Honda’s jet engine division HondaJet helped to solve a major reliability problem which plagued its Formula 1 power unit.
The co-operation between Honda’s F1 programme and its jet engine division began following a series of failures on its cars which led McLaren to cease its partnership with the Japanese manufacturer in 2017.
Toro Rosso took over Honda’s power unit supply the following season and quickly benefited from changes to the architecture of their engines which came about through Honda’s work with HondaJet.
The manufacturer had experienced problems with the vibrations created by a shaft connecting to the MGU-H. This is permitted to spin at very high speeds – up to 125,000 rpm – by the F1 technical regulations. The vibrations within Honda’s engine caused a series of failures and forced them to limit how hard the engine could be run.
This led the manufacturer to draw on HondaJet’s expertise in tackling similar challenges. Aircraft engines must perform faultlessly to ensure safety.
HondaJet technicians who helped develop their turbo fan engines were able to help the company’s F1 engineers fix their problem, according to a recent documentary produced by Japan’s government-owned broadcaster NHK.
The changes to the power unit involved altering the size and shape of the shaft and its bearings to improve its stability at high rotational speeds.
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The new engine delivered on its potential soon after it was introduced. At the second race of 2018 in Bahrain Pierre Gasly finished fourth in his Toro Rosso, which at the time was Honda’s best result since its return to F1 three years earlier.
Toro Rosso’s success prompted Red Bull to switch to Honda power last year. The team scored three victories in its first season with Honda and has since extended its partnership with the manufacturer.
Thanks to Daniel Bialy for his contribution to this article.
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