There was speculation regarding Aston Martin Red Bull Racing switching from Renault to Honda for their power units and now it’s been confirmed that the third-fastest team on the grid is subscribing to the Japanese manufacturer for the 2019 and 2020 seasons of Formula One.
Red Bull’s partnership with Renault has lasted 12 years during which they claimed eight world championship titles. This impressive run comes to an end after Renault continued to struggle to offer a title-contending engine for most of the V6 hybrid era and with the factory team on the grid, there might have been concern over getting the best that the French manufacturer can offer. Aston Martin is still the title partner for the team and is probably still evaluating the feasibility to join F1 post the final 2021 engine regulations, but for the next two years, the Bulls will be powered by a Honda unit.
Honda themselves returned to the sport in 2015 with McLaren and after three consecutive seasons of a car that was underpowered and unreliable, and after public jabs at the Honda engine’s failings by team’s driver Fernando Alonso, that partnership ended with the 2017 season. This year, Honda is partnered with Red Bull’s sister team – Scuderia Toro Rosso, which was previously powered by Renault engines too. The new Toro Rosso Honda partnership with the F1 rookie duo of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley has done well enough to be running seventh in the constructor’s championship after seven races, including an impressive P4 finish from the Frenchman at the Bahrain GP. If not for a couple of unfortunate incidents and accidents, the team might have had even more points on the table. But Honda’s progress has been evident and Red Bull sees the potential to get race winning engines from them. The concerns of fans and enthusiasts are widespread and valid to some extent. Will this be the last chance for Dani Ric to compete for the title till 2021? Or will the Aussie leave Red Bull for sure following this change? Or will Renault’s factory team surpass the Red Bulls in the coming season?
But let’s not forget that Aston Martin Red Bull’s Team Principal Chrisitan Horner isn’t someone who would agree to this if he did not see the team being able to compete at the front of the pack with a Honda engine. For now, they have a quick Sunday car and are giving both Ferrari and Mercedes a run for their money with two-thirds of the 2018 season still to go and that’s where the focus is going to be. The Briton commented on the new partnership that “We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso (which started in 2018), and by the scope of their ambition, which matches our own. We look forward to working with Honda in the coming years and to racing together in pursuit of F1’s biggest prizes.”
Honda’s pretty happy with this too, stating “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.” It would be great if that actually managed to happen, a Honda-powered engine winning the title.
What do you think of this RedBull-Honda partnership? Share your thoughts in the comments below. That’s all the info we have at this point, so stay tuned and subscribe to The Auto Loons for plenty more updates to come.