In 2018, the RB14 with its Renault engine suffered 11 retirements in total (Riccardo 8, Verstappen 3). The team and its drivers were disappointed with their engine. However, Riccardo made a bold move of shifting completely to the Renault team in 2019. Now Red Bull was in dire need of a good engine to compete. Then came Honda with its Honda RA619H, 1.6 L (98 cu in) direct injection V6 turbocharged engine limited to 15,000 RPM. What strategy Redbull is working on with this engine change?
The development in the Honda engine is quite unseen and magical when compared to Renault. The most important and welcome development is the engine reliability. The new Honda engine can last upto 7 weekends i.e., 5000 to 6000 kms which will give Red Bull a grid penalty free campaign.
Monaco GP was evidence for the roaring engine of Red Bull. Verstappen gave a neck to neck competition to Hamilton. Although it missed P1 in Monaco, it outperformed both the Ferraris and one Mercedes which speaks a lot about its performance and reliability.
A constructor can change his engine 3 times in a season. If it exceeds the limit it will lead to grid penalties. In the previous grand prix Red bull continuously faced quality control issues. This year it is not so. Honda has focused on normalising the engine making it suitable for all tracks on an average level. This will ensure that the season is not skewed due to varying track conditions.
Honda by normalising the engine is stronger that Renault as it is favourable only in few track conditions. Also, the drivers make a lot of difference. Normalising the car means more efforts to be put in by the drivers. With Verstappen showing remarkable progress finishing not lower than P4 in this season so far and Gasly striving hard to compete with his teammate, Red Bull is in a great position this season to stabilise their performance.
However, Constructors Championship or top 2 constructors for this season seems far-fetched as the engine cannot withstand for 9 races which forces it to either get one grid penalty for change of engine or lower performance in few races. This will compromise on the points table.
Road to Glory
With the current engine package and performance, 2020 is a big prize for Red Bull Honda. This season's progress can get them to the Top 2 constructors in the next season. Let's hope that they keep this magical development up and running rest of the season too.Published 18 Jun 2019, 19:52 IST