The jury was out as to whether Red Bull-Honda would be a match made in heaven, but the early signs are promising after the Japanese units ran well and reliably in the back of the new RB15 throughout the first four-day pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya…
Honda struggled with reliability and performance throughout their three-year marriage to McLaren but improved in both areas last season when they joined forces with Toro Rosso.
And they appear to have taken another step, having also taken Red Bull onboard, with the two teams completing 957 untroubled laps between them, as Renault's Nico Hulkenberg topped the times on the final day.
It’s no wonder Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly was so pleased, when speaking to reporters after running on the fourth and final day of test one.
“I think it’s really good,” Gasly said of Honda’s performance. “Looking at Toro Rosso, they have been really fast with the Honda engine and we are happy with it as well.
“There is still some work to be done but I think Honda did a really good job over the winter. And there are still a few things to come next week but the first four days have been really good.”
RED BULL: 2019 F1 Team Profile
Honda chief Toyoharu Tanabe was equally pleased with how the engine has responded this week. “It was encouraging that we got through all our planned programme with both teams,” he said.
“As for today, everything went smoothly and we acquired a good amount of data. It’s the first time in the hybrid era that we are powering two teams and at this test, we learned a lot in terms of how to operate with them both.
“There were no major issues with the power units throughout this test. We will now spend the next few days analysing all the data we have acquired here, in order to move forward with development in the final four days of testing next week prior to the first race in Australia.”
Red Bull didn’t trouble the overall laptimes, with Gasly and team mate Max Verstappen ending the week’s combined lap time chart in 16th and 17th respectively out of 21 drivers. But that didn’t concern Gasly.
“It was a really productive day, we managed 146 laps, a lot of long runs, a lot of tests done for the team,” he said. “The overall feeling for the car is really good even if it doesn’t show it on the lap times. We are testing and we know what we’re doing so I’m pretty happy and there a lot more tests coming next week.”