Toro Rosso technical director James Key says his team had a ‘super smooth’ start with their new engine supplier Honda and believes they appreciate the freedom they gave to them when it comes to the design and architecture of the new power unit.

In the first three seasons of its F1 return with McLaren, Honda failed to achieve good reliability and power, and the culmination of the pre-season testing was in 2017, when due to the completely new concept of the drive unit, there were serious problems with reliability and power.

McLaren lost their patience and switched to Renault, but Honda surprised this year and worked almost perfectly in Toro Rosso STR13, with most laps from all teams in the first Barcelona test.

“If you look at last year’s situation, it’s a surprise, but since we’ve been working with them for some time, we’re less surprised,” said Key.

“When you look at their infrastructure and how desperate they are to make it work, this is less a surprise to us, of course you never know until you get on the track, but I have to say that there are not any major problems at all.”

“All the minor problems were on our side. They were very involved, attending all our meetings and knowing what is going on, working together to optimize everything.”

“For now everything was super smooth and I’m sure it will continue.”

STR13 uses Toro Rosso gearbox

Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda STR13 F1 2018

Toro Rosso had a difficult task adjusting the new STR13 for the Honda power unit, but also redesigning the gearbox to fit their engines.

Although there was a possibility that Toro Rosso will use McLaren’s last year’s gearboxes that are already match for Honda engines, Key dismissed such a possibility.

“We share some of the internal components with Red Bull Technology, but the oil system is ours, the main casing is absolutely ours, electronics and control systems are also ours.”

“It has to be with different engines because there are fundamental differences in compatibility.”

Toro Rosso gave freedom to Honda

A small team from Faenza became Honda factory team, which put them under positive pressure.

“Our efforts are combined. Design for the next year is already being done.”

“It is a great responsibility, we are looking forward to positive pressures, but it is also a great responsibility. ”

“Our approach is definitely to give Honda the freedom they need to make improvements on their side.”

“We wanted to give them the support and the freedom they need. I have the feeling that they appreciate it because there are a few things they wanted to try and we supported them. We did not ask them to do something particularly difficult for the chassis.”

“We told Honda to tell us what they wanted to do. We will make compromises and see what is the best package because in the end we want to have the best package, not just the best power unit or the best chassis, it must be a combination.”


Chassis Engine Laps
1. Toro Rosso Honda 326
2. Mercedes Mercedes 305
3. Ferrari Ferrari 298
4. Sauber Ferrari 284
5. Williams Mercedes 277
6. Renault Renault 273
7. McLaren Renault 271
8. Red Bull Renault 211
9. Haas Ferrari 187
10. Force India Mercedes 166

Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso honda STR13 F1 2018

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