Red Bull announces Honda partnership
Red Bull have announced they will be switching to Honda after an eleven-year partnership with Renault. The deal means that the Anglo-Austrian team will become a works team for the first time in their history.
The team has had a partnership with the French manufacturer for the last twelve years, however, since the introduction of the hybrid power units in 2014, the relationship has become fractious because of on-track results.
The two-year deal means that Honda will supply two teams from 2019 as they already supply Red Bull’s sister team, Toro Rosso. Team principal Christian Horner said “This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s efforts to compete not just for Grand Prix wins but for what is always our goal – championship titles”
“After careful consideration and evaluation, we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team. We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team, which matches our own.”
The news comes less than a year after McLaren ended its long-term deal with Honda, because of the lack of competitiveness. However Honda has made a step forward this season, but still are unable to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari at the front.
Although Renault introduced a new engine at last week’s Canadian GP, it seems it was not sufficient to placate Red Bull. Toro Rosso is currently in their first year of partnership with Honda, having given up their supply of Renault engines in order to facilitate McLaren’s switch.
Positive start as Red Bull look to future
Red Bull appear to be positive about the future with Honda. Team principal Christian Horner saying “We would like to thank Renault for the past 12 years, a period during which we experienced some incredible moments together.”
“We have sometimes had our differences but Renault has always worked tirelessly and to the best of its ability to provide us with a competitive power unit.”
Honda’s president Takahiro Hachigo added “Having two teams means we can access twice as much data as previously. We believe that working with both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing will allow us to get closer to our goal of winning races and Championships, building two strong partnerships.”
“Discussions proceeded very quickly, thanks to Red Bull’s open and respectful attitude towards Honda, leading to a deal that is fair and equitable for all parties.”
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko: “This partnership with Honda signals a new era for Red Bull Group in Formula One with both the Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing teams benefitting from common supply co-ordinated through Red Bull Technology.”
“We have been extremely impressed by Honda’s commitment and progress and share like-minded ambitions to compete for Championships. With this integrated approach between the companies, we very much look forward to working with Honda.”
Renault wants Red Bull to regret switching to Honda
Renault says that they are hoping to make Red Bull regret the decision to switch to Honda, by delivering their own major performance gains.
Following months of speculation about the Austrians team’s engine supply for 2019, on Tuesday they announced they would end their long association with Renault to tie up with Honda. But the news hasn’t come as a surprise to the French Manufacturer.
Following the news, the manufacturer’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says they are now determined to show enough progress with future engines to leave Red Bull thinking it may have made the wrong move.
Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Abiteboul said “We will do everything we can to make them regret this decision. What I mean by that is simply doing the best we can on track with our own team under our own colours.”
“I am really extremely excited by the performance improvement to come, in particular with Spec C which we will introduce later this season.”
“Last year in Singapore we announced a comprehensive set of agreements with both the Red Bull group and McLaren. This was featuring a termination of Toro Rosso at the end of 2017 and termination of Red Bull at the end of 2018, even though Red Bull had requested to be a bit more vague about that topic.”
Abiteboul suggested that the motivation behind the decision was a strategic and commercial decision, rather than a technical or sporting one. He also says the added attraction of a works relationship with Honda, allied to potential financial benefit, was a clear motivation for Red Bull.
He says “I am sure it is a mix of factors and parameters. I am sure that there something related to performance, but it is very clear there is much more than this.”
“There are a number of things that we could not offer, like financial support, like access to core facilities, because our priority and focus is on the consolidation of the performance of Renault Sport F1.”
The Full-hrer View
Formula One Vault’s chief analyst Jason Fluhrer says he believes that Honda will not be good enough for Daniel Ricciardo and that next season they could be worst off.
“I don’t really see Honda being good enough to carry (Daniel) Ricciardo and Red Bull to a first title since 2013. I think this would drop Red Bull into the kind of form they had in 2015 which is nowhere near where they should be unless Honda can pull off a miracle I see next season being Red Bull’s worst season since the days of (David) Coulthard and (Mark) Webber.”
“If Honda were to have a works team they would buy Toro Rosso I don’t think it will happen next two seasons but I think for the new regulations Honda will have a works team. I expect it to go much better than of the (Jenson) Button (and Rubens) Barrichello era, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are consistent points scorers and possibly podiums placers.”
Montezemolo “sad” about Marchionne’s jealousy
Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has said he is “sad” that his successor Sergio Marchionne “very jealous” of the Formula 1 team’s former glories.
Against the backdrop of rising tensions with Marchionne, di Montezemolo stood down as president in 2014. A few weeks before Sebastian Vettel’s move from Red Bull was confirmed.
Vettel and Marchionne have been unable to end Ferrari’s title-less run, which stretches back to 2008 for a constructors’ success and ’07, with Kimi Raikkonen, for a drivers’ championship win.
Speaking last week, at a new Michael Schumacher exhibition in Germany, di Montezemolo said: “I’m sad to see that Marchionne is very jealous from the past. This is bad, because to be jealous of the past it means you have something strange in the mind.”
“I’m very proud for what we did, Michael, Ross [Brawn], [Jean] Todt, so happy for what we did. Of course, Ferrari is always here, and I hope now will again be in a condition to win, because Ferrari needs to win, and for Formula 1 Ferrari is very important.”
Speaking about the seven times champion, who is still recovering from a head injury after a skiing accident in Grenoble in 2013, He said “I think of Michael very often, I think of him every race weekend still.”
“He was a good supporter of Vettel, and when I hired Sebastian – because I was the guy who just a few weeks before leaving the team signed the deal with Vettel – Michael was for sure pleased.”
Teams go for Ultras for Austria
Pirelli has announced the drivers tyre allocations for next weekends Austrian Grand Prix. For the race at the Red Bull Ring, they have nominated their mid-range of soft tyres, with the Ultrasofts, Supersofts and Soft compounds.
Both Mercedes, McLaren’s and Red Bull’s have gone for eight sets. With Mercedes the only team to vary the allocation between its drivers with Lewis Hamilton going for three Supersofts and two Softs, while Valtteri Bottas has gone of four Supersofts and a Soft.
Both Red Bulls have gone for three Supersofts and two Softs. While the McLarens have gone for two Supersofts and three Softs.
Both Ferrari’s and Sauber’s have gone for nine Ultrasofts, with Sebastian Vettel and Marcus Ericsson have two of both the Supersofts and Softs. Their teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Leclerc going for one Supersoft and three Softs.
Both Force India’s have gone for nine Ultrasofts, and two of both the Supersoft and Softs. While both Toro Rosso’s have eight Ultrasofts, four Supersofts and a Soft.
Both Renaults and Williams have gone for ten Ultrasofts, with Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll going for one Supersoft and two Softs. Their teammates Nico Hulkenberg and Sergey Sirotkin have two Supersofts and a soft.
Both Haas’s have seven Ultrasofts, but Romain Grosjean has five Supersofts and a Soft, his teammate Kevin Magnussen has four Supersofts and two Softs.