Former Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve says Scuderia Toro Rosso could pay the price for their switch to Honda engines in the future.
Honda will split from their current customer Mclaren Honda Formula 1 Team, after three years of disappointing performances. But the Japanese manufacturer will move to Toro Rosso as their sole engine supplier for the 2018 season and beyond. The Woking based team will run Renault engines from the 2018 onward.
Honda will provide free engines to Toro Rosso as part of the deal, where McLaren received $100 million per year from the supplier.
Despite the switch, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve told Autosport.com that he doesn’t understand why the Italian team has signed up with Honda after the issues that McLaren suffered.
“I don’t understand Toro Rosso,” said Villeneuve.
“They have seen what has been happening for three years. How can they imagine this will help them? OK, there is more money in the account, but to run last? Whenever you go and take money to go slower, after two years you pay the price.”
“You have to be careful. McLaren survived it because it’s McLaren. Now we’re talking Toro Rosso. It’s a big gamble, unless someone else makes the engine and Honda puts its name on it, which is possible I guess.”
The lack of performance and unreliability from the three years with Honda was the core reason why McLaren decide to cut their partnership short.
Honda is hopeful to turn their performances around in 2018, having made improvements throughout the year. But Villeneuve still doesn’t buy the idea Honda will make a drastic improvement for next season with Toro Rosso.
“They need a new engine. The whole project was started wrong.”
“It needs to be a full change. If you take a small team like Toro Rosso, it makes it even more difficult.”