Despite First Podium, Honda Still Looking for More After Years of Struggle

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2019 Australian GP
image source: Autosport

While Valtteri Bottas, winless from 2018 emerged as the winner of the season-opener, there was a massive gain for the likes of Hamilton and Verstappen, both of whom opened their account for the season in gaining second and third-placed finishes respectively.

That told, It was pretty impressive to note that Max Verstappen was firing all cylinders in his P3, an impressive season-opening account at the 2019 Australian GP. Isn’ it?

At a time where much of the attention of modern Formula 1 rests on the common narrative- the Hamilton vs Vettel saga- it’s refreshing and thrilling in equal measure to note someone like a Verstappen punching in with a dominant performance.

But does the podium finish for Honda-powered Red Bull really prove much? So seems to be the debate currently being addressed and explored at the conclusion of the 2019 Australian GP.

So first things first.

That Red Bull had to score and vehemently so wasn’t just the demand of the day, rather part of a much-vaunted anticipated change in a sport that’s commonly swinging Mercedes’ way, one would think.

But to that end, the kind of season that Red Bull endured in 2018, thanks to the Renault-powered RB14 was a bit of nightmare, at least from the perspective of a certain Daniel Ricciardo, now Renault-bound.

In fact, so sullen was the mood in Red Bull camp- for much of 2018- owing to the fact that the car was being ‘towed’ (in a way) by an unpredictable Renault engine that of the 21 races he competed in, Daniel race-retired in 8 contests.

That alone explains why the Aussie was so desperate to move out of the not so productive Red Bull car. That Honda, their suppliers for the current season, were to step in, in 2019, was a nightmare scenario that Ricciardo wasn’t willing to endure. After all, he, as Alonso, had seen the recalcitrant and highly forgettable runs that McLaren had suffered.

To that end, that Red Bull, backed by the talent of Max Verstappen ended up on the third step of the podium in 2019’s opening race was, indeed a fine start- was it not?

But truth be told, after having suffered 3 years of hapless runs all thanks to a poor, unpredictable V6 Honda engine, that resulted in McLaren (with Alonso suffering the worst) going from being a legacy into being a forgettable outfit, something had to be fixed.

And here we are.

In lines with their vision to strengthen their current form and continue making giant strides forward in 2019, fine evidence of it being Verstappen’s P3 at Australia, Honda have launched a new Twitter-based #HondaDebrief for 2019. In this campaign, the team have invited fans to comment on its GP weekend, with the idea being to select the best-possible comments.

Users, on the other hand, have urged Honda to ‘keep going’ and urged the Japanese engineers to keep up their form.

Honda also complimented the impressive debut efforts of Alexander Albon at Toro Rosso (Honda-supplied) and the debut race for Gasly under the Red Bull banner.