Honda will have to work as efficiently as possible at the Portuguese Grand Prix given the current possibility of rain, the engine supplier's technical director has warned.
Toyoharu Tanabe believes that Red Bull and AlphaTauri - the two teams who use the Japanese company's power units - will in some respects be better prepared for racing at the Algarve International Circuit than in 2020, yet he is also concerned about weather conditions limiting the teams' running during Friday's practice sessions.
"Last year, Formula 1 visited the Algarve circuit for the first time as part of the unusual calendar as a result of the pandemic," Tanabe said in a statement from Honda.
"Although not far from the beach resorts in southern Portugal, it is set among the hills and offers a unique challenge with many ups and downs and severe gradient changes. This weekend, everyone will have last year’s data to rely on when it comes to our preparation and so we should be able to start off in better shape than last year.
"So far, the weather forecast is predicting a high possibility of rain on Friday. We will therefore need to work as efficiently as possible in the limited amount of free practice time, to update our new PU data, in order to be fully prepared for Saturday and Sunday."
Tanabe is pleased with how both of Honda's teams have performed so far in the 2021 F1 season, but is aware that they need to keep on pushing in order to maintain an advantage.
"We are having our best start to a season since Honda returned to Formula 1 in the hybrid era, with a second place and a win for Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing Honda in the first two races," the technical director said.
"Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda has also performed very well in the very close competition right behind the top teams. However, after just two rounds, we know we still have a long season ahead of us.
"We’ll try to maximize our performance and results in every single race with our four drivers and both teams."