Honda hoping for ‘big advantage’ as Toro Rosso set to use complete rear end from Red Bull in 2019

by Findlay Grant
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda

Honda‘s Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe has said that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda sharing power units for the 2019 season will be a “big advantage” for the manufacturer.

Honda has not supplied two teams in Formula 1 since returning to the sport in 2015; they were due to be supplying power units to two customers last year, but the McLaren F1 Team were made their key focus, while Alfa Romeo Racing pulled out of a planned deal, instead deciding on an upgraded Ferrari engine.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Tanabe said: “I think it’s a big advantage.  We don’t need to communicate between one team and another team, or they ask us completely separately.”

The 2019 season will be the manufacturer’s first since 2008, when it supplied a works team and their sister team, Super Aguri, the two teams using Honda power units.

Tanabe said that the two teams sharing an engine supplier does have its advantages.

“Technically we have double the data”, he said.  “Not only trackside, but on the development side.  We have a different team [in Red Bull], a different car philosophy, a different way of working, especially trackside.”

He added: “We can get more information, more knowledge from a new team.  That’s a big benefit for us.”

Brendon Hartley & Pierre Gasly - Formula 1 - 2018 Japanese GP

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool (Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images)

When the partnership started to become closer to reality at the start of 2018, Tanabe was said to be going to be taking an overarching role trackside, while two independent technical directors managed the two outfits.

The boss of Honda Motorsport, Masashi Yamamoto said that their main priority nearing the end of the year had changed, and it was instead to hire more staff and increase its manpower.

“We are increasing people at the factory of course.  And the other thing is trackside, we have to have twice as many people as this year.  We have to have another assembly team for the race engines,” said Yamamoto.

He added: “Maybe for certain jobs we can share between both teams, but doubling the job, that means I will lose speciality – so having more people is a sensible idea.”

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