Christian Horner feels his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team would still have won the races they have in 2018 had they raced with Honda rather than Renault, as the two power units are within one per cent of each other this season.
Daniel Ricciardo has taken two victories this season in the Chinese and Monaco Grand Prix, while Max Verstappen took his first win of the campaign in the Austrian Grand Prix, and Horner feels that Red Bull, who will make the switch to Honda power in 2019, would still have won those races had they been powered by the Japanese engine supplier.
“We’d have still won the grands prix we won,” said Horner to Motorsport.com. “Honda are within one per cent of our measurement of where we currently are.
“There’s still a significant chunk to get to Ferrari and Mercedes but having the full focus of an OEM like Honda behind us, combined with the fact that with Renault we were becoming more and more the customer as inevitably their focus becomes more centred on their own team, it was absolutely the right timing to go this different path.”
Horner says Red Bull’s decision to switch from Renault to Honda stems from their desire to become more like a works team as opposed to the customer outfit they currently are with the French manufacturer, who’s engine development will be dictated by the requirements the works Renault Sport Formula One Team require rather than what Red Bull need.
“With where we currently are with Renault, the positioning of any box, any juncture, on the engine, is dictated by their own works team,” said Horner. “We have to accommodate whatever Renault Enstone want to adopt. Sometimes we have to make compromises to accommodate that.
“With Honda, we will have the ability to have the discussions in advance to try to optimise the integration between engine and chassis. They are earlier on the curve and they have the resource and the capacity. One of the biggest issues that probably Renault have struggled with is probably the financial commitment to the R&D process.
“Mercedes have spent a lot of money, and invested heavily, as have Ferrari. These power units are extremely complex and you can see now that there are still incremental gains being made with the introduction of each power unit.”