Red Bull driver Max Verstappen believes that getting a Honda engine suited to their specifications, will be a big boon next year.
Recently, Red Bull announced Honda as their engine partner for 2019-20. This brought to an end their 12-year relationship with Renault.
Meanwhile, Honda’s three-year partnership with McLaren ended last year as the British team ran out of patience. Ever since they switched to Toro Rosso, Honda has seen a better performance and reliability.
After some data analysis from the Canadian GP, Red Bull was satisfied with the progress. With that, they pulled the plug on the Renault deal.
Speaking of Honda, Verstappen said: “I believe in it, and the team clearly believes in it because they signed the deal,”
“It’s exciting as well. You have Honda basically working for Red Bull and Toro Rosso only, so it’s purely designed around your car. I think that also is very good.
“I spoke with them [Red Bull’s management] for a long time about what I thought of it.
“Of course I knew this already earlier than you guys. They always kept me quite close because I like to understand what’s going to happen with the team in the future.”
The Dutch driver paid the Honda facility a visit last year. He said: “The facility looked very nice. It was good to have a walk around and see the differences between Honda and Renault’s factories. It was quite impressive how they’ve built up all the facilities and the dynos and stuff. It all looked very efficient.”
Interestingly, his teammate Daniel Ricciardo is still unconvinced as to who will catch up with the top two engine makers first.
He said: “Obviously Renault’s come a pretty long way this year. I know we still don’t have the qualifying modes, but our race pace, once we’re all fuel saving, all that, we seem a lot more competitive.
“So they’re improving, as you can see Honda seems to be improving with Toro Rosso.
“I think it’s fair to say they’re both on the up – it’s just who’s going to get there quicker, that’s still the unknown.
“Obviously Red Bull believe that Honda are the right ones.”
With their new partnership on the horizon, Honda have set the lofty goal of targeting wins with Red Bull.
“Regarding our race research and development institute from Honda, obviously we are going to work on minute details for the Spec 3,” said Honda motorsport chief Masashi Yamamoto.
“But simultaneously, we’re going to be very concentrated on the specs for next year.
“This year’s spec is mainly all decided for this year, so the last half of this year now will be quite focused on the development of the specs for next year.
“But all the others will be focused on the engine for next year, too.”