Bahrain GP: Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley to use modified Honda engine parts
Honda update MGU-H and turbocharger after Gasly's Australian GP retirement
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 13/12/18 2:23pm
Honda will introduce a modified MGU-H and turbocharger on Brendon Hartley's and Pierre Gasly's Toro Rossos at the Bahrain GP after the latter's engine failure in Australia.
Gasly was forced to retire just 13 laps into the F1 2018 season-opener which marked an early setback to the new Toro Rosso-Honda partnership after the Japanese manufacturer's power unit had offered encouragement during winter testing.
Toyoharu Tanabe, technical director of Honda F1, revealed the internal combustion engine (ICE) on Gasly's car had been damaged after an issue with the MGU-H and turbocharger.
Gasly requires a new ICE following the damage caused in Melbourne, while the modified parts will be used on both cars as a precaution.
The changes will push Gasly and Hartley close to a grid penalty already, with only three of each engine component permitted per car this season before a demotion.
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"Replacing components for the second race is obviously a difficult decision and not ideal, given that the number of Power Units and ancillary components is now limited to just three per season," said Tanabe.
"However, we believe this is the right way forward and we will continue our development in order to ensure the same issue does not reoccur."
Gasly convinced Honda have "big, big plans"
Honda are in their fourth season back in the sport and were much maligned during their ill-fated three-year spell with McLaren, that partnership racking up 43 race retirements and a best finish of fifth.
Despite showing improved reliability and pace during pre-season testing, the Honda power unit disappointed in Australia with both Gasly and Hartley failing to get out of Q1 while Hartley was last of the drivers to finish.
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But Gasly remains optimistic that Honda have promising upgrades to come and believes they will want to prove their doubters wrong in 2018.
"On their side they are pushing flat out because they really want to show everyone they can do proper engines," the Frenchman said, via Motorsport.com.
"And in terms of the development already they are pushing flat out and we can see some really positive progress.
"We are pushing to have as many upgrades as we can, but of course we know we only have three engines so we need to see exactly when is the best time to bring them.
"It's all going well, but we also need to give them [Honda] time because it's Formula 1 - they are all pushing: Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, they are all pushing and improving all the time.
"For sure they [Honda] cannot recover everything in only three or four months, but in terms of medium to long-term collaboration I think they have a big, big plan ahead, and at the moment they are doing the right things and really pushing hard."