Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says the progress Honda made with its Formula 1 power unit last year was overlooked.
Speaking to RaceFans in an exclusive interview after the team used Honda’s new spec-three engine to claim sixth and seventh on the grid at Suzuka, Tost said the Japanese manufacturer deserved the lion’s share of the credit for their result.
“It’s a combination of everything but the most important factor is of course the new engine upgrade from Honda,” he said. “They did a fantastic job, congratulations to them, very well done.”
Honda returned to F1 with McLaren in 2015. The pair split last year after McLaren grew unhappy with their lack of results. However they have had a poor 2018 with customer Renault engines.
Today Toro Rosso scored its best qualifying performance since taking fourth and eighth in Australia last year. Tost said he expected Honda to come good when he agreed to use their engines a little over 12 months ago.
“You can buy everything in Formula 1 but not time,” said Tost. “Honda, the first year or so, was a little bit behind. This was the reason why in the beginning they had some problems with reliability and the performance of the engine.
“But last year the engine was already much, much better than all the people thought. This is what I knew because we analysed and watched the races. Therefore I was convinced that for us it’s the right decision.”
The team’s drivers must seize on their opportunity to strengthen their position in the constructors’ championship tomorrow, Tost added.
“The strategy is that they both have to push like hell because our direct opponents are very close, very fast.
“Fortunately it’s difficult to overtake here. That means if we do it clever, if we have a good start and if we have a proper strategy then we should be in a position tomorrow to really score good points because we need it. Sauber is closing up.”
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