In a bid to improve its performance, Honda bolted a new ‘Spec 3’ engine to the back of Fernando Alonso’s MCL32 yesterday.
The power unit featured an updated ICE (internal combustion engine) and despite Alonso’s running on Friday being cut short by a gearbox issue, Honda’s engineers appeared encourages with the new unit’s performance.
Speed trap readings at Baku delivered a 15km/h advantage to Alonso over team mate Stoffel Vandoorne, with the two drivers running similar downforce levels.
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The Spaniard was clocked at 327 km/h while Vandoorne’s top speed was 312 km/h in a car powered by the ‘Spec 2’ engine.
Alonso will however revert back to the older spec engine for the remainder of the weekend, a decision Honda justified by the driver’s 15-place grid penalty and its reluctance to put extra mileage on a unit for a race where McLaren will be at a disadvantage from the outset.
The change-back will include new turbocharger, MGU-K and MGU-H elements however, which will inflict an additional 25-place penalty, bring the Spaniad’s total for Baku to a ridiculous 40-spot punishment!
Barring any unforeseen reliability issues, Honda is however planning to run its ‘Spec 3’ engine for the full race weekend at the next event in Austria.
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