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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Honda turbo-charged engines on the F1 horizon

I was looking at my stats yesterday for the first time in ages and I noticed that there's been a heap of interest over the last couple of days in a post from June this year simply entitled Williams Honda 2013 .  Wondering what the hell was going on I went on trawling the net for more information and found nothing...until this morning when ESPN carried a story based on an interview Autocar carried out with Yoshiharu Yamamoto the Head of Honda's R&D section.

In that article he's quoted as saying that:
“I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity then it would be nice to go back.”
Now, as we all know 2014 is now the season which has been decided upon for the introduction of the 1.6 V6 turbo-charged engine into F1 so it is interesting that, in July this year Honda announced that they would compete in the WTCC with a Civic powered by? A bespoke 1.6 litre, 4-cylinder, direct injection turbocharged engine branded the HR412E.

This is, obviously, an engine specifically designed for touring cars, but it is significant that a 1.6l, 4 cylinder turbo racing engine has been developed by Honda, who are known for the fact that they only produce naturally aspirated engines.

At the time of that launch, Daisuke Horiuchi, the head of the Honda WTCC programme said:
In the continuous technological development of the internal combustion engine, the thermal efficiency is the essential key for improvement, and a race engine is not an exception. This HR412E was born from such thought processes aiming for higher efficiency. The HR412E heralds a new generation of high performance racing engines from Honda. All engineers at the R&D centre in Tochigi have worked hard to develop a race engine that will deliver great driveability to our racing drivers, with no compromise on peak power performance. We believe the innovations that have led to this revolutionary engine will also lead to benefits beyond the race track, helping us to further increase the efficiency of our road car engines
The most telling line in the above quote is obviously "The HR412E heralds a new generation of high performance racing engines from Honda".  I'm making the logical leap that we can expect that this will not be the only 1.6l, turbocharged racing engine that emerges from Tochigi, Japan over the coming 12 months.

A Works Honda engine deal for Williams would bring them back into the competition at the sharp end of the grid, with funds freed up to concentrate on design and drivers.

P.S. Honda currently run a single turbo 1.6l, V6 engine in Indycar but it would need to significantly upgrade that engine which has appeared sadly underpowered over the course of the Indycar season taking only 4 of the 15 races, with Chevrolet taking the rest.