Both Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will be hit by early Honda power unit component changes at the second race of the 2018 Formula 1 season after the Japanese manufacturer detected a mechanical problem in Australia.

Gasly saw his Australian Grand Prix ended after just 13 laps due to an MGU-H failure which also damaged his internal combustion engine and turbocharger.

After analysing the issue, Honda's new F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe has confirmed the French driver will move on to his second elements of all three components in Bahrain while his teammate Hartley will also take new MGU-H and turbocharger parts as “a precautionary measure”.

“In Bahrain, Pierre will use a new ICE, MGU-H and turbocharger,” Tanabe said. “The MGU-H and turbo have both been modified, in light of what we learned in the first race.

“Given the problems we encountered in Melbourne, we have decided, as a precautionary measure, to also change the MGU-H and turbocharger on Brendon’s car, fitting the new modified components.”

Due to the tighter F1 engine component rules for 2018, drivers are only permitted a maximum of three engines, MGU-Hs and turbochargers for the whole season (and only two MGU-Ks, energy stores and controlled electronics) which effectively sees Toro Rosso-Honda use up a third of its components just one race into the 21-round campaign.

Tanabe accepts it was a tough call given the potential consequences later in the season with possible grid penalties for exceeding the permitted number of engine components but felt the change was vital to avoid mechanical failure repeats at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Replacing components for the second race is obviously a difficult decision and not ideal,” he said. “However we believe this is the right way forward and we will continue our development in order to ensure the same issue does not reoccur.”

Honda began its new F1 partnership with Toro Rosso at the start of the 2018 season after splitting from McLaren after three years of underperformance and unreliability.

 

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