Max Verstappen believes that Red Bull will flourish with their new engine suppliers, Honda as the Japanese manufacturers will be designing engines to the team’s liking.
Honda had re-entered the F1 fray in 2015 with McLaren and will be both Red Bull’s and Toro Rosso’s engine suppliers from 2019 onwards. Verstappen feels that with Honda supplying engines to essentially the same team, the chances of it suiting their car would be better.
He said, “I believe in it [Honda engine]. The team clearly believes in it because they signed the deal. It is exciting as well. You have Honda basically working for Red Bull and Toro Rosso only, so it is designed around your car. I think that is also very good.”
Verstappen also revealed that he was part of the decision. “I spoke with them [team management] for a long time about what I thought of it. Of course I knew this already earlier than you guys”, he commented.
“They always kept me quite close because I like to understand what is going to happen with the team in the future.”
He had paid a visit to their base in Sakura and was impressed with the set-up. “The facility looked very nice. It was good to have a walk around and see the difference 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”, was his assessment.
Meanwhile, Verstappen’s teammate, Ricciardo, who himself is faced with an unsure future with the team was neutral in his thoughts. “Honestly, I still don’t really know [who is better]. Obviously Renault’s come a pretty long way this year”, he said.
“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 is going to get there quicker, that is the unknown. Obviously Red Bull believe that Honda are the right ones.”
The Honda deal did raise a few eyebrows, especially considering their poor comeback experience with McLaren but the progress with Toro Rosso is there for all to see. Honda seem to have learned from their mistakes and Red Bull will be hoping that they are not made to rue their decision.