Red Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner says engine partner Honda is “quite happy” with its winter progress ahead of the 2020 season.
Honda became Red Bull’s engine supplier at the start of 2019, with Max Verstappen scoring victory at the Austrian Grand Prix – the first win powered by the Japanese manufacturer since 2006.
Verstappen would go on to end the year with three wins and finish third in the drivers’ championship, marking Honda’s most successful season since returning to the sport in 2015.
When asked by Autosport about Honda’s engine development over the winter, Horner said there had been positive feedback.
“They look quite happy,” Horner said.
“The engine made constant progress throughout last year.
“This latest engine is the next step in that evolution.
“They’ve done plenty of mileage on their dynos.
“We’ve obviously been working very closely with them and the integration of the engine into the chassis.
“They share that motivation and desire of competitiveness and to really build on the three wins that they achieved last year, and all the other stuff that came with it.
“They’re very, very focused on making that next step.
“The turnaround that they’ve achieved has been phenomenal, when you consider where they were five years ago to where they are now.
“That’s hugely impressive.”
Honda endured three difficult seasons blighted by reliability issues and a lack of performance when working with McLaren from 2015-17.
McLaren and Honda ultimately parted company, with the latter linking up with Toro Rosso for 2018, paving the way for Red Bull to switch from Renault to Honda for the 2019 season.
Honda drew much closer to the performance of its rival power unit manufacturers through 2019 than in previous years, giving Red Bull the opportunity to fight with Mercedes and Ferrari regularly by the end of the season.
Verstappen said Honda had met all of his expectations so far, giving him confidence of continued progress with its engine through 2020.
“I was really excited to start working together, and I haven’t been disappointed. I really enjoy it,” Verstappen said.
“They’re very focused and I think the steps they made throughout the season were very good.
“Of course as a driver you always want more, but they’re the same: they always want more.
“And I think towards the end of the year, it looked very competitive.
“I think we were pretty close to Mercedes, as you can see, Brazil for example, the drag race between Pierre [Gasly] and Lewis [Hamilton].
“With Ferrari, I don’t know. I think there’s still a bit ahead of us.
“But I think throughout the winter now, [Honda] made some really good steps.
“We’ll find out what the others have done, because they will also improve, and I hope we made bigger steps than them.”
Published at Wed, 05 Feb 2020 16:39:45 +0000
GT World Challenge series promoter SRO Motorsports has has donated fines incurred during the 2019 season to a selection of charitable causes.
Six projects including a movement to continue the legacy of the late Maria de Villota and the rebuilding of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris will benefit from support from SRO, which organises series for GT3 and GT4 cars in the US, Europe and Asia, as well as the Intercontinental GT Challenge and FIA Motorsport Games.
Spanish racer De Villota, who represented Atletico Madrid in the football-themed Superleague Formula championship between 2009 and 2011, died in 2013 at the age of 33 as a result of neurological injuries sustained when her Marussia Formula 1 car hit a lorry’s tail lift at Duxford Aerodrome in July 2012.
The daughter of ex-Formula 1 racer Emilio, Maria recovered sufficiently after her accident to raise money for charitable causes prior to her death, and the work of the Legado Maria de Villota was highlighted by then Bentley factory driver Andy Soucek at the final round of last year’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, where money was raised for the Fundacion Ana Carolina Diez Mahou.
SRO group founder Stephane Ratel pledged last April to donate €50,000 towards the reconstruction of Notre Dame after it was ravaged by fire.
Other causes that will receive support are The Womanity Foundation, which seeks to create equal rights and opportunities for women and girls across the globe, French brain and spinal cord injury foundation ICM (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière) and autism awareness advocacy group Amouti Autisme and Enfants Copilotes, which gives passenger rides on trackdays to disadvantaged children living with medical problems or from deprived backgrounds.
Prior to last weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hours, the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, SRO also pledged to donate $5 AUD (£2.60) for every racing lap completed by entries nominated to score Intercontinental points towards the Australian Lions Club Foundation National Bushfire Appeal.
Published at Wed, 05 Feb 2020 16:13:05 +0000