Honda say no decision has been made on when they will introduce their engine upgrade because it will mean grid penalties for Red Bull. The Japanese manufacturer are desperate to provide the Milton Keynes-based Formula 1 outfit with a power unit which is capable of competing with reigning champions Mercedes and Ferrari on a consistent basis.
They have already brought in two engine upgrades during the 2019 season with the current Spec 3 unit having remained in place for five races after it made its debut at the French Grand Prix. An upgrade after the summer break will result in Red Bull’s cars being hit with a grid drop, but Honda’s F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe has revealed which race it will be brought in for is still not set in stone.
Red Bull usually fare well at Singapore so it was expected that either the Belgian race, which is immediately after the break on September 1, or the Italian GP at Monza the following weekend would be selected. However, Honda are keen to perform well on home soil in Japan and the engine will several races old if they make the change in Belgium or Italy.
Therefore, they could wait until the Russian GP at the end of September to take a grid penalty in order to go to Suzuka in mid-October with a fresh engine. “We are discussing all the time with the teams and we will decide when we apply a new engine or updated spec,” Tanabe told Motorsport.com. “At the moment no decision has been made yet. It depends on the situation and timing and the result of the discussions with the teams. It’s very complicated.”