Red Bull fuel partner ExxonMobil have hailed Honda's "incredible" efforts to push through developments on their Formula 1 engine in rapid time and contribute to Max Verstappen's maiden world title in 2021.
Honda announced midway through 2020 that they would be leaving F1 at the end of the 2021 season, sparking an ambitious effort to fast forward development on their 2022 engine, in order to give Red Bull the best chance of bridging the gap to Mercedes.
Honda were able to cram what would have been a one-and-a-half-year project into a six-month period, with ExxonMobil - supplier of fuel and lubricants - on hand every step of the way to contribute to the gains.
Honda an "incredible" partner to work with
Reflecting on the development effort in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, ExxonMobil's Global Motorsports Technology Manager, Tomek Young, said: "It still gives me chills to think about that these moments of working together.
"We had multiple engagements a week, constantly looking at data together, early in the morning, late at night – it was very exciting times."
He continued: "Honda is an incredible partner to work with. We started working with them in 2015 [at McLaren], then Honda entered with AlphaTauri, and then with Red Bull. It's a journey for our company, for Red Bull and for Honda.
"Along this journey, they have worked with the greatest passion that you can see, and you're just trying to keep up, and you're inspired by the passion that you see."
Honda and ExxonMobil's big push for 2021
Young highlighted the extent of Honda's engine overhaul for the 2021 season, saying it was close to a complete redesign.
"Going into 2021, the decision was made by Honda to re-engineer the engine; they didn't start from scratch, but close to, really going [back] to the drawing board," Young went on to comment.
"They looked at the size of the engine, placements of camshafts, weights of components, internal shapes – a lot changed."
As for ExxonMobil's role, Young added: "We were there along the way, creating these oil and fuel candidates, to see what will work in this newer design. But certainly, Honda put everything they had into the 2021 power unit."
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