Toro Rosso know they have a big battle on their hands to finish P8 in the constructors’ championship this season – and in a bid to regain that position from rivals Sauber, engine suppliers Honda have opted to revert to their Spec 3 power unit for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Japanese manufacturer first introduced the new spec engine during practice in Russia, before running it at their home Grand Prix in Japan. They then made “minor modifications” to the unit in the United States, before opting to switch back to an older power unit last time out in Mexico.
Explaining that Mexican Grand Prix decision, Honda’s Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe said they ‘were not sure’ if they would use the Spec 3 engine again this year. But after inspecting the issue they encountered pre-Mexico, their concerns have been overcome and they will revert to the new spec power unit for the remaining two races of the season.
That means Pierre Gasly, who has taken engine-related grid penalties at the last two Grands Prix, and Brendon Hartley will both be armed with more power and an upgraded Toro Rosso aero package this weekend. And Red Bull-bound Gasly is confident that the upgraded package in Brazil will help the Italian squad, who trail Sauber by three points, deliver a positive performance in their quest to keep the pressure on their Swiss rivals.
“It’s good. There are a lot of positives ahead of the weekend,” said Gasly. “We will not take any penalty which is going to be really good because the last few races have been tough starting from the back of the grid.
“That put us in a difficult situation to score points. Now we come to two crucial races for us with the team fighting for eighth place fighting with Sauber.