Helmut Marko says there will need to be a summer deadline for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to decide whether or not they will make the switch to Honda power, and they will be looking at how the Japanese engine supplier adapt to life at sister squad Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda.
Following their separation from the McLaren F1 Team, Honda will supply engines to the Faenza-based Toro Rosso outfit in 2018, and it will be in the first half of the season that Red Bull will decide whether or not the engine supplier will be a suitable match for them.
Their current contract with Renault Sport ends at the conclusion of the 2018 season, meaning the decision does need to be made sooner rather than later, with Marko hoping the early positive vibes coming from both parties translates into strong results for Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly.
“So far we’re positively surprised by Honda, also in terms of their dedication and enthusiasm,” said Marko to German publication Auto Motor und Sport. “I think they have learned from the mistakes that certainly happened.
“So far, according to the test stands, the engine is reliable. I think it will be possible for the engine to catch up to Renault level by mid season.
“The regulations have changed so that you have to announce what engine you want to compete with the following year by the summer. We will analyse thoroughly and then make a decision.”