Red Bull targets no penalties from engine changes in 2020

Jonathan Noble, Ronald Vording
Red Bull targets no avoidable engine changes

Red Bull and Honda have targeted getting through the 2020 Formula 1 season without any unprescribed engine changes this season, amid growing optimism about the reliability of its power unit.

With its new RB16 performing well in the opening week of pre-season testing, Red Bull's hopes of battling for the championship will be boosted if it can avoid incurring grid penalties for using more than three power units.

Following a winter in which it has completed more dyno mileage than ever before, Honda F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto told Autosport he has high hopes that everything is on target to get through the season without the need for a swap.

"That's our schedule and therefore we try to follow that allocation without penalty," Yamamoto said.

"We were quite competitive in the last half of last season and then the reliability was also very good, so we tried to continue that reliability with some more power.

"That was our focus."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that although the current plan is to stick to three engines, he did not rule out taking a fourth if there was a clear performance benefit from doing so.

"We're not planning a fourth engine at the moment," he said.

Red Bull targets no avoidable engine changes

"The plan is to go through on the three. "If it becomes 21 races [and China is not reinstated to the calendar], that obviously makes life slightly easier.

"If we were to have to take a fourth [engine], so long as you take it at the right place you can minimise the impact of that.

"So, we'd always chase performance over everything else."

Horner added that Honda's integration with the Red Bull chassis had been much better this year after a season in which the relationship has "evolved, and tightened".

"The correlation between what we're seeing on track and dyno is looking spot on," he said.

"So that side is also encouraging.

"It's always easy to get drawn into the timing sheets, particularly in the early testing - it'll move around I'm sure by the time we get to Melbourne.

"We've had a good winter. Last year was our first year with Honda, I think that relationship has just evolved, and tightened, throughout last year, over the winter also.

"This whole package is more integrated, the whole team has done a great job in turning out this car.

"We've come here [to testing] with more miles on the dyno than previously. Reliability straight out of the box and the feedback from the drivers so far is very encouraging."

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