Honda’s Formula 1 engine development for the 2020 season has been “even better than last year”, according to AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly.

The Japanese manufacturer made impressive gains throughout 2019 as Red Bull and the newly rebranded AlphaTauri outfit benefitted, with both teams hoping to improve on their respective finishes this season.

Gasly ended the penultimate day of 2020 pre-season testing at Barcelona second in the timesheets and just 0.225s adrift of Thursday pacesetter Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking about Honda’s progress with its latest power unit, Gasly said: “They’re pushing as usual. Already last year they made a big step throughout the year.

“This year it’s even better than last year, I’m pretty happy we didn’t have any issue between the two weeks, so it’s quite impressive.

“That’s why I don’t want to say too much, because that’s when you get all the shit, but so far everything has been really great, so we are pleased on this side.”

AlphaTauri has got through the first five days of pre-season testing having used just a single power unit, highlighting its reliability improvements compared to the early years of the V6 hybrid era. 

“The fact at the moment is that we didn’t have any issue, so it’s good,” Gasly explained.

“I don’t know that much about the engines and about all the tests Honda has done but I’m pleased with the reliability. I hope we can make it through [the season without grid penalties].

“As a driver I want maximum performance first but I think they are quite confident for the season. That’s the plan and that’s what we are hoping to achieve.”

Asked how much of a step forward AlphaTauri’s 2020 car is compared to its predecessor, Gasly replied: “It’s always difficult to put a number on it, but the overall feeling it’s that I kind of feel quite similar to last year in the car.

“I think it’s a little improvement, there’s nothing that it’s way better or way worst but I think the overall package is slightly better.”

Gasly logged 139 laps on Thursday in his final outing of pre-season testing for AlphaTauri, taking the Faenza squad up to 225 laps in total and fifth in the mileage charts for the second week of running.

“I think we have a bit more coming, when we put everything together for Melbourne,” he added.

“Overall, I think we have a pretty good car. I think we found some good directions but Melbourne will be a lot different from Barcelona, so I don’t want to get too excited. It was a pretty good test.

“I think as a package it’s a good evolution compared to last year. There are a couple of things that are better, some other things we need to work on, but overall I think we have good potential.

“We pushed a little bit more today and the car seems to behave quite well. I’m pretty happy with the test today.”



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