Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2018

“We didn’t think Honda was that good”: Red Bull engine deal surprises Perez

2018 French Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says he is surprised Red Bull has chosen to switch from Renault to Honda power units for the 2019 F1 season.

The Force India driver said he is curious to see how multiple championship-winning team fares with Honda, which hasn’t reached the podium since returning to Formula 1 in 2015.

“It was surprising because we didn’t think that Honda was that good,” Perez admitted. “Obviously Red Bull has taken the decision because they’ve seen it with Toro Rosso.

“I’m surprised, and I’m very interested to see how they will do, because Red Bull is a guarantee that they will have a very strong car and a very strong package. So it will be interesting to see how they will get on.”

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly said Honda had made significant progress with the updates version of its engine which was introduced at the Canadian Grand Prix.

“It’s a really good step,” he said. “I think in terms of performance it’s clearly a good help.

“We saw in Canada that we were able to overtake other cars – Force India, Haas. So I think it’s looking pretty good.”

Honda returned to F1 with McLaren in 2015 but split from them at the end of last season after three unsuccessful years. The team’s driver Fernando Alonso said he was not surprised by Red Bull’s decision.

“To be honest, what the other teams do, I think it’s difficult to analyse from the outside,” he said.

“We don’t have all the data, all the things they have so I’m happy for them if they take this decision, and happy for Honda to show their commitment to F1 and for the future and at the same time, it’s not a surprise.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 17 comments on ““We didn’t think Honda was that good”: Red Bull engine deal surprises Perez”

    1. Alonso is happy for Honda… mmhh He needs a Honda engine for the Indicar next year?

      1. Alonso has realized who the culprit is/always was.

        1. Implying Alonso let Honda down?

          1. implying that the real problem at Maclaren was their car was not very good, the honda engine was only a small part of the problem.

    2. You are not alone Checo. McLaren, most fans and even the media inside F1 didn’t think Honda were good for 3 full years.

      1. Well…they weren’t.

      2. I think a lot of Honda’s speed problems were related to it’s reliability problems which, in turn, were largely due to McLaren’s uncompromising size-zero philosophy. The Honda simply overheated all it’s components unless it was tuned down and even then it broke down.

        Honda surely deserves some blame, but equally, I think it’s fair to say McLaren didn’t do enough to optimize the integration either. Also, with all McLaren’s big talk about their chassis the last few years, I don’t believe they would have been on RedBull’s level with a better engine, just as they aren’t this year (not by a long shot).

        1. Of course not. Mac has had 7 races compared to 12 years of RBR/ Renault.

          1. TR has had 7 races with Honda compared to year on year changes from Renault to older Ferrari to latest Renault to Honda engines and yet we don’t see any new problems there.

            There is only ONE valid explanation here. We are not seeing any new problems at Mclaren either. These problems with the chassis have always been there but Mclaren has been doing a very good PR spin and putting all blame on Honda all this while.

            1. Yes, this really makes sense, toro rosso, including the driver change, isn’t doing that bad compared to last year, mclaren obviously improved, but assuming their level is this which is not unrealistic, that’s really bad, I’d have never thought they’d have been slower than renault with same engine.

    3. Safest F1 cars ever, yet tracks are still littered with chicanes – makes no sense!

    4. They weren’t but it is now clear that neither did McLaren have the best chassis in business…as they always claimed. As long as Honda remain committed, they will deliver sooner or later…although it now already is later.

    5. The Honda to RBR wasn’t a surprise anymore, i think the bigger surprise it still to come Ricciardo and Newey to Renault, Sainz back to RBR. Alonso is off going to do other thing, seat for Norris.

      Will make 2019 an interesting year.

      1. Sush Meerkat
        22nd June 2018, 13:37

        People keep saying Newey to Renault on the comments section yet I’m not seeing concrete reporting.

        Saying that;
        If it’s true
        AS A RENAULT FAN! SQUEEEEEEE!
        *starts break dancing*

        1. Can’t imagine why Newey would like to go to Renault. What would he do there that he couldn’t at the more resourced RBR? Same Pu but lesser team? Just for the challenge? Can’t see it. What I can see is him being chuffed at a new challenge right where he is, in helping his team, which has much more potential right now than Renault, in their new chapter with Honda as a works team.

          I can see DR possibly going there, where he could make Renault ‘his’ team in the coming years, but I can’t see where that would make sense for AN.

          1. What else would Newey still be in F1 for other than the challenge? The guy has made more money than any sane person could ever spend.

            Also, as far as I know, the guy likes people rather than teams or engines. I remember him being extremely upset about the way Williams let Damon Hill go back in 96. He has been working with Renault for decades and I’m sure he’s made some friends that he’d like to continue working with. Maybe DR is one of them, too.

    6. You need to read Ross Brawns book to get a better understanding of Honda. The problems Honda experienced during the last 3 years with McLaren has maybe given Honda a lesson, but their inherent core belief that the Honda F1 engine should be made by Japanese Engineers in Japan, is the root cause of their problems – this issue had nothing to do with McLaren – on the contrary, McLaren (and Alonso) tried everything, but the relationship deteriorated in the process.
      I would be extremely surprised if Honda rises to the top with RBR, especially because RBR aren’t exactly known for being top of the class in managing relations with their engine supplier and Japanese companies are very proud and sensitive about the business of “not loosing face”.

    Comments are closed.