Honda happy, Mercedes setbacks

As we head into he 2020 Formula 1 season, there is little doubt that the evolution of the current Hybrid Power Unit spec is a critical factor for Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda. If the 2021 regulation changes stick with. The current power unit, then finding the right evolutionary path is critical.

To those ends, Honda has been working diligently ever since re-entering F1 as an engine supplier and while those efforts weren’t bearing enough fruit for McLaren, Red Bull seem more than willing to work alongside the Japanese engine maker and give them some time to bring a very competitive evolution of their engine to the back of a Red Bull car.

Are they making progress? According to team boss Christian Horner, they are:

“They look quite happy,” Horner said.

“The engine made constant progress throughout last year.

“This latest engine is the next step in that evolution.

“They’ve done plenty of mileage on their dynos.

“We’ve obviously been working very closely with them and the integration of the engine into the chassis.

“They share that motivation and desire of competitiveness and to really build on the three wins that they achieved last year, and all the other stuff that came with it.

“They’re very, very focused on making that next step.

“The turnaround that they’ve achieved has been phenomenal, when you consider where they were five years ago to where they are now.”

That bodes well for Red Bull because if they can get an engine on par with Mercedes and Ferrari, they have a goo chassis and could be challenging for titles.

Meanwhile, Andy Cowell over at Mercedes tweeted a video that said the team had hit a few bumps in their engine evolution but that this type of evolutionary pain is typical when you are pushing the limits…which Merc is no doubt doing.

The real question will be centered on Ferrari. Last year they had what many considered the most powerful engine and while it would appear they were correct, I still believed Mercedes had the slight advantage overall. I was more than willing to be corrected on that assumption as Ferrari began winning races.

However, after the US GP, Ferrari’s pace seem to disappear and many believe it was because of a regulation clarification by the FIA regarding fuel flow measurement and parameters. Was Ferrari’s pace down to trickery or will their engine return to its winning way in 2020? Can they deliver the most powerful engine on the grid? If they do, will it be married to a chassis that can hustle that power around a track and win races?

Time will tell but suffice it to say, engines are still the biggest element in F1 for 2020 and the team that gets their evolution correct, could find themselves challenging Mercedes for the top spot.

Hat tip: Autosport

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Mercedes have started sandbagging earlier this year.