With the recent news that Red Bull will be partnering with Honda, the Japanese manufacturer said that they will not assign works status to either team. They say that it “doesn’t make sense” to assign labels to its customers.
The expectation was that Red Bull would assume the role of a works team like McLaren during its three years with Honda.
However, the difference was that McLaren had exclusive use of Honda’s engine. Also, the Japanese manufacturer has firmly stated that it wants to present equal status to both teams. Honda are preparing to supply a second customer in F1 for the first time since 2007.
“From a manufacturer’s point of view it doesn’t make sense to identify either team as either works or customer, as current regulations oblige us to supply the same power unit to all our teams,” said Honda’s motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto.
“In that sense, this contract puts the three parties into an equal position.
“Just as was the case with Toro Rosso, we felt a sincere respect from Red Bull throughout the conversation that led to this contract.
“We appreciate them showing us such an attitude even after seeing our difficult time over the previous three years in F1.”
Toro Rosso’s fourth place finish with Pierre Gasly was Honda’s best result since returning to F1 in 2015.
Yamamoto insisted that the dynamic between Honda and Toro Rosso will not change. He also said that its Red Bull news will not distract Honda from its 2018 targets.
“We expect mutual transaction between the teams and Honda within the regulations,” he said.
“It was a great result finishing fourth in the second round, but there were some ups and downs after that.
“It is a very interesting season for fans, as well as those of us who work in the sport, because it seems that the result of the midfield runners varies depending on the car set-up and the characteristics of the tracks.
“We are now working on development to get further improvements to challenge for even better results for the rest of this season.”