Baku is the fastest street circuit on the F1 calendar – and the Honda-powered teams can count on being just a little bit faster there than they have been previously in 2019, after the Japanese power unit manufacturer confirmed that they’d be releasing their Spec 2 internal combustion engine ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Although the unit – fitted this year to Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s cars – will provide a small power boost, Honda claim that its main improvement is in the area of reliability, after a quality control issue was identified as the reason for Daniil Kvyat’s precautionary power unit change after Free Practice 1 in China.
“This weekend, we will introduce the Spec 2 version of our internal combustion engine (ICE) across all four cars right from the start of the weekend,” Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda Racing’s F1 Technical Director, announced ahead of the running in Baku.
“One of the reasons for bringing it to this race is that we found that Kvyat’s PU problem in China was down to a quality control issue. The main benefits of Spec 2 are improved durability and life and better reliability. It also offers a slight improvement in performance.”
Red Bull in particular will be hoping to make good use of Honda’s upgrade as they look to repeat their 2017 win in Baku and notch up the first victory of the Red Bull-Honda alliance.