Red Bull’s new tie-up with Honda may become a big deal in Japan, especially if they start winning races, says Red Bull Motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.
Despite Toro Rosso’s low profile, its livery was seen often among the local crowd at the Japanese GP, indicating the popularity of Honda in its home race. Though both their cars finished outside the points, the fact that they reached Q3 was celebrated like a victory.
Speaking with Motorsport.com, Marko said: “It’s very encouraging. We got so much welcome in Japan. Can you imagine if we start winning? Being a frontrunner, I think it will be massive.
“We are really looking positive for next year with a different engine. We saw what they can do in qualifying here.”
Team boss Christian Horner was also excited about the performance of the Spec 3 power unit.
“Certainly, over the whole weekend and also in Russia we’ve been following the progress very clearly,” said Horner.
“And it’s great to see them making real strides. We’re very excited about the progress they’re making, and obviously hopeful as we head into 2019.
“You can see the straight-line speed with the car isn’t good, and that’s where we hoping that with the relationship with Honda next year we get more into a level playing field.”
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso’s current driver is getting a promotion to the senior squad next year. Taking a cautious stance, the Frenchman said: “It will be different cars so we need to wait and see the package we have,”
“Red Bull always makes really fast cars and the chassis are usually known for that.
“I think with the improvements of Honda, the steps they are making at the moment, we could be in a really good position. We’ll see in six months’ time. A lot of things can happen. I don’t want to think too much about it now.”