Honda gives Red Bull driver Gasly's engine all-clear after scare

Jonathan Noble
Honda gives Gasly's engine all-clear after scare

Honda has given Red Bull Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly's engine the all-clear after a late power loss scare in Australian Grand Prix practice.

The only blemish on an encouraging first day of official running for the new Red Bull-Honda partnership was an engine issue late on that forced Gasly into the pits early.

"There was a small loss of power on the last lap, so we decided to pit to look into it," said Gasly, who ended up fourth quickest in second practice.

Honda quickly carried out checks, and said the engine had suffered only a minor unspecified issue that would not impact running on Saturday.

"Winter testing went quite smoothly for us and that continued in today's two free practice sessions," said Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.

"At the end of FP2, we spotted something on Pierre's PU which we investigated. It was a minor issue and has no effect on the rest of the weekend."

In terms of the car progress, Gasly was encouraged as he ended up right behind team-mate Max Verstappen in the second session.

"It was a positive day," he said. "I did what was possible with the car, but there is still work to be done.

"We saw Mercedes is fast, as we expected, and at the moment we try to focus on the package and how to make the best out of it."

Verstappen was not getting too carried away about ending up ahead of pre-season favourite Ferrari, as he said Red Bull had plenty of room for improvement.

Honda gives Gasly's engine all-clear after scare

"We can only look at ourselves and for sure we have things to improve," he said.

"I think everyone has, it is the first day. It has been alright. Mercedes looks very quick. We have lots of work to do and will analyse a lot.

"From the engine side, no problems. It ran very smoothly and it was good. We will find out more tomorrow."

Asked if he felt Ferrari had been sandbagging in second practice, Verstappen said: "I don't know. You should ask them! I don't have an answer for them.

"We just focus on ourselves and we still have work to do."

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