Red Bull deputy principal, Christian Horner is insistent that the Honda engine performs similarly to that of the Renault engine, which is currently fitted in their cars.
“We’d have still won the grands prix we won”, Horner told Autosport. “Honda are within one percent of our measurement of where we currently are. There’s still a significant chunk to get to Ferrari and Mercedes.”
One of the major advantages of having a full-fledged manufacturer on board is that Red Bull would have the full attention of Honda, unlike the situation with Renault, wherein they have their own two cars on the grid.
“But having the full focus of an OEM like Honda behind us, combined with the fact that with Renault we were becoming more and more the customer as inevitably their focus becomes more centred on their own team, it was absolutely the right timing to go this different path.”
Since the deal is already in place, there is no pressure of meeting deadlines and starting the process of engine development late into the season. Horner felt that this would give Red Bull a head start.
“With where we currently are with Renault, the positioning of any box, any juncture, on the engine, is dictated by their own works team. We have to accommodate whatever Renault Enstone want to adopt. Sometimes we have to make compromises to accommodate that.”
“With Honda, we will have the ability to have the discussions in advance to try to optimise the integration between engine and chassis”, Horner said.
“They are earlier on the curve and they have the resource and the capacity. One of the biggest issues that probably Renault have struggled with is probably the financial commitment to the R&D process.”
The Austrian team finally decided to call time on their deal with Renault after twelve years and any signs of apprehension about the new deal seems to be evaporating with every passing day.