As part of the rules overhaul for this year, F1 is demanding that cars use E10 fuel – which is a mixture of 90 percent fossil fuel and 10 percent ethanol.
The change has been widely expected to trigger a drop in power, but there have been suggestions from manufacturers that they have managed to recover all of those losses.
But Honda’s Yasuaki Asagi, who previously led development of the Japanese power unit and remains involved in the revamped project, is sceptical about that.
Speaking to Autosport about how much power will be lost for 2022 because of the change, he said: “That’s a secret.
“It seems that other companies say it’s about the same but, on the contrary, making such an announcement means that it’s difficult to get the same power as last year.”
Asagi said that the challenge of the new fuel had not been easy, although there were some hidden benefits from the change.
“The response to E10 fuel is the largest [challenge],” he said. “The engine architecture had already been set (with the new 2021 power unit) so we have made changes to bring out the best performance with E10 fuel.
“When it comes to E10 fuel, the power and energy that it has with the same weight are reduced. That is the characteristic of alcohol fuel.
“On the other hand, the abnormal combustion (knocking) of the old fuel will be easier to control now.
“We are aiming for maximum efficiency, but with E10 fuel, the power of the engine will also decrease and the amount of power generation will also decrease.”
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Asagi confirmed that much of the work on the 2022 power unit had been set in stone at the end of last year.
“There are always small details and corrections if there are problems, but if you hadn’t finished the concept or the basics by the end of last year, you would not be in time for the season.”