Speaking at today’s reveal of the AlphaTauri AT02, Honda’s (F1) technical director, Toyoharu Tanabe revealed some of the differences between the new unit and its predecessor.
“In order to improve power and reliability, we have made modifications to the ICE, turbine and ERS,” he said. “This is our third year with AlphaTauri and in order to improve as a whole, we have also improved the installation and packaging of the entire PU.
“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were going to introduce a new PU for this year,” he continued, “however, given all the difficulties and restrictions because of the long F1 shutdown, combined with the European lockdown and delay in parts supply, we had decided to postpone it to 2022.
“However, taking into account the decision announced in October, that Honda would leave the sport at the end of 2021, we reassessed the situation and changed our plan again to reintroduce it in 2021.
“It was very tight timing to make this change,” he admitted, “but we managed to bring forward the development and preparation programme. At Honda, we felt that we really wanted to use all our technical know-how before leaving the sport.
“On the dyno the numbers we have seen match what we expected,” he revealed. “Let’s see how competitive we can be on track in the actual races.”
Referring to last week’s confirmation that Red Bull is to buy Honda’s technology, he said: I think it is the right thing for Honda to do, considering our relationship with Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing, and how much Honda has benefited from those partnerships.
“It also reflects the importance of our role and history, as part of the world of Formula 1 over several decades. So, I am glad that Honda has been able to help the two teams and the sport in this way.”
Check out our AT02 reveal gallery, here.