Max Verstappen

Arnab Bose

Honda Reveals The Reliability Sacrifice They Made To Help Max Verstappen Become The World Champion

Max Verstappen is the current world champion of Formula One Motorsport. The Dutch won the driver’s championship back to back in two years. After eluding the seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton, to win the coveted eighth title in 2021, Max Verstappen was able to retain the title in 2022 in a dominating style. Max Verstappen won fifteen races in the last season, breaking the record of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel (13) of winning the most number of races in a single season. All the team suffered throughout the season due to the introduction of the new E10 fuel mixture.

As a result of the new fuel mixture, the season where the Dutch became the champion again with a mammoth 454 points, the second-best performance was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with a mere 308 points. Red Bull driver Sergio Perez came third with 305 points. But the preparation process of getting the car ready for each race was not easy for the champion team either.


Compromises With Reliability The Team Had To Make Last Season

Max Verstappen - Honda
Max Verstappen Honda

The engine partner Honda pointed out the compromises they needed to make. The Chief Engineer of Honda, Tetsushi Kakuda, explained how a new Formula One rule actually hampered their reliability a lot last season. Due to the compromises with reliability, the Red Bull team did not have a good start.

Both the Red Bull drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez could not finish the first race of the last season at the Bahrain Grand Prix due to trouble with a fuel pump. The new mixture of E10 fuel is responsible for the fuel pump trouble, according to the Honda Chief Engineer. Mr. Kakuda proceeded to explain, “all our efforts went to recover the losses of performance. It is because of the new fuel mixture regulation.”

Changes Honda Had To Make On RB19 For Max Verstappen & Checo

honda-max verstappen-red bull
Red Bull-Honda

“These efforts put too much pressure on the engine. The internal load was just too much. All these complications led us to compromise with reliability.” Many more problems started to show due to the fuel mix last season. But Mr. Kakuda revealed that they have worked on all those issues and made necessary changes in the RB19 car. Honda’s Chief engineer added that working on the reliability issue helps in sorting out a lot of the other problems. Like the situation with the power units.

Trying to solve the reliability problem gives more options to look at different strategies to deal with the power units. When asked about the pre-season testing, Tetsushi Kakuda explained that the Milton Keynes team is absolutely ready for the tests. Mr. Kakuda feels that they have a better and deeper understanding of the case of power units. This allows them to improve the management of energy and control. Honda engineer added, “we have a better understanding of the electrification technologies. Especially the deployment of MGU-K, which provided us with a big advantage last year.”

Albeit the headquarters of Honda Racing Corporation is back in Sakura. The Honda engineer believes they are ready for pre-season testing. Mr. Kakuda mentioned the team back in the headquarters is giving their best to help Max Verstappen. And hopes the team will retain the title this coming season.