“We Exceeded Last Year’s Mercedes” – Honda Announce Promising News for Red Bull F1

Published 03/19/2021, 7:40 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


The recently concluded preseason F1 testing at Bahrain saw Red Bull make massive strides in car performance from 2020. This put the struggles faced by Mercedes in the same event in further perspective.  Honda are impressed with the job they’ve done on the power unit and believe it exceeds the 2020 Mercedes engine level.

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The Honda power unit for 2021 has come for great praise with the great pace shown by both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri. All four Red Bull contracted drivers found their respective cars to be responsive and easy to handle. 

That will be sweet music to the ears of Honda as they brought forward the updates they wanted to implement in 2022 up to this season as they leave the sport after the conclusion of the 2021 season. The Japanese company also consulted fuel provider ExxonMobil while incorporating the updates. 

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Honda clawback great edge as it seeks to help Red Bull in a title challenge

The Japanese company is confident that their current power unit far outstrips that of the 2020 Mercedes one. In an interview, Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe confirmed these thoughts publicly.

He said, “I believe we exceeded last year’s Mercedes. It depends on the conditions. But we have no idea how much improvement has been done in this off-season on Mercedes’ side. We will see when we start qualifying. And after the race.”

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 13, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Honda are, however, wary of Mercedes’ penchant for innovation and have exercised caution. Tanabe said, “Last year, we saw a big step in their development. It’s very hard to guess what’s going on and the result of their development. We have no answer yet.”

The Japanese company were happy with how the test went and how reliably the power unit performed in Bahrain. They were happier with the reliability as the power unit withstood the high ambient temperatures of Bahrain. 

Can the Austrian team finally end Mercedes’ hegemony over the sport in 2021?

Red Bull will be fully aware that this is only testing and are aware of the pitfalls of crowning themselves as champs before the season starts.

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They will be happy with the lack of engine problems and the fact that they were able to run their full testing program. They also would have kept a close eye on Mercedes’ problems. 

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Red Bull will hoping to take advantage of the Mercedes’ apparent lack of rear-end stability. The Milton Keynes outfit will be hoping that they are able to maximise the early struggles the Mercedes could potentially face and bag maximum points early on. 

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This would then add pressure on the German outfit and would put them in a position they’re unfamiliar with, that of a chaser. Let’s hope that the 2021 season goes on till the end and there is no predictability to it.

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Ashish Thomas

211 articles

Ashish Thomas is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having followed motorsports since age 5, Ashish holds an enviable knowledge of F1 history. Ashish holds extensive experience in sports writing, having previously worked for SportsQuest and Fansided.

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