Published On: Sun, Jun 10th, 2018

Canadian GP: Gasly to start on back row with new Honda F1 engine

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Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly will start the Canadian Grand Prix from the back row of the grid after taking a new Honda Formula 1 engine.

The Frenchman suffered an issue with his new-specification engine in FP3, and with limited time to analyse it the team went back to the older spec he used in the first six races for qualifying.

Gasly qualified 16th, four places behind team-mate Brendon Hartley, and after work overnight in Canada and back at Hondas headquarters in Japan it was decided that it would be safe to run the new spec in the race.

A complete fresh power unit, with all six elements, has now been fitted.

The only component change that actually triggers a penalty is the internal combustion engine, which is Gaslys fourth V6 of the year, so he drops 10 places.

That should be last place, but as Romain Grosjean did not set a time Gasly is expected to line up 19th.

Given that he was only starting 16th, and that Red Bull’s home race in Austria is coming up soon, the team felt it better to take a hit here.

“We changed the engine after FP3 because Honda recognised on the data that maybe there could be something not working in the direction they expected,” team boss Franz Tost told Autosport.

“Then because of the short time to analyse it, it was safer to go back to the old spec. And then after analysing all the data with Sakura yesterday in the evening we decided to fit a new power unit.

“Also because Pierre suffered in qualifying because of the time he lost going to the weigh bridge, and we don’t want to have a penalty in France or Austria.

We decided to take it here, and then hopefully it works.”

The change also means that Red Bull now has a better chance of getting the data it needs on the new Honda spec to make an engine-supply decision for 2019.

Had only Hartley started the race with the latest engine there was a risk that an early retirement for the Kiwi would leave RBR with limited information.

Todt said that was not a consideration when the decision was made but admitted that of course, this is a valid point.

He said there were no plans to make other changes to the car that might trigger a pitlane start.

Grosjean, who suffered an engine problem at the start of qualifying and did not set a time, will revert to his first engine of the season for the race.

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