The Honda power unit that will slot into the back of the Red Bull RB18 and AlphaTauri AT03 in 2022 is almost complete, says Yasuaki Asaki, the head of Honda's R&D at their Sakura headquarters.
While Honda's involvement in Formula 1 came to an official end at the conclusion of the 2021 season, the Japanese manufacturer will continue the manufacturing of their power units on behalf of Red Bull's new Red Bull Powertrains arm. This arrangement will remain in place until 2025.
The power unit that Red Bull's teams will use in 2022 is almost complete, ahead of the homologation that will freeze all development for the next few years.
"There are always details and problems to be fixed. But the concept, the basic part, had to be done last year to be ready for the season," explained Asaki to the Japanese edition of Motorsport.com.
Getting the most out of the E10 fuel
The biggest change on the power unit front between 2021 and 2022 has been the change to use the new E10 fuel, which sees the ethanol content increased to 10 percent from 5.75 percent.
"The most important thing is to deal with E10 fuel," he explained.
"I think that's all there is to it. The engine framework has already been renewed, so we have made changes to get the best performance out of the E10 fuel.
"When you use E10 fuel, you have less power and calories for the same weight. This is a characteristic of alcohol fuel. On the other hand, knocking, which is abnormal combustion, is much easier to control.
"The goal is to achieve maximum efficiency but, with E10 fuel, the engine power is reduced and the amount of electricity generated is also reduced. We have been testing the balance between the two."
As for how much the E10 fuel has impacted on the engine's horsepower, Asaki was reluctant to say.
"That's a secret," he commented, when pushed on the subject.
"Other companies seem to be saying that it will be about the same as last year, but I think the fact that they are making such an announcement means that they are having a hard time producing the same level of power as last year."
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