Chinese Grand Prix – Toro Rosso chose to fit Daniil Kvyat with a fresh power unit after the first practice session on Friday.
Daniil Kvyat will race the remainder of this weekend with a fresh Honda power unit in the back of his Toro Rosso, after his engineers spotted a problem with his first one. The data irregularity was spotted right at the end of FP1, meaning that the team were able to make use of the two hour gap between sessions to fit his car with a new one. While he still missed some of FP2, his track time didn’t suffer too badly and he finished P13 by the end of FP2.
On the last lap of Dany’s run in FP1, Honda noticed an anomaly on the PU side, so we elected to cut his run slightly short and decided to change the PU as a precaution.” explained Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls.
“The mechanics did a very good job to get the car turned around and running again halfway through FP2, although, this meant we had to compress Dany’s programme. Traffic becomes a problem when you do a low fuel run while the rest of the field is on a race simulation during FP2, however, the team did a good job to find a reasonable window so Dany could get a couple of clean laps in. He was able to improve and put in a competitive time, which we were happy with as it was only his second lap of the session.”
Kvyat, who only completed a total of 20 laps in FP2 as a result of the change, said that the smoothness of FP1 meant he hasn’t been left too far behind in terms of preparation: “FP1 was very productive, we completed all of the laps we had planned and we were happy with our competitiveness. In FP2, we lost quite a bit of time due to the precautionary PU change, so we were put on the back foot once I was able to get going. Everyone was on their high fuel runs so I spent most of my time in traffic. Despite all of this, we are pretty happy where we are, we just need to keep digging for tomorrow.”
Each car is only permitted three engines per season. With Kvyat now using his second power unit of the season, it means that the focus for Honda is now seeing whether his original engine can be salvaged. If it can, it means that it can be kept in his pool for the year for use. Should it be damaged beyond repair, Kvyat will thus be down to two engines for the remainder of the season. Should he need more than that, he will take grid penalties. This also applies to the turbocharger, MGU-K and MGU-H, all of which he is now running new ones.
“A tricky first day in China, as we spotted an irregularity on the data from Daniil’s car and decided to change the PU before FP2.” said Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda’s Technical Director. “Inevitably, this meant Daniil was unable to go out at the start of the session, but well done to the team for getting him back on track for the final 45 minutes. We will now send the original PU back to HRD-Sakura for further investigation and also we will analyse the data here at the track.”
Alex Albon, on the other side of the garage, had a much more straightforward day, completing 37 laps during FP2 to help make up for Toro Rosso’s lack of track time with Kvyat. He finished P12 at the end of his first day after spending the morning learning the circuit.