General Honda F1 Topic

Post here all non technical related topics about Formula One. This includes race results, discussions, testing analysis etc. TV coverage and other personal questions should be in Off topic chat.
KimiRai
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KimiRai
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Honda - Aston Martin: the assault on F1 2026 begins

In May of this year came, somewhat surprisingly, the news that has rewritten F1's engine set-up: Honda has decided not to say goodbye to the championship series and to bind itself as exclusive partner to Aston Martin. Red Bull, which had been aware of the farewell of the 'Big H' for a couple of years, had taken to building its own engine department by tying up with Ford, which will be responsible for supplying mostly electrical components of the 2026 power unit.

The consequences of Sakura's strategic change were very big on F1. But not only that. It is believed, perhaps wrongly, that Honda was never convinced about the departure and that its hesitations were less real than those publicly displayed. False. The top management of the Japanese manufacturer was so persuaded to say goodbye that they almost disbanded the engine department, which is now being rebuilt. For this reason, anyone who believes that the Japanese are already fully prepared for 2026 is mistaken.

The facility is in the midst of being refurbished and Aston Martin, which has espoused the cause, is more than just a partner as it is also providing capital to bring the facility back to full operation. Work is being carried out on a double time track. The first concerns this season and the two-year period 2024-2025. Honda, Watanabe admitted, is working on the power unit it is supplying to Red Bull despite the current regulatory stakes:

"In terms of power and performance, we are not allowed to make any improvements but we can still make progress in other areas." To support his argument, the executive brought some tangible examples: 'Ferrari has developed the engine significantly and Mercedes' ERS (Energy Recovery System) is also very strong. We will also improve our engine for next year in terms of durability. So, there is definitely more in the pipeline." Honda, in a nutshell, is 'exploiting' Red Bull to further Aston Martin's future growth.

The second time track is the one that invests the future but conditions the present. Luca Furbatto, Aston Martin's engineering director, explains that several technical summits have been held since the agreement was ratified in May. The rounds are constant and regular: the 2026 engine is developing rapidly, there are frequent exchanges of ideas.

The Italian technician explained that the synergy with Honda requires new hires. And not only with regard to the team, which will have to deal for the first time with the design of the transmission that it now buys from Mercedes, but also to reorganise Honda's powertrains department, which had suffered major defections, as already mentioned.

The initial decision to close with the top motorsport series, a revised idea following the simplification of power units that are more in line with Honda's strategic vision, has led to tangible consequences that now need to be responded to. In Japan, they continued to develop until the regulatory freeze of 2022. Even the 2026 projects were not shelved, but a much smaller pool of engineers put their hands on them, responding in structure to the doubts of the top management as to whether they could continue.

Many members of the F1 project were reassigned to the road production division. But it doesn't end there: parts of the facilities have been sold to Red Bull Powertrains. What this says is that Honda is not currently the same entity that allowed the creation of the technical jewel that is the engine that powers Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

It is clear that there is a need to respond to this situation even though CEO Toshihiro Mibe believes that his team will be able to offer great performance from the start. On the same wavelength tunes HRC boss Koji Watanabe, according to whom Honda has not lost much.

Apart from what the plenipotentiaries report, Honda is resorting to a new purchase campaign. Confirmation comes from Tetsushi Kakuda, HRC's Formula 1 project leader, who has made no secret of the fact that we need to push ahead with electric technology and that even on the internal combustion engine side we need to make significant progress to adapt to environmentally sustainable fuels. For this, human resources must be increased and brought at least up to the previous level. And on this path the contribution of Aston Martin, which is investing its own capital to support Honda's adjustment, is decisive.

The bond is so strong that plans are underway to locate part of the production and research at the new Silverstone campus that will be fully operational in 2025 after the team-owned wind tunnel is also inaugurated next year. Honda has been working on the ICE with a single-cylinder engine running on the dyno and has been working on upgraded battery technology to meet the regulatory changes of 2026. For the past few months, it has been doing this in direct collaboration with Aston Martin.

[KimiRai editor's note: In the first guided tours of the new Aston Martin factory by journalists, some already suspected that there was an area in the factory that appeared to be related to engines].

That the motorist is replenishing the team was confirmed by a social message that appeared on X and other platforms yesterday, which read as follows: "To prepare for Honda's new participation in F1 with Aston Martin F1 from 2026, HRC will begin recruiting engineers, technicians and F1 Power Unit staff members in the UK from spring 2024. More details will be published as soon as we start recruiting!"

