Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Red Bull-Honda will win races, Tost predicts

2019 F1 season

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Honda has reached a “very high level” with its new Formula 1 power unit which will allow Red Bull to be able to win races with them, according to Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost.

Red Bull has joined Toro Rosso in using the Japanese power units this year. Although Toro Rosso collected many grid penalties last year due to power unit replacements, Tost believes that has allowed Honda to accelerate the development of its design.

“In 2018 we knew from the very beginning onwards that it’s a development process which we have to go through and this is what we did,” he told RaceFans and other media during today’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“In the meantime I think that Honda has reached a very high level on the reliability side as well as on the performance side and I don’t expect that we will have so many additional engine changes this year. I think that first of all we calculated three engines or three power units and the rest we will see.”

Tost said he is “very happy” with the progress Honda has made.

“I must say that all the expectations I put into them they delivered and I’m quite sure that they will close the gap to the top teams and that Red Bull Racing will be able to win races with them and that we will also gain a lot of advantages out of this co-operation.”

Read RaceFans’ exclusive interview with Franz Tost in Wednesday’s RacingLines column.

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Author information

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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26 comments on “Red Bull-Honda will win races, Tost predicts”

  1. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: it’s ridiculous to have B-teams in the sport supporting A-teams.

    1. But the A-team support their second lab financially…

    2. How can an A-team have profit from a B-team?

        1. No, the secondairy (B team) profits from the advancement from the A team. So they can use it to improve b team performance. An A team profiting from a B team makes no sence.

          1. @pietkoster In this case, with last year being spent using STR to progress the Honda Pu, indeed RBR should profit from that work. They’re likely a lot further ahead than had they not put Honda pu’s in the STR’s last year and rather this season being the first for either Red Bull team with Honda. Newey will have had a full season to observe how he was going to design his 2019 car around a pu that he would be able to actually put his hands on.

          2. @pietkoster
            What @robbie said. Also, it’s plausibility check time: Red Bull is running two teams so that Toro Rosso can be more successful. Sound implausible yet? Well, it should.

            In addition to being a testing ground for Red Bull’s new engine partner as well as their second choice drivers, they can also serve to test new mechanical and aerodynamic parts and concepts for their A team. The reason for this is simple: Toro Rosso’s results do not really matter to Red Bull. Their purpose is to go through all the teething troubles in lieu of the team that really matters.

    3. I mean, for God’s sake, it’s the team principal of the B-team predicting that the A-team will win races; not even his own team! What a bloody mess.

  2. And here goes the spin machine already, before even the remotely meaningful first lap times were registered …

    1. True but I think if you were in Tost’s position you’d be saying the same things, no? As a Max fan I sure hope he is not just blowing smoke, and I think he would be more mum if he weren’t so confident. That said, I have been all along and remain only willing to see it to believe it with Honda. And if Tost was exaggerating, and let’s say Honda still can’t crank their Pu to competitive level and be reliable as well, I’m still going to have patience as this is year one for RBR/Honda. It would be quite a feat just for RBR to be immediately as competitive and win a few races this season as they did last year.

      1. @robbie

        True but I think if you were in Tost’s position you’d be saying the same things, no?

        Probably. But I feel their point of view is over-published, despite mainly consisting of repetitive, predictable statements that hardly ever amount to anything more than white noise amplified by self-interest. He’s saying Honda have improved. Which is pretty much non-news, as anything but an improvement would be a catastrophe. Then he says Red Bull will win races, but carefully avoids any mention of a time frame.
        In fact, absolutely nothing he says would be inconsistent with Red Bull anticipating a terrible setback season. But he’s already putting a spin on it, and it is by no means a coincidence that he does so before testing has really begun.

        1. @nase Fair comment and a good observation on your part that he doesn’t specifically say this year.

  3. I’m sceptical about Honda’s progress really. It would surprise me if they were helping Red Bull beat the factory squads in their first season together. Red Bull/Toro Rosso made (face saving) bold claims about the Honda progress but in reality they barely progressed at all last year with Bahrain being a fluke.

