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Toro Rosso expecting to be strong midfield challengers after Honda upgrades

Canadian Grand Prix – Toro Rosso say they expect to be much more competitive going forward, after Honda introduced a new upgraded power unit for the race in Montreal.

On the face of it, Toro Rosso’s Canadian weekend didn’t look all that great; neither driver made it into the final part of qualifying, Brendon Hartley crashed out on Lap 1, and Pierre Gasly didn’t finish in the points despite there being just three retirements. However, the team still came away from Montreal with optimism.

The reason for this was the obvious step forward in performance that Honda appear to have made. Toro Rosso ran an upgraded power unit for the first time this year and, while there were still some mild reliability issues to be sorted out after Gasly’s PU needed changing on Saturday, the team say there is obviously more horsepower now available. With the assumption being that there will be grid penalties later in the season, Toro Rosso opted to choose to take a further power unit, MGU-K, MGU-H and turbocharger after qualifying. This dropped Gasly from his qualifying spot of P16 right to the back of the grid, but allows all those new parts to be entered into his parts rotation for the remainder of the year without any further penalty.

Starting from P19 due to Haas’ Romain Grosjean’s penalty, Gasly climbed up to P11 by race end, just missing out on a point. Montreal is a circuit that rewards power and, with current regulations making overtaking difficult, P11 was a result they took with open arms:

“Overall, I think it was a really good race for me. We managed to make up many positions after starting from the back row, but it’s always tough when you finish so close to the points! I was pretty close to Charles a couple of times, then I damaged my front tyres so in the end it became difficult to pass.” 

Red Bull/Getty

The new power unit seems to work well… we overtook multiple cars on the straight, so it looks promising for the upcoming races. Pierre Gasly

“Honda worked very hard to bring the upgrade to Canada and they did a fantastic job! Now we need to put everything together and find some consistency, because the next race is my home Grand Prix in Le Castellet – I’m really excited to go racing there!”


Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website. Also working in the Irish radio broadcasting industry. Donations: PayPal - ETH/ERC20 - 0x9d0b8071180AAcB0bD5f0c1d43281768C73e8763

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