The inevitable has happened, Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has awoken from his slumber. This time, the Canadian has questioned Honda’s power unit for the 2019 season. He does not believe that Red Bull Racing will be able to compete at the top.
With Honda making great strides with Red Bull’s junior team, Toro Rosso, many believe the energy drink brand will be able to compete right at the top with Mercedes and Ferrari in 2019, after a reliability-dominated season with Renault in ’18.
However, the ever-outspoken Villeneuve has raised the question: Why will Honda suddenly be better next year?
“Why would the Honda engine suddenly be better next year, unless the engine is built by someone from the outside, which would be possible, but if it remains the same project, then I do not see why it would be OK next year,” Villeneuve explained to Motorsport.com.
McLaren had a dreadful 2017 season with Honda, but made a switch, and many thought it could be the end of the road for the Japanese manufacturer in Formula One, but a year of progress with Toro Rosso has persuaded Red Bull to take the risk.
“We have seen Toro Rosso last year that they have a bit more power,” the Canadian added. “But then that engine will only race one race and not seven races.”
Red Bull have taken this risk, and they have had to, with Ferrari and Mercedes once again dominating proceedings in 2018.
For the 2019 season, Red Bull will be fielding Toro Rosso graduate, Pierre Gasly alongside Max Verstappen. Gasly’s promotion is a direct consequence of Daniel Ricciardo moving to Renault. The Australian driver will be partnering Nico Hulkenberg at the French outfit.
This will be Gasly’s second year with Honda engines but it is relatively unknown territory for Max Verstappen.