Toro Rosso-Honda branding, 2018

Horner excited to have Honda engine “choice” for 2019

2019 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it is “great” his team has a choice of two potential engine suppliers for the 2019 F1 season.

Horner is considering a replacement for current power unit supplier Renault, whose engines it has used since 2007. Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso will use Honda engines this year

Speaking in an exclusive interview with RaceFans, Horner said the Toro Rosso deal gives Red Bull “a front row seat to see how things are progressing and evolving.”

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul has said a decision on whether they will continue with Red Bull needs to be taken by May. But Horner told RaceFans: “that’s different to the conversation we’ve had with Renault.”

“Obviously they’re keen to know sooner rather than later. The reality is we have until the summer break to make a decision.

“Obviously manufacturers seek the earliest date, manufacturers are obviously supposed to indicate to the FIA, but as we saw last year with McLaren and Toro Rosso, it’s not a hard and fast rule.

“One way or another we’ll have an engine next year, and the great thing is that for the first time in a long time we’ve got a choice.”

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Horner indicated Red Bull would make a call around the time of the summer break. “Ideally we’d like to make that decision prior to August, but end of July is probably the cut-off,” he said.

Abitebould told media including RaceFans in Spain that Renault “are not going to hang around forever” for Red Bull to decide.

“I know what Christian is referring to when he says that he has options,” said Abiteboul. “He’s right, he’s absolutely right. I know, like him I can read contracts and the obligation we have towards the sport, not towards Red Bull Racing.”

“But there is one thing that is clear, it’s planning. There will be a deadline for Red Bull Racing to define what they want for the future.

“I believe that by the end of May there needs to be some clarity as to which supplier is supplying which customer team. So that, as far as we’re concerned, will be our deadline.”

Read our full exclusive interview with Christian Horner later today on RaceFans.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Horner excited to have Honda engine “choice” for 2019”

  1. Autosport 2016
    “Honda expands its UK F1 base with second engine supply in mind”

    in Milton Keynes!

  2. I wonder how much choice he actually has. We’ll find out in a few weeks if the Honda actually makes it through a race, then we’ll need at least 4 races to see if it’s got longevity. Come May it may be an obvious choice to not go with Honda or if TR are storming ahead then it may be Honda are the sure bet.

    It’s really more of a punt than a choice.

    I also wonder what Alonso’s choice will be if that McLaren continues to be bad. At the moment Renault engines have a great line up with their best chance at podiums for a long time, Renault 2019 team lineup will be telling.

    1. The McLaren does not appear to be bad though…

      Obviously we will not know until the season starts but it looks pretty good.

    2. Renault could be a good option, If Ricciardo leaves RB that place will belong to Sainz I think (unless he gets destroyed by Hulk this season) and that opens a seat to Alonso. Don’t know if Renault will be able to give the car that he wants, nor do I think he will have so much freedom and have so much exposure for his own brand.

      The driver market will be interesting this year

    3. (it takes) at least 4 races to see if it’s got longevity.

      I reckon RBR will focus on the power of the Honda first.
      ‘Longevity’ can be engineered in fairly easily.

      1. If that where true Soviet would have reached the moon.

        1. We’ll never know!
          no more Soviet Union :p

      2. Egonovi, I wouldn’t necessarily say that longevity can be engineering in easily if it is not easy to determine the cause of those mechanical issues – we saw last year that Honda did struggle in the earlier part of the season to resole their mechanical issues because they were having difficulty in replicating the failure and a back analysis of the failed components was not providing a clear answer of the cause of the failure.

  3. With choices like these, who needs a Ferrari or Merc PU? :-)

  4. I have been very negative about how poor honda’s engines have been so far. Lack of everything. But at the same time I’d really hope they get their stuff together and produce a good engine. Biggest issue f1 has now is the engines and it would help the quality of the racing a lot if the engines were closer together in performance. I seriously doubt honda can pull it off but at the same time I really really hope they do.

    1. Maybe (just maybe) Honda deliberately underperformed with McLaren. Enough to upset McLaren, but as little as possible not to totally ruin any remaining brand value.
      Maybe Honda wanted to work with RBR as works team and Newey as works flow-master.
      Maybe they are geniuses.

  5. If I were to write the storyline for Red Bull and Honda for 2018, it would go something like this –

    Start of the season – Honda enjoys strong reliability with Toro Rosso. They go through the first four races without a single engine component failure, while Red Bull have already suffered two failures in the opening races. Honda’s performance seems really close to Renault as well. They have similar straight line speed and there seems like massive scope to improve the hp output as well as drivability.

    Mid point of the season – We reach end of May and Red Bull is already pointing the finger at Renault for ruining their championship chances. Renault get fed up of Red Bull’s ranting and indecisiveness, and refuse to supply Red Bull engines 2019 onwards. Horner smiles and gives Abiteboul the finger and walks in to Honda’s arms.

    Last part of the season – Honda brings their updated engines and they fail every weekend during qualifying or the race. Renault’s upgrade seems to have solved the reliability problems and has added a few hp that can now put Red Bull fighting for race wins. Honda runs through 5 power units on each car in the last 10 races, and that is despite trying to run them in safe mode. Toro Rosso start finishing behind the Saubers.

    End of the season – Horner starts crying about how Mercedes will not supply them an engine because they’re too scared. They’ll unwillingly beg every engine supplier for a power unit, but get shut down by everyone. They stick with Honda and roll the dice.

    Start of 2019 – Red Bull are the new McLaren Honda

    1. you forgot the point where Honda gets back to the engine that was working.

      But I like the story regardless

      1. At what point does Alonso sign for RBR-Honda?

    2. deMercer (@)
      14th March 2018, 18:47

      Not a fan of Honda nor RBR, are you @todfod? ;-)

      I sincerely hope that both Honda and Renault are able to producte a reliable and strong enough PU. The more all PU’s are competetive, the more interesting F1 will be.

  6. I think Honda is in good footing this year. The fact that they ran without any major engine related issues, stacking up third highest laps and reasonable lap times will give them a good platform for further improvements. In addition, all of Redbull technical might will be available for Honda as well. This year will be experimental all the way as Redbull calling cards (i guess). I have also seen somewhere that JB and Gehard Berger has said that they have highest regards to new Honda technical director Tanabe san. Both of them has worked with Tanabe san and both of them are impressed. So honda might improve this season and surprise us all

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