With current regulations limiting the number of engines and components used by a Formula 1 team per season, penalties are imposed on those who exceed the limit.
As a result, accidents are now more of a headache, as Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 technical director, put it.
Honda has shown up this season with an excellent power unit, a great farewell gift that they are giving to their Red Bull Racing partners for their final season at the top. With Adrian Newey and his team also producing a decent chassis, Max Verstappen was able to fight Lewis Hamilton this year.
But things didn’t go well for the energy drink group. With the battle so close, Verstappen and Hamilton faced each other on several occasions, with Monza being the final altercation, as the infamous Silverstone incident may have destroyed the PU in car # 33, despite Honda’s best efforts to repair it within the limits of the rules.
This of course means the Dutchman will have to incur a grid penalty when a new power unit is bolted to his RB16B, which Tanabe is understandably not happy about.
Speaking to The Race, Tanabe acknowledged the financial factor involved, but also expressed frustration from a strategic perspective; especially since the accident turned out to be Hamilton’s fault who, despite the time penalty he received, would have repercussions on Verstappen throughout the season.
“Of course, money is important, but we can spend money. We cannot make points. Points are important for the driver and the team. It’s more important than the cost, ”said the Honda man.
“We can consider with the FIA, the teams and the manufacturers how we can avoid this type of damage in such conditions,” he explained, suggesting a more lenient approach allowing major repairs to the engines instead of full depreciation.
“One of my ideas is to have an investigation. A representative of the FIA, members of the team, all the engine manufacturers. They can consider whether it is reasonable to change the parts requested by the engine manufacturer, and then they can have a discussion and then accept or not the request.
“The cost cap is important, and the sustainability of this sport is important. I think we can do something.
Returning to the specific case of Verstappen at Silverstone, Tanabe admitted: “It’s a bit difficult. This is why I would like to have an investigation with a match of engineers.
“The area where we had a crack on Max’s power supply, it’s a very strange position if you use it under normal conditions. You can look at the impact of the data or the video, and you can find out where you had an unexpected impact or something.
And to conclude: “If the powertrain allowed any crash impact condition, you should have a big powertrain!” “
Honda returned to F1 in 2015 with McLaren, but after 3 disastrous seasons with the Woking team, but started to find success after moving to the Red Bull Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) junior team in 2018 and then providing Red Bull’s 2019-2021 season, which is their last in F1.