The end of the third day of Test 2 in Barcelona saw Honda power units notch up a properly impressive 1,522 laps overall in the back of Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s cars – a feat which the latter team’s rookie driver Alexander Albon has hailed as ‘incredible’.
Honda are set for their biggest F1 season since returning to the F1 grid in 2015, charged as they are for 2019 with maintaining Red Bull’s status as a front-running team alongside Mercedes and Ferrari. And with seemingly no engine issues for either them or Toro Rosso throughout the first seven days of 2019 pre-season testing, Albon was unequivocal about the Japanese company’s achievement.
“The mileage has been incredible,” said Albon following his final day of testing in the STR14. “Other than Ferrari, I think we're really up there. I can feel it [in my body] I can tell you that! But yeah, it's been good.
“Coming into testing you always want to get the most mileage as possible and we’ve done that. So it’s been a lot of learning and getting comfortable with the car – something I wouldn’t have been able to do if we weren’t reliable.”
Albon ended his Thursday with the second fastest time of the day, after becoming the first driver of pre-season testing to set a sub 1m 17s lap around Barcelona. And the Thai driver admitted that he would leave Spain very pleased with his collective four days’ work at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya behind the wheel of the new Toro Rosso.
“Overall, we’re in a good position with the car and there’s been no nasty surprises,” said Albon. “There’s still a few things we need to tick off tomorrow before we finish testing, but it’s been a successful pre-season test as we were able to trial many things to see what works well for us. It was a great job by the team to get a good baseline for the car so that we could build on it throughout the two weeks.”