Honda will bring its latest Formula 1 engine to the French Grand Prix, which will be made available to both customer teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

The Japanese power unit manufacturer has taken an aggressive approach to its engine development this season in a bid to reduce the deficit to current leaders Ferrari and Mercedes, with Honda introducing its first update as early as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Its latest power unit upgrade - dubbed ‘Spec 3’ – will be used by Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, as well as Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. There will be no penalty for the Red Bull drivers, but Kvyat and teammate Alexander Albon have already used three combustion engines, meaning taking on a fourth unit will result in a grid drop.

“At the Paul Ricard circuit we will be running an upgraded Spec 3 Power Unit on Max, Pierre and Daniil’s cars,” said Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.

"The changes to the previous specification are mainly around the ICE and the turbocharger. In this instance, our engineers at the Sakura, Japan R&D facility have worked closely with other departments within Honda, specifically the Aero engine development department.

“Their work and ours has many common technical features. For example, our 2018 update to the MGU-H, which dramatically improved its reliability, came as a result of our collaboration with them.

“In producing this Spec 3 PU, we have updated the turbocharger thanks to the knowledge and technology of the Aero engine department in the area of aerodynamic design, working alongside turbocharger manufacturer IHI.”

With Red Bull’s home race in Austria coming directly after this weekend’s round in France, Paul Ricard was singled out as the ideal venue for the update. Tanabe said Honda’s data points towards an increase in engine performance, though he concedes it is still not enough to match its rivals.

"Our test bench data shows a power increase over the previous version of our PU, however we know that we have not yet matched the figures from the manufacturers currently leading the championship,” he explained.

“But it’s a step in the right direction and we will continue our development throughout the rest of the season, calling on the resources of the whole company."

 

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