Honda wants an end to F1's 'grey areas'

Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13 - Honda Hybrid.
© XPB 

Japanese manufacturer Honda says it wants to see as many of the 'grey areas' as possible in Formula 1's sporting rules and regulations tightened up in the future.

Honda has been involved in F1 since 1964, but pulled out at the end of 2008. The former Honda factory team went on to win the constructors title the following year as Brawn GP, and subsequently become the hugely successful Mercedes squad.

Honda returned to F1 in 2015 with an ill-fated partnership with McLaren before moving to Toro Rosso season. This year it will add Red Bull to its roster. But Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto says his company is still playing catch up compared to the more established manufacturers.

“We were the ones who came in the later time so we were behind from the point of view of knowledge and understanding," Yamamoto told Autosport magazine last week.

In particular, Honda still lacks the expertise and in-depth knowledge of their rivals when it comes to identifying and exploiting Formula 1's 'grey areas', where an innovative interpretation of the rules could give a team a race-winning advantage.

It was Ross Brawn's development of a controversial double diffuser that allowed Jenson Button to get off to an unbeatable start in 2009, going on to clinch that year's driver and team titles.

A more recent example was Ferrari's attempt to use some leeway in the results covering the new Halo protection device to introduce new aerodynamic elements to the design of their 2018 cars in the form of rear-facing mirrors.

There was also a big debate about whether the perforated wheel rims Mercedes introduced last season complied with current rules banning movable aerodynamic elements.

Honda has been reticent to explore such grey areas since its return, even though teams with bigger budgets have been hard at work doing just that.

Masashi Yamamoto (JPN) Honda Motorsport General Manage

“Everyone was really keen to exploit the grey areas, especially Ferrari and Mercedes," Yamamoto said, explaining why it had been so difficult for Honda to get on an even footing with their rivals since their return..

Eliminating vagueness in the rules out be difficult but not impossible, he believes, and would result in better competition.

"We want to burn all of those grey areas," he insisted. “We want them to stop. No grey areas is our hope."

He admitted that there would always be some contentious areas within the regulations but that the sport should be able to do a better job laying down the law than they are at present.

"We cannot help having grey areas,” he conceded. "[But] they can do a better job than now.

"In terms of F1, we know we’ve got so many specialists inside the FIA" he pointed out. "We think they can make better regulations to not have grey areas."

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