Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda technical director James Key says any deal between their parent team Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and their engine suppliers Honda would not have any impact on the works status his team current has with the Japanese manufacturer.
For the first time in the history of Toro Rosso, they are a works outfit after switching from Renault Sport to Honda power, but rumours are rife that Red Bull could also join the Japanese engine supplier from 2019, and Key insists this would only be good for his team, and it would not have any effect on that works status.
“I think it’s an opportunity to work closer together on certain aspects which would be good for both teams, so in that respect I have no issues with it,” said Key on Racer.
“We have a separate deal to whatever Red Bull would have, it’s not a combined contract, it’s an STR contract for three years as a works deal. I think if Red Bull came on board it could only be added to that for us.”
Key says Toro Rosso has been keeping track of Honda’s progress throughout their time in Formula 1, and it was with eagerness that the partnership with the Japanese manufacturer came about, and he cannot see any issues with Red Bull joining the team in the Honda ranks next season.
The current decision to split the engine suppliers of the two teams for 2018 is also not problematic for either team, with Red Bull still with Renault Sport until at least the end of the forthcoming season.
“It was a decision made jointly in some way I suppose,” said Key. “The teams are owned by the same company and that was a company decision in that respect. I think for us to be honest we’ve been keeping up with Honda for several years. We’ve very much wanted to work with them.
“I’ve known they’ve had their issues in the past but team principal [Franz Tost] knows them well, I’ve worked with them in the past, we felt we could have a very amicable relationship with them potentially because we have a kind of an understanding there and so far that’s been very much the case. I think for us it was a hope that we could do that and when the possibility arose, it was actually very possible for us.
“What Red Bull Racing do is ultimately their decision in the end but if we can share an engine supplier it would be very good. It’s not a tricky decision or anything like that, no.”