Honda 'cannot believe' Mercedes' run of engine changes


Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe admits to being baffled by the rate at which Mercedes is currently adding new engines to its pool of hardware and which is leading to grid penalties for its drivers.

As Mercedes and Red Bull – and their star drivers – fiercely battle for the world championship, the German manufacturer has is doing its best to fend off the reliability issues that have impacted its power unit in the second half of the 2021 season.

Valtteri Bottas was the recipient of new hardware in Monza, Sochi and Austin, enduring a grid demotion at each venue while Lewis Hamilton was assigned new ICE units in Turkey and again this weekend in Brazil.


Tanabe is astonished by the engine turnover in the Mercedes camp which is accustomed to rock solid reliability.

"Yes, I'm pretty surprised. Changing the ICE week after week," said Tanabe in Sao Paulo.

"So after, I cannot believe what's going on and why. But from the PU manufacturer point of view, it is disappointing to get a PU penalty for the driver."

Comparatively, Honda has only allocated one extra engine to each of Red Bull's drivers in the back half of the 2021 season, with the changes caused by crash damage rather by a reliability issue.

Championship leader Max Verstappen took a new fourth power unit in Russia and so far, there are no signs that the Dutchman will require another piece of hardware in the final leg of the campaign.

"The current plan is we can manage the PUs the rest of the season for all drivers," explained Tanabe.

"We had some accidents during the season and then lose some PUs, but at the moment, we have a sufficient number of units for all drivers."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter