One matches ours. It is extremely encouraging to see our designers and engineers working so collaboratively with Honda’s and there is a truly integrated approach between chassis and engine. There has been a colossal effort from both sides over the winter and progress has been made on all fronts. We also have the benefit of Red Bull Technology working with Honda and Toro Rosso on the drivetrain over the last 12 months, which has significantly aided the integration process. However, nobody stands still in Formula One and despite progress being made the real test comes when we measure ourselves against our opponents. We will get snapshots of performance during testing but we won’t really see how much progress has been made until two or three races into the season. The objective is to be more consistent across all circuit types and hopefully with more horsepower than last year, we will be able to reduce the gap to our rivals. If we can accomplish that then we know we have a team – at the track and at the factory – capable of delivering victories and ultimately championships. We do however have to be realistic about the immediate road ahead and we don’t expect overnight success – although I’d happily take it! There will be weekends of good progress but also, given the parameters of the engine rules, there will be times when we will encounter difficulties too. Nevertheless, we are confident that the enormous potential we see in this partnership will deliver consistent progress,” said Christian Horner, Team Principal, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
“The start of the Formula One season is just around the corner and today we begin the final part of our preparation, with the first of eight days of testing at the Barcelona circuit. Needless to say, this will be a very important year for Honda as we embark on our fifth season running under the current PU regulations. Last year, we began a new partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso, with whom we have established a very good relationship. We achieved some encouraging results, which demonstrates that we made good progress.
However, last year also showed that there was still a gap between us and the top PU manufacturers, in terms of both reliability and performance. This year, we also start a new partnership with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. They are one of the top teams and are multiple champions, therefore it’s natural that we feel we are under increased pressure. However, that will only inspire us to fight to do better and achieve stronger results with both the Red Bull teams. Our priority for this season is to close the gap to the front runners, with the target of helping both our teams to achieve better results than they did last year.
Specifically, in this test, we will be aiming to collect as much data as we can, to be as well prepared as possible for the first round in Australia in mid-March. Finally, I wish to thank our fans for all their support, in the hope of giving them more good moments to celebrate this year. I want to assure them that we will be pushing as hard as we can,” said Katsuhide Moriyama, Chief Officer for Brand and Communication Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.