Q: The past few years have been relatively easy to understand the alignment of forces among the mechanics.
But this year everything is much more complicated ...
Toyoharu Tanabe : The regulations for engines have not changed for five years, so now the difference between the motors of different manufacturers is not so great. We reduced the backlog in the field of reliability, but still remain a little behind the leading manufacturers, we are still inferior to the leaders.
Question: So, you are inferior even to Renault?
Toyoharu Tanabe : Possibly.
Question: In which areas are you behind Mercedes and Ferrari?
Toyoharu Tanabe : It's not just one thing, but the power plant as a whole. It's about the efficiency of the combustion process, friction, lubricants, cooling system ... This is a combination of different technical aspects. If you are in something a little inferior here, and there, and somewhere else, in the end, you seriously lose your opponents.
Question: In which area have you made the greatest progress?
In working with the combustion chamber?
You had problems in this area ...
Toyoharu Tanabe : This is a very complex technology. Last year, we understood a lot, worked with many people and worked intensively in this area to get rid of shortcomings. This is one of the reasons why this year we no longer have problems with this.
Question: After the successful qualification of Pierre Gasley in the Grand prix of Bahrain, many assumed that in the race he would not be so fast.
However, on Sunday he also acted quite competitively.
In the qualification and in the race, the racer uses the energy of the power plant differently.
Now you do not have problems with this?
Toyoharu Tanabe : At least, I hope so! For example, in Baku we had problems using the power plant's power, and Pierre lost a lot of positions on the restart. In general, we do not have serious shortcomings, but we are still inferior in some areas. We continue to learn.
Question: Are the problems with the use of the power plant's energy related to the software or the components of the power plant?
Toyoharu Tanabe : And with that, and with the other. Honda specialists who work in the race must understand how to better use the components of the power plant, how to control the energy consumption, how to communicate with the engineers and pilots of the team. This is a very important part of our work on the track. Of course, we do not have enough experience - both Honda and Milton Keynes - and we do not fully understand what the components and systems of the powerplant should be, so that it is as efficient as possible.
Question: What changed after 2017, which allowed you to achieve such progress?
Or is it in your new partner?
Toyoharu Tanabe : We work very closely with Toro Rosso. But, in my opinion, with McLaren was the same. Is that now we have drawn conclusions based on the experience of past years.
Question: Do you have more freedom this year?
Toyoharu Tanabe : The fact is that we started cooperating very late with our current partner, so we had to make quick decisions in order to prepare for this season. But everyone in Toro Rosso readily accept our offers. However, I did not participate in this project in previous years, so I can not compare. Yes, we were given freedom, but we had very little time to prepare for everything. The team already had a car, and we have a power plant, and we had to unite all this.
Q: It is expected that you will bring a lot of new products to the Canadian Grand Prix.
In which areas will you refine the power unit?
Toyoharu Tanabe : Basically, modernization will touch the internal combustion engine.
Question: Do the components of the powerplant, which relate to different versions of it, fit together?
Toyoharu Tanabe : In general, they are suitable. But we really have to think about the right balance between the internal combustion engine, the turbine, the MGU-H and MGU-K motor generators. Upgrading parts of the power plant separately is not so easy.
Q: After the problems at the beginning of the season and the Brendan Hartley crash in Barcelona, you may need to adjust the schedule for replacing the power plants.
Does this give you more freedom in developing new products?
Toyoharu Tanabe : During the season, we constantly deal with issues of reliability and efficiency, and when we feel that the next version of the power plant suits us, we will discuss with the team where and what is better to implement.
Question: Obviously, you can not comment on the negotiations with Red Bull Racing.
But technically, would it be better if Honda had more customers?
Toyoharu Tanabe : The more engines we produce, and the more partners we have, the more data we get. Of course, this helps in the work. Last year in the American IndyCar series, our engines stood on 13 cars, and all the riders who spoke to them collected data for us. Although we can not say that in IndyCar we get six times more information than in Formula 1 ...