Toro Rosso-Honda link up could open doors for Red Bull – Christian Horner

Will Scuderia Toro Rosso partner up with Honda in 2018? Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

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.”

  • Godfather

    They should make a new category for this sort of news – call it OBVIOUS NEW

  • Roger Flerity

    So… Horner figures that Honda, the PU incapable of finishing a race, or making it into Q3, is an opportunity to replace Renault, who is not providing sufficient power? What is it about Honda that creates such deep states of delusion? Honda is a lost cause, a blip in F1 history books, and magical in how it creates such optimism, with so little real proof it will ever be a force again.

  • dan pambid

    So what if, by some stroke of genius, homda gets it right. Then it would obviously open doors for redbull to drop renault and get honda.

  • Leonardo Pisano Bigollo

    It’s been 19 years since Honda did anything great in F1. I think for Toro Rosso it’s a chance to get a free engine and maybe some money. So they go from paying $20m for an engine to getting a free engine and maybe $50m from Honda? They are never going to be anything more than a team in the bottom 1/3 of F1. So what does it matter? Also it gives Red Bull a HUGE security blanket. There was a rule that the engine manufacturers has to step in if a team had no engine supply. That rule has expired. So for the next few years (until the new engine rules are announced) it makes sense to have Honda in the back pocket. And IF by some miracle Honda get it together then they are in the box seat. That is the beauty of having a B team. They can test drivers, and engine suppliers, and see what happens. I think the Toro Rosso, that is similar to the Mercedes in chassis style, was a way for Red Bull to test that aero direction. Smart thinking from Horner.

  • Fabian Gonzalez

    You call having the most dominant engine from the mid 80s to early 90s a blip in history? From 87-91 a honda powered car won a championship, they didnt win 85 & 86 due to Mansell and Piquet fighting so much that Prost snuck through . I hope they do go to Torro Rosso and create a better engine than Renault just to make Alonso whinge and cry.