With Red Bull’s contract with Renault ending before the 2019 F1 season, the race is on to find another supplier. With Toro Rosso linking up with Honda this season, all Red Bull eyes are on the sister team. Now, Honda officials have opened talks with Red Bull about a potential Red Bull-Honda union from 2019 onward.
Honda have been struggling for pace since their return to Formula 1 in 2015. After a dramatic falling out with previous customer McLaren, the two parted ways.
With Red Bull’s own relationship with Renault in pieces, the senior team is monitoring the situation at Toro Rosso. This is because, the Austrian team wish to partner with the Japanese manufacturer as an option for 2019.
As the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend progressed, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko had a meeting with Honda motorsport boss Masahi Yamamoto to officially open negotiations.
“Because it was the very first meeting, we discussed the conditions of both sides, what do we expect of each other,” said Yamamoto. “It was the first discussion. Yes, it was positive. We do believe we were both satisfied. There’s a good relationship between us. However, it’s the first time we have an official meeting. It’s the starting point for a potential future.
“We have the obligation to present the documents on the 15 May to the FIA. It’s something we are starting to discuss now and it has to be smooth between Honda and Red Bull. I want to use the time we have left to discuss with the Honda board members before I take the feedback back Red Bull to take the next steps. When we decided to come back to F1, the plan was not to just stick with one team but work with multiple teams.”
With Renault no longer an option next season, Honda is their only lifeline. But it begs the question, can Honda actually be competitive in 2019 or is the Red Bull-Honda partnership doomed?