It should not be inferred from the above picture that Honda is in trouble. There is an obvious technical continuity, there is not the same situation as pre-2015 when everything was new. Sakura is still the current point of reference in F1 and the skills acquired have by no means been lost or ceded to third parties. It is just a matter of rebalancing the department to make it more effective and more adherent to the new requirements.

Kakuda emphasised that they can use the current knowledge for the development of the 2026 power unit. Continuity is a key factor and the presence of some of the members who have made Honda's fortunes is a crucial aspect in laying the foundations for a still bright future. Those involved in the F1 project, while never letting their guard down, have been displaced by the turnaround of the company's top management.

It is as if Honda had played the game of getting itself into trouble. But now the policy is clear and they are working to make up for lost ground. The agreement with Aston Martin should be read in this light. Aston Martin is willing - and is proving it in practice - to put in capital and human resources to create a package that wants to give today's best structured top teams a run for their money.
https://www.funoanalisitecnica.com/2023 ... -f1su.html
Last edited by KimiRai on Fri Dec 22, 2023 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AR3-GP
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If Honda only has a single cylinder prototype at the current time, then they are very behind the likes of Mercedes and RB who are known to have full PUs in operation since the summer.

but then again, it's not like Honda is a new participant. They will scale quite rapidly. Aston Martin are in luck.

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Wazari
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AR3-GP wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2023 8:23 pm
If Honda only has a single cylinder prototype at the current time, then they are very behind the likes of Mercedes and RB who are known to have full PUs in operation since the summer.

but then again, it's not like Honda is a new participant. They will scale quite rapidly. Aston Martin are in luck.
I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday season and Happy New Year!

Do not worry, we are not behind. There are more than one complete ICE prototypes built and running.
“If Honda does not race, there is no Honda.”

“Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure.”

-- Honda Soichiro

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Wouter
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Wazari wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2023 1:54 am
I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday season and Happy New Year!
.
The same to you too @Wazari and a Healthy New Year. 🎄✨🎄
The Power of Dreams!

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BassVirolla
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Wazari wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2023 1:54 am
AR3-GP wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2023 8:23 pm
If Honda only has a single cylinder prototype at the current time, then they are very behind the likes of Mercedes and RB who are known to have full PUs in operation since the summer.

but then again, it's not like Honda is a new participant. They will scale quite rapidly. Aston Martin are in luck.
I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday season and Happy New Year!

Do not worry, we are not behind. There are more than one complete ICE prototypes built and running.
I'm glad to see you coming back to the forum. :D

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FromGP2toWDC
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Thank you for the update Wazari-san. 🎄🎄

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bigblue
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Sad news about Gil de Ferran, seems to have been a genuinely nice guy and intelligent about racing.

NL_Fer
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Interesting two years, since they will create a new UK department for testing , tuning and integration at Aston Martin.

While currently RBPT is doing that role now. RBPT will severe its ties with Honda or split of the team working on the current engine, to prevent info from the 2026 RBPT (Ford) powerunit leaking to Japan.

Alexf1
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Current regulations RBPT and 2026 RBPT companies have been split since May 2022: https://find-and-update.company-informa ... y/14131067

aleshondas
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Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) President Yoshiji Watanabe revealed the initiation of Formula 1 power unit (PU) development for the 2026 season with a collaboration between Japan and the US, incorporating new HRC US engineers.

Honda Performance Development (HPD), established in 1993 for IndyCar engine supply, was renamed to HRC US in December last year, aiming to enhance Honda's global motorsport development capabilities under a unified "one-brand" strategy with HRC.

Despite Honda's F1 withdrawal at the end of 2021, they continue to supply PU components to Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri until the end of 2025 under a technical partnership.

For the next-generation PUs from 2026, Honda plans to collaborate with Aston Martin and establish a base in the UK.

Watanabe disclosed in an interview that HRC US members are already involved in the F1 project, focusing on the hybrid aspect of F1 power units.

The predecessor of HRC US, HPD, has experience in developing hybrid engines for IndyCar, scheduled to be introduced during the current season.

Watanabe expressed expectations that supporting F1 will elevate HRC US's capabilities, with noticeable effects already observed and various learning opportunities identified from working together.

While personnel exchanges between both organizations have commenced, effectiveness has been seen in software updates, despite the current arrangement remaining on a "business trip basis."

Collaboration with HRC US, active in IMSA, could potentially lead to a new entry into the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), although Watanabe emphasized their primary focus on entering F1 from 2026.

Acura, Honda's luxury car brand, currently fields two "ARX-06" cars in the GTP class in IMSA this season, sparking speculation about Honda preparing a pathway for Japanese drivers to compete in the GTP class in the future.

How much of this is true

KimiRai
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