    1. For sure it is quite difficult discerning where they actually stand, but we’ll start to get some sort of picture, albeit still not a completely accurate one, now that testing has begun.

      I think we all just need to see Honda prove they have made big strides. Even if what Tost is saying is pure rhetoric, it is hard to imagine last year wasn’t STR being a test bed in prep for RBR to have the Honda pu’s, so it is very difficult to know if there was progress last year or not, as we didn’t see it translate on the track. But then again it was an STR car, not a top car, so progress was always going to be relatively benign with them from the outside looking in.

      I think Tost is saying what he has to at this point, for he is not going to express pessimism publicly. The rest is simply soon going to be revealed. Much cannot be gleaned from testing, but much can. And then soon RBR will have no choice but to crank the Honda pu to race levels and show us it can sustain that over a race.

  4. Honda will have made progress, but so will have the others ahead of them. Red bull will win races because of their chassis. Every one of their wins since their existence has been with an engine inferior to Mercedes and ferrari, in both the V8 era and v6 hybrid. (In the V8 era Renault even used to get special dispensation from the fia and rivals to bring their engine up to performance, though it was claimed for reliability) . This will be similar to last year , a best or near best chassis making do with a nearly there engine. Now imagine them with a ferrari or Mercedes engine.

    1. I think you might well be right, and to me if RBR can switch pu makers and immediately be where they were last year, that would be quite a feat, albeit a feat aided by the experimental year with STR/Honda. Lol a few years ago Mercedes and Ferrari did imagine RBR with their pu’s in the back, and they didn’t like the image their minds conjured up.

  5. Any engine could be competitive and potentially win races sitting at the back of the Red Bull chassis. If they kept their speed Honda now knows that they DO have a good chassis underneath, unlike the McLaren days. So if Red Bull wins at Monaco again, I’d not say it’s “because Honda’s progress”, rather Red Bulls prowess…

    1. I think you are really saying that Newey is awesome. And that we know. I don’t disagree with what you have said but let’s not forget that the integration of chassis to Pu is key too, so if they win at Monaco, Honda will definitely deserve some credit too.

      1. @robbie sure, but we (or rather, they) didn’t credit Renault for their win… and it was a very weak engine in their view. To me, even with a lot of progress, it’ll feel like the RBR chassis is dragging the Honda engine forward, instead of the Honda engine pushing the RBR chassis.

  6. I hope so, and with preferably Gasly taking the (presumably) occasional race wins here and there, or at least a single win and preferably in France.

  7. I am pretty sure Honda has completely redesigned their PU to RBR demands. (First impressions is that the engine sounds differently than before.) And money is not an issue as is knowledge. It is now waiting how the other PU and cars performe compare to Honda. At Honda they must have realised this is not an easy job and they dared to take the challenge anyway. In Japanese culture where loss of face is devastating they must have been confident from the start. No worries for RBR and VES.

    1. @pietkoster From what Horner said in the off-season they were always prepared to work around Honda’s needs, and he has said that Honda settled on a final design for their current Pu last year, so both Honda and RBR are on the same page in terms of the Honda design. In other words I don’t think RBR demanded a specific design from Honda. If any ‘demand’ would be made, but rather I’d like to think of it as agreement, it would be that Honda not change their design again after whatever point it was that they all settled together on their current one.

      1. I agree, in my comment I ment the demand of RBR for speed at the straights. Renault PU losing 2 tenth of a second compared to Mercedes and Ferrari. According to Renault comments they where and are never into getting that speed at all costs. Something Honda must have promised to RBR.

        1. Very true about the lagging straight line speed with Renault. They certainly seemed to be ‘just’ missing that extra 50hp or what have you, vs Merc and Ferrari. And then of course the reliability. Not sure what Honda might have ‘promised’ as I’m not sure they would word it that way, but certainly what RBR were going to get with Honda is more of a ‘works’ feel to the whole thing.

  8. i think Redbull are a threat to both ferrari and mercedes this time.

  9. Let’s hope on a spectaculair season.

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