Honda’s Secret Engine Trick Which Gave Red Bull an Edge Over F1 Rivals

Published 01/05/2021, 2:26 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 13, 2020 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Red Bull partnered with Honda after ending their partnership with Renault at the end of 2018. At the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, the Japanese manufacturer helped claim a podium in their first race with Red Bull. Since then, the pair have worked hard on building a powerful hybrid engine.

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According to a report, the Honda engineers have come up with a solution that provided Red Bull drivers a certain advantage on the low speed driven tracks. The engine management provides Red Bull with a few advantages during the race.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy -Red Bull’s Alexander Albon in action during practice Pool via REUTERS/Rudy Carezzevoli TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

“Honda has decided to use some petrol to improve the performance of the hybrid system.

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“In the release phase, after braking, even if the rider took his foot off the accelerator, the V6 continued to deliver a minimum torque (with only one cylinder?), Allowing the ERS motor generator to get into action, recovering more electricity than the route would allow,” explained the report.

“The greater electricity stored in the battery has made it possible to increase the time in which the MGU-K is able to deliver the approximately 160 horsepower over the course of the lap, also shortening the recharge times of the system”

However, this has two negative effects. Primarily, an added consumption of fuel and, as a result, a greater loaded weight at the start of the race. Given that Honda consumes less fuel than the other F1 power units, they have allowed themselves the added luxury.

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Red Bull also benefits from a greater flow of exhaust gases

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Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – Red Bull’s Alexander Albon in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Jorge Guerrero

Red Bull are the closest Mercedes competitors on the track. The team is constantly working towards finding more pace and closing in the gap to the Silver Arrows. Moreover, the tubes below the upper arm of the rear suspension allow for a slight increase of the downforce.

“The performance delta to the advantage of the Red Bull solution must have largely offset the negative effects (more gasoline consumption), so much so that the system has been gradually evolved in the individual strategies to optimize their use and will also be one of the strengths in 2021,” the report predicts.

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Red Bull finished the season in P2 with 319 points. However, the Milton Keynes team will have a stronger driver lineup next season as Sergio Perez joins Max Verstappen. The team will hope to further close the gap to Mercedes next season.

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Ayush Manjunath

586 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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