Toro Rosso boosted by Honda engine upgrade for Canada
Pierre Gasly’s fine seventh place on the tight and twisty streets of Monaco lifted Toro Rosso above Haas in the constructors’ standings and provided further evidence of the Italian team’s budding relationship with power unit supplier Honda. Achieving a similar result at the power sensitive Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve this weekend was always going to be a tough ask, though Honda are hopeful that an engine upgrade will provide a welcome boost for Gasly and team mate Brendon Hartley in Montreal.
With its circuit made up of short blasts linked by tighter corners, Canada is traditionally a race where manufacturers like to introduce power unit modifications because the benefits are more keenly felt. And heading into the weekend Honda have confirmed that both Toro Rosso drivers will have access to a new-spec version of their RA618H unit for the race, with changes predominantly to the combustion engine (ICE).
"We are introducing an updated PU for this event, fitting it to both cars," said Honda Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe. "The updates are mainly to the ICE, focusing on improving performance.
"The Montreal circuit is known for its long straights, where over 60% of the lap is spent at full throttle. There are slow corners after the long straights and this means that good driveability is again important as is rapid turbo response.
“All these features mean that the power unit is one of the key elements here, which is why it has traditionally been the venue for engine manufacturers to introduce updates.
"Energy deployment is tricky and fuel consumption also needs to be monitored carefully. The Safety Car has been a feature of many Canadian Grands Prix, so we need to be ready to react and make the right strategy calls in order to have a good result."
With Red Bull boss Christian Horner saying after Monaco that a final decision on Red Bull's 2019 engine partner is 'a month or so away', and with current Red Bull power unit provider Renault also set to introduce an upgrade package for Canada, Toro Rosso's progress will no doubt be tracked very closely by their sister team...