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Honda upgrades engines for French Grand Prix

Red Bull's Max Verstappen ahead of Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso at the Canadian Grand Prix, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve -- June 9, 2019. Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Honda will upgrade the engines of both Red Bull cars and one Toro Rosso for the French Grand Prix this weekend as they look to close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat will all benefit at the Circuit Paul Ricard after Honda introduced a second upgrade of the season just four races on from their last.

Kvyat will receive a grid penalty for exceeding the allowed use of engine parts in one season, while team-mate Alexander Albon will not take up the upgrade until a later grand prix to avoid both Toro Rosso drivers picking up penalties at the same race.

The new engine is expected to be more powerful and Honda has revealed it was developed by the company's aeroplane jet engine department, known as Honda Jet.

"Our test bench data shows a power increase over the previous version of our Power Unit, however we know that we have not yet matched the figures from the manufacturers currently leading the championship," said Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe.

"But it's a step in the right direction and we will continue our development throughout the rest of the season, calling on the resources of the whole company.

"In this instance, our engineers at the Sakura, Japan R&D facility have worked closely with other departments within Honda, specifically the Aero engine development department.

"In producing this Spec 3 Power Unit, we have updated the turbocharger thanks to the knowledge and technology of the Aero engine department in the area of aerodynamic design."

Because he has already used three combustion engines this season Kvyat will receive a penalty for taking the upgrade as will Albon when he eventually follows suit.

Verstappen and Gasly have now reached the three-engine limit as well and will almost certainly incur penalties later in the season when they change engines again.

Verstappen sits fourth in the 2019 driver standings, two places ahead of team-mate Gasly, after finishing fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this month.

Kvyat and Albon sit in fourteenth and fifteenth but have seen improvements since their last engine upgrade before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.