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For Honda, fighting with the top team of F1 in a true sense, fighting at the top level of F1 will be the first time since the second period of the 1990s when the glory was extremely high.Red Bull's new car RB 15 equipped with Honda's power unit RA 619H will be shaked down at Silverstone on February 13 and will enter the final preparation for the opening of the season in the Barcelona joint test starting on the 18th. I heard the current feelings to Mr. Masashi Yamamoto, head of motor sports, who was ahead of that.
"The season is in a really good shape.It is preparing for the season and it will be an unprecedented season at the present stage Personally exciting, exciting, "I feel like I'm going to have to do this season!" "It's a combination with Red Bull, which is said to boast the best car performance in F1 world, And the finish of the 2019 type power unit RA 619H we made. That brings great expectations. Of course, this is the first time for Honda to fight at the current level of F1 at present, Honda still does not know how to win. That is why I am worried.
"To be honest, expectation and anxiety are 50% · 50%, it is a feeling that it is somewhat positive, I think that we had very good collaboration with Toro Rosso and it was never a bad season, but rather than I thought In that sense, I think that there were a lot of reflections, and I have been experiencing many things until last year, so I'm looking forward to this year (in terms of making the most of that experience) I am looking forward to listening to things The difference between Red Bull and Toro Rosso is so different that it can be felt enough.When making things or thinking, the difference between the top team and anything else is big.Because the original aim is different, the top team has a top team There was a way of thinking and we were able to stand at the same start line for the first time as we were in the second phase, That is an honest place. "
Last year I learned a lot from a new partner Toro Rosso and worked collaboratively with my brothers team Red Bull.
In the development process of the new car RB 15, how to package the car body and power unit is extremely important, but there was no pressing on opinions with each other, and communication for finding "optimum solution" was exchanged. It is not necessary to build the fastest machine, such as --- prides and mentions, but "correct answer". There was a gap between McLaren and the prestigious team and the newcomer, which did not go well. However, with Toro Rosso, the time to spend on machine development was too small and compromise was forced. In that respect, the collaboration between Red Bull and Honda this year seems to have advanced very smoothly.
"Red Bull staff came to HRD Sakura, Tanabe (Toyoharu) in Milton Keynes has gone to the Red Bull factory.Although there is a slight delay from the initial schedule, in the framework of nearly planning we are advanced in.
was like that for the Red Bull Frequently, when I met Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing representative) last week, "I have a little late, always'm fine because it!" had said the (Laughs) They will also be accustomed to such things. "From the Red Bull side, comments that are conscious of" victory "and" champion "are being swept by the media. That as much as Red Bull is also hoping for the 2019 season.
The finish of the car body seems to be superior on the data. In design data of CAD and CFD (electronic wind tunnel), wind tunnel experiment, approximate numerical values such as downforce generation amount and mechanical performance can be understood. If it is reproduced properly even in the actual run on the course, the body performance of RB 15 seems to be quite high.
"As Christians and Adrien (· New Way) say, the car seems to be finished with almost a good feeling, but that is only a story on the data, as we do not know until we really have to run. It is the same as saying "my prospects are bright on the bench" (bitter smile) But it is true that there is no negative story so far, I talked a lot with Christians and a cafe " I was saying the development plan to Monaco, but at the end we were talking with laughing (because we are doing well, it's up to you) (Bitry) " that Honda
What is the development status of the power unit? Red Bull has been using Renault's power unit for a long time, suffering from its power shortage and lack of reliability. Even at the fastest in the car body, there was a difference in power, so there was little opportunity to challenge Mercedes AMG or Ferrari. Switching to Honda, there is a possibility that it changes drastically. Even if I can not catch up with it right away, if the annual development of 2019 progresses according to plan, it is a sufficiently realistic goal. Red Bull is thinking so.
"We are talking about Honda's annual power unit development plan for 2019 with Red Bull, and it will be a conditional story that (if such comments do) Honda will do it (you can win), but they expect that It may be a fact that it is a fact , but that is only a plan, and (Mr. Helmut) Marco said, "Even if it works well on a bench, there are times when it is a real run, so that the point is constantly moving forward Let's chase each other. "The basic design of RA 619H has already been completed, and the actual item has been delivered to the team. This is to run the pre-opening test of Barcelona, the final actual battle specification will be formulated after the test. The higher the power is raised, the more load is applied to the engine, the unexpected part breaks. In order to fight all 21 races with three units, it is necessary to secure the reliability by suppressing power to some extent.
In specification 3 of RA 618 H that we put into the final round of last year, although the power went up, a problem of reliability occurred. However, it has been understood that it was only by attacking it and verifying it with actual war. The problem is how far we can win if we attack this year's power unit and how much we must give priority to power while taking risks.
"After discussing the result of the joint test of Barcelona, we will talk about the opening game.Honda has a way of thinking about Honda, but we have to engage it with Red Bull's idea, we will do that meeting before the opening of the meeting Somewhat, Marco seems to expect power, "Yamamoto, reliability is also important, but it's power first " (bitter smile) Of course, if it breaks from the beginning There is no one who knows but comes to the race.
However, five power units are needed only because the power unit keeps only four races, and even if you receive two final tail penalties, if you can fight powerfully in other races, there is enough winning. Red Bull seems to think so. As I showed it many times last year, Max Velstappen has the arm to recover to the top with outstanding tire management even from the back from the start.
"When thinking about Red Bull's machine package, if you say" You can increase one or two units, "it can be established with it, as the penalty can be recovered sufficiently by the body performance and driver's skill. I do not
want to respect the opinion of the constructor, ultimately, against the data and ideas that we have accumulated, I think that they should lead them.
"Honda has had some conservative aspects since returning to F1 in 2015, but this year it is different. I work with an energetic team called Red Bull and attack aggressively. They have enough technical skills to realize that. After that, Honda just creates a power unit that balances power and reliability, and derives "optimal solution" as a machine package.