Yasuaki Asagi, one of Honda’s F1 bosses, believes rival power unit manufacturers could be hiding the true impact of switching to E10 fuel in 2022. Asagi believes the loss of power from the new fuel is likely to have a larger impact than what manufacturers such as Ferrari have previously claimed.
Speaking in a post-season interview with Autosport, Asagi, who is one of the principal architects of Honda’s recent success in F1, said:
“It seems that other companies say it’s about the same but, on the contrary, making such an announcement means that it’s difficult to get the same power as last year. The response to E10 fuel is the largest (faced by PU manufacturers). The engine architecture had already been set (homologated in 2021) so we have made changes to bring out the best performance with E10 fuel.”
F1 is switching to E10 fuel from the 2022 season as part of its larger efforts to become carbon-neutral by 2030. The new fuel is a mixture of 90 percent petroleum product and 10 percent sustainably produced ethanol.
Honda believes that the new fuel will have some benefits in terms of performance, such as greater control over “abnormal combustion”, which could help with reliability. The fuel will, however, also decrease the final power output by an estimated 20 hp.
Honda finalises new PU ahead of F1’s full engine development freeze
Asagi has revealed that the Japanese manufacturer is putting in the final touches to their 2022 spec power unit, ahead of the complete ban over engine development.
Speaking in a post-season interview with Autosport, the Japanese executive said:
“The work on the power unit is almost complete. We [Honda] are aiming for maximum efficiency, but with E10 fuel, the power of the engine will also decrease, and the amount of power generation will also decrease. There are always small details and corrections if there are problems, but if you hadn’t finished the concept or the basics by the end of last year, you would not be in time for the season.”
Honda are confident that their gains over the winter will be enough to bring their PU into power parity with Mercedes and Ferrari. Once the power units are homologated ahead of the season opener, manufacturers are not allowed to modify them in any form unless for safety reasons.
This means getting the best possible spec of PU is crucial to remain competitive not just in the upcoming season but also until 2026, when the new generation of power units are set to be introduced.