Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner believes that any deal junior team Scuderia Toro Rosso might forge with Honda in regards to engine supply, could be of benefit to the senior squad at some stage in the future.
With the McLaren Formula 1 Team unhappy with the current performance of the Honda engine, after three reliability-plagued seasons, it is looking more and more likely, the Woking based squad will cut ties with the Japanese manufacturer at the end of the year.
Speculation is already mounting that a switch to Renault is on the cards for 2018, something that star driver Fernando Alonso is said to be pushing hard for.
If true, that would leave Honda without a customer, and ultimately out of Formula 1 unless a deal can be struck with another team. That potential party appears to be Toro Rosso, with the Faenza based squad rumoured to have been in talks with the Japanese manufacturer since the summer break.
Last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix saw numerous meetings take place between the concerned parties, and Horner told Sky Sports F1 recently, that he believes McLaren’s decision will set the ball rolling for further deals.
“It’s not our business but at the end of the day, certain things have to fall into place.
“There’s obviously discussion around what are McLaren doing with Honda, does that open up other avenues for Toro Rosso for instance?
“Until McLaren and Honda sort out their business, nothing else will happen.”
Horner is extremely open to an arrangement being struck between Toro Rosso and Honda, having had a rocky relationship with Renault over the last couple of seasons, the Brit believes it could give Red Bull a second engine supply option, should they need it.
It is no secret that the Milton Keynes based squad have been disappointed with the performance of the Renault engine for some time now. Both Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko and Horner see the lack of power from the French manufacturer’s unit, along with its reliability issues, as the main reason for their inability to fight for the championship with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari.
Horner would therefore welcome a possible alternative way out of that relationship, which could come in the shape of Honda if they can come good with Toro Rosso.
“For us, that scenario could be quite interesting as it would provide an option.
“At the moment we don’t have any options. In this business you always want to have a few options available to you.”
The Red Bull Boss did stress that any decision made by Toro Rosso would not particularly impact on the senior squad, but did point out that they are leaving it rather late in the day to make up their minds, which could impact on the Faenza based squads progress next year.
“It doesn’t directly affect us. It’s much more of a Toro Rosso issue as they’ll have to design a car and a gearbox around that power unit if they decide to go down that route for next year.
“It’s getting pretty late in the day now, so that’s why we’re very much at a cut-off. I think that applies to McLaren as well if they were to change.
“So it’s a little bit like musical chairs, just waiting for the music to stop.”