Honda is very passionate about racing and Pierre Gasly discovered it firsthand when he met one of the Japanese engineers at Suzuka.
The Japanese engine maker takes a lot of pride in its home race and every year, they try very hard to give the racing team all they’ve got in terms of performance.
In 2018, Honda made a lot of progress with their third power unit and Toro Rosso chargers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly were all set to make the most of it during the Suzuka race.
They put on an impressive performance in the qualifying round, and finished at sixth and seventh, getting a lot of cheer from the home crowd.
Honda and Toro Rosso were in celebration mode after the historic qualifying results. But trackside engineer Keisuke Minatoya’s reaction surprised Gasly.
Speaking with Racefan.net, he said: “In Suzuka, in qualifying, we were seventh, but should have been P6 or P5,”
“I was losing three-tenths in the straight and I came to see him after qualy. I was a bit disappointed even though it was a good result.
“[But] he was almost crying because he didn’t manage to give me the full potential of the engine.
“When you see the people you work with so involved in the performance that’s always great to see.”
Although Honda improved tremendously in 2018, the development was not straight forward and often they had to wait for months without any updates, Gasly added.
“The development I would say is never consistent,” he said.
“Sometimes you don’t find anything for eight months and then suddenly they try something on the dyno that works and you get four-tenths suddenly. It’s not like a consistent development.”
In 2019, the Japanese manufacturer is aiming to start the season as the third best engine on the grid and Red Bull is betting big on that possibility.