Red Bull’s Helmut Marko is closely monitoring Toro Rosso engine partner Honda. He is aware of the possibility of the Japanese manufacturer powering the senior bull outfit in 2019. So far, the signs from Faenza have been very positive and Marko is pleased. However, he admitted that Honda’s image was dealt big blows during its failed McLaren stint. Fernando Alonso’s scathing criticism hasn’t helped the Japanese giant’s cause either.
Marko said, “Honda is very active and has already found something. Maybe they’ll manage to be on the level of Renault with the second engine. Honda had to compromise because of the chassis specification from McLaren. They could not develop freely and were pretty limited. Alonso has did everything to make the engine look bad.”
Marko believes that Mercedes will remain F1’s power benchmark in 2018. This will be seen particularly in qualifying where rival power units are no match for the German manufacturer’s sheer pace.
The Red Bull manager said, “The worst thing is their qualifying mode. They are always ahead in qualifying and you cannot overtake on most tracks. And in the race they sometimes use significantly less fuel. Mercedes’ overall package is clearly ahead in terms of driveability, performance, consumption and energy deployment.”
2018 will be another brand new year, the slate is wiped clean and all the teams have a go at the title again. A few of the teams have already released information about the launch of their 2018 challengers, but Red Bull isn’t one of them just yet. What does the 2018 season hold for Marko and Red Bull? Can they return to their glory days of 2010-13? Will Max Verstappen be the one to take them there? What can Ricciardo do to take them to those lofty heights? Will Honda ever clean up their act and provide Red Bull with a decent engine in 2019?