Renault’s Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul is worried about Honda’s continued rise in power unit competitiveness following the introduction of a new specification engine this weekend.

Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley tested upgraded Honda units during Friday’s two ninety-minute practice sessions for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix. 

Speaking during Friday’s team bosses press conference, Abiteboul said he’s worried about everything in life, but the engine situation was something “in particular” on his mind.

He said Honda has made “big steps, big gains” this year with Toro Rosso.

Cyril Abiteboul (left) talking to Renault Sport advisor and four-time Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost (Image courtesy of Renault Sport). 

“Red Bull has been very clear that they are investing massively, massively, probably and apparently much more than us,” Abiteboul said.

Formula 1 Journalist Chris Medland described Honda’s power unit upgrade for Sochi as “pretty significant” in a tweet on Thursday. 

Honda received positive feedback from Toro Rosso about the new power unit following free practice. 

Pierre Gasly thanked Honda for the upgrade and said the performance was “really encouraging” for the final races of the season.

Toro Rosso Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls said both cars completed calibration work throughout Friday practice, which left the team in “good shape.”

“Overall, we are in a good position with the package we have,” Eddolls said.

Honda Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe (Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool).

Honda’s Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe said the day had been positive for both drivers.

Both drivers have upgraded internal combustion engines, turbochargers, MGU-H’s and MGU-K’s in the new package, with grid penalties for each element.  

Eddolls said Toro Rosso focused on long runs and race performance during practice because of the impending penalties.

Power unit penalties will also force both Red Bull drivers as well as Fernando Alonso’s McLaren to the back of Sochi’s grid.

Toro Rosso hasn’t had a retirement related to the Honda power unit since July when a loose connector forced Brendon Hartley to retire from the British Grand Prix.

The fallout from the Singapore Grand Prix has made its way to Sochi.

Renault’s power unit had a string of reliability-related problems in last fortnight’s Singapore Grand Prix, which caused Max Verstappen to publicly vent frustrations.

When FP3 rolled around in Marina Bay, Verstappen lost his temper and said the unit was making “weird noises” and “doing its own thing.”

Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul said to Sky Sports F1 on Friday in Sochi that he’s “frustrated” only one driver was talking about the quality of Renault’s power unit when it’s run by six cars.

Abiteboul said in Friday’s Team Bosses Press Conference that Verstappen was a “demanding user.”

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