Red Bull have confirmed that they have struck up a deal with Honda to supply their engines from the start of next season. They have agreed a 2-year deal which will take them upto the end of the 2020 season, right before the new engine regulations come into place in 2021.
The move had been speculated for quite a lot of time, with motorsport boss, Dr. Helmut Marko stating that a deadline till the Austrian Grand Prix had been set for any decision to be made. But Red Bull have made up their minds sooner than that.
Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner explained the reasons for the deal. “We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso and by the scope of their ambition, which matches our own.”
“This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s efforts to compete not just for Grand Prix wins but for what is always our goal- championship titles”, he added.
Honda seemed to be anticipating an expansion to supply to a second team for the first time since re-entering F1 in 2015 with McLaren. They have been expanding their factory in Milton Keynes for a number of years to deal with such a situation.
The team will be run under its original name, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing despite the new deal. As a result of it, from next season onwards, both Red Bull and Toro Rosso shall run the same specification power units.
Honda President, Takahiro Hachigo said, “Having two teams means we can access twice as much data as previously. We believe that working with Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing will allow us to get closer to our goal of winning races and championships, building two strong partnerships.”
The new deal marks the end of a 12-year association between Red Bull and Renault. The pair enjoyed a period of great success at the start of the decade but since then the Renault engines have just not been to the satisfaction of Red Bull superiors.
Honda have not had a great time since their return to the sport. McLaren had a very tough time with them and the reliability is a big question mark. Red Bull seem to have made the decision on the basis of a few months’ observation with Toro Rosso.
Their sister team has enjoyed a decent time with some points-scoring finishes but it will be premature to predict the success of the partnership on the basis of those results.