Helmut Marko admits Red Bull-Honda possible for 2019

Published on 19 Feb 2018 11:15

Red Bull will decide in the first half of 2018 whether to switch to Honda power next year. After the McLaren-Honda divorce, the Japanese engine supplier has moved on to Red Bull's second team, Toro Rosso.

Dr Helmut Marko, the Red Bull official, said he has been "positively surprised" with what he has seen from Honda so far. "So far we're positively surprised by Honda, also in terms of their dedication and enthusiasm," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

"I think they have learned from the mistakes that certainly happened. So far, according to the test stands, the engine is reliable. I think it will be possible for the engine to catch up to Renault level by mid season," Marko added.

And if that happens, Red Bull is likely to make the switch from Renault to Honda for 2019. "The regulations have changed so that you have to announce what engine you want to compete with the following year by the summer," said Marko. "We will analyse thoroughly and then make a decision." (GMM)

Replies (14)
Posts: 2
It's just a matter of time before Honda catches up. It's the reliability that worries me.
US mcbhargav 19 Feb 2018 16:010
Posts: 725
its cue for Ricciardo to find emloyment somewhere else, if he wants to be a champ.
Posts: 246
hhmmm - I really want Honda to be successful, with all the money they are ploughing in, and presumably NOT paying Alonso anymore Id like to see them enter a works team and not have to take flack from the buyer teams. Honda are racing, simple as - more heritage than most other teams put together - F1 needs them badly.
Posts: 4
They had a works team but they bailed the moment there was a downturn in the economy. I was a little surprised that they returned to be honest. I'm really not sure how badly F1 need Honda, but it'd be nice to see them field a competitive engine.
SE calle.itw 19 Feb 2018 19:440
Posts: 5626
It isnt surprising if you look at the DNA of Honda and look at the people in charge back then compared to now along with the economical situation back then vs now. Withdrawing from F1, along with cancelling the upcoming NSX (now labelled the Honda HSV, and it raced in Super GT up until recently) were rash moves, but remember that the economical crisis back then were pretty severe, so while it was painful for us Honda fans, I sorta see why they did it. Furthermore, the withdrawal from F1 came while they were having a more "money first" approach, compared to their earlier attitude of "fun and glory first". They've begun to get back to those roots, with entries in F1 and endurance racing. And Honda has mostly been just an engine supplier, so returning as that makes sense, and to have the chance at supplying Red Bull of all teams must be great for them. They cant afford losing this opportunity.
SE calle.itw 19 Feb 2018 16:530
Posts: 5626
If Honda catches up to Renault this year, be it all around or just by better horsies or reliability alone, they will switch. There is no reason for Red Bull to stay a customer in such a scenario when they can become a works team and get Honda cash to boot. I think Red Bull' statements are means to put pressure on both suppliers at one. "Get good, or we'll go to Honda/stick with Renault". They are the ultimate winner either way.
Posts: 398
As I understood it last year, Renault didn't want to continue supplying Red Bull after 2018. Since Ferrari and Mercedes were "allowed" to say no to a PU supply to RBR in 2015, why shouldn't Renault be allowed to do the same?
SE calle.itw 19 Feb 2018 18:360
Posts: 5626
Neither of them want to stay with the other, but bear in mind that Red Bull, or TAG really, pay hefty sums for their current engine deal, far more than they used to. Neither like the other, but Red Bull will be where the better engine is, and Renault, like most companies, like money. It could very well be that Renault simply ditches Red Bull, but now Red Bull wont be without options.
Posts: 12
I don’t think Red Bull has a choice. They despise Renault and Renault despises them. Even if the Honda is behind Renault in reliability and power at mid-season as long as they are showing progress they have to take the gamble and switch. The upside of finally having a works engine is too great. Staying with Renault will probably means significantly higher costs. Let’s just hope Honda seizes this opportunity.
US ajpennypacker 20 Feb 2018 19:260
Posts: 1402
Red Bull can inly blame themselves for this... they have been a terrible partner. They won 4 consecutive championships with Renault, then had one so-so season, and a bad season, and they turned on that very partner that gave them glory.
SE calle.itw 20 Feb 2018 20:000
Posts: 5626
Lets be frank here: Even back in the V8 era, Renault didnt have the best engine. Even then they were back on power compared to Ferrari and Mercedes. Having a partner and winning with said partner isnt the same as winning thanks to said partner. Renault hasnt had perfect chassis all of the time, god no, but they have no doubt been the stronger in that relation.
US ajpennypacker 20 Feb 2018 20:450
Posts: 1402
@Calle winning is winning. A Renault engine has been world champion in 6 out of the last 12 seasons. Ferrari has won once. Mercedes 6. I get what you're saying about Renault, but it's hard to argue against the aforementioned facts.
SE calle.itw 20 Feb 2018 21:030
Posts: 5626
You mean the last 13, right? I see your point, but its not necessarily the case. The amount of Microsoft Internet Explorer shares owned correlate almost perfectly to the amount of murders committed in the U.S, yet Im pretty sure the two arent related. I dont think Renault has hampered Red Bull up until 2014, but before they werent the leading cause to Red Bull winning championships.
Posts: 625
Interesting debate. There’s a startling similarity between Honda & Renault in that when they both pulled out of F1, they dumped all their expertise which ended up scattered among the remaining teams. I think Ferrari gained most on the engine front during the V10 era. Now they’re back and trying to rebuild what they had but it’s hard yards. The key people have gone, retired, moved, passed away. It’s a fascinating game. Who will win? It’s hard to say but Honda, one of the most successful car brands in the world have the edge in resources. Renault? Innovators in the past and one of the cornerstones of Grand Prix racing. We need them both in F1 and I wish them both all the success in the world. But, if you were Honda, would you take Marko’s continuous barrage of insults against your products? I believe Honda will be looking at this very closely..Full speed into the new season!

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