The more the 2018 Formula One season unfolds, the more obvious it is that McLaren’s issues over these past few years haven’t all been powertrain-related.
This year, the Woking-based team is using the same engines as Red Bull, which in theory should have had them hot on the heels of their energy drink-sponsored rivals. Yet, they’ve so far been outperformed by them, as well as by the Renault works team.
To make matters worse, McLaren was also outperformed by Toro Rosso at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. After a poor showing in qualifying, Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso was fitted with an upgraded Honda engine, which almost got his teammate into Q3 and helped Gasly secure P11 after starting P19, ahead of both McLarens.
“I overtook a Haas, I overtook a Force India on the straight, which is the first time this year,” Gasly said in an interview with Autosport. “For me [the new engine] is looking good. Promising.”
He then added that the upgraded Honda unit looks much improved in all aspects.
“Everything. Just more performance in general. In terms of battery as well, in terms of energy management is better. It’s a really good step. They told us ‘We are working for an upgrade, which will be a decent upgrade, something that will make a real difference.’ And clearly on the data we can see that it’s a really good step forward.”
Currently, Toro Rosso sit 9 points behind Force India and ties with Haas for 7th in the Constructors Standings. While they still have some way to go before putting other teams on notice, their new engines really did perform admirably on the high speed circuit.