In the high-stakes world of Formula 1, every fraction of a second counts. And as the sport gears up for the 2023 campaign, tensions are running high over potential power gains resulting from reliability fixes.
Despite an F1 power unit freeze in place since last year, rumors have been swirling that some car manufacturers have found ways to boost their engines’ horsepower through such fixes. And with the season’s start just around the corner, all eyes are on Honda and its plans for Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
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Speaking at a press conference in Japan, Tetsushi Kakuda, Honda’s F1 project leader, tried to assuage fears that Honda had found a significant power boost. But he did acknowledge that Honda’s reliability fixes could help the teams run their engines more efficiently, resulting in faster lap times.
“Improving the reliability is not going to help improve the power of the PU itself,” he said. “By regulation, there’s only a certain type of development we can do with a power improvement. So, talking about reliability, if that can be improved, this is going to help with giving more options from a strategic perspective in how you can use the power unit.”
But with Honda having suffered reliability issues in the 2022 season, Kakuda acknowledged that the company had been working hard to address those problems and optimize its engine’s potential. The stakes are high, and every team is hoping to find that extra edge that will give them the upper hand in the race for the podium. As the pre-season tests get underway, the pressure is on for Honda to deliver.