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Honda engine boosted RB16B car

Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen, and Alexander Albon during the filming day. Credits: Red Bull Content Pool.

Honda said that Red Bull was able to develop a great aerodynamic car thanks to the work that has been made on the power unit, which is extremely compact. 

For the 2021 season, Honda has created a very compact engine introducing some key elements that allowed Red Bull to build a very skinny rear of the car, just like Mercedes did in the last few years. 

The Japanese manufacturer already tried to develop a similar engine back in 2015 with McLaren. However, back then, things did not go as planned and that engine had many reliability problems. After six years, though, the new compact power unit seems to work excellently for Red Bull. 

Honda F1 technical director, Toyoharu Tanabe, said that at the factory every effort was made to boost both the power and the aerodynamic package for Red Bull. 

“We reviewed every single part and the kind of concept of our previous PU, and then we designed this year’s PU as a new PU,” he said. “Of course, our desire to improve our performance in our PU means ICE and ERS. Also, with the new design, we made it a little bit more compact compared to the previous PU. I think it has contributed to the car package and performance as well.”

After the season opener, Tanabe explained in more detail the changes made to the power unit. Finally, he also added why they are helping the Milton Keynes-based team so much. 

“The camshaft position has been lowered, and we have lowered the engine height,” he explained. “It is a compact package.

“As a result, when the engine is installed in the chassis, the degree of freedom of the airflow flowing inside the car is increased. In other words, it has contributed to aerodynamics.

“It’s hard to come up with exact numbers as to how much downforce has increased and how much lap time has been improved, but [Adrian] Newey said that he was grateful for the power unit being more compact and it contributing to the new installation.”

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