Honda say that it is looking to challenge the top three with Toro Rosso in 2018. It was announced on Friday in Singapore that the two would form a partnership in 2018, with Toro Rosso breaking away from its engine contract it had in place with Renault.
Renault's spare allocation will now go to McLaren who decided to end its partnership with Honda after three disastrous seasons. Speaking at a press conference on Friday night, Honda's brand and communication director Katsuhide Moriyama clearly set out the manufacturer's aim.
"For Honda, Formula One started with a dream by our founder, Mr Soichiro Honda, and we have already had the history of more than 50 years with F1," Moriyama said. "For our company F1 is a very important culture as well as being in the DNA of our company. It is true that we have gone through a very tough situation and nobody is satisfied with the current results especially the board.
"It is true we have gone through many discussions due to the dissatisfaction of the Honda president and we have discussed it and how to improve the situation. Quitting F1 was never an option for us. It is our goal to overcome this tough challenge and get back to fighting with the frontrunners of the sport. Our spirit is going to come back and next year our goal is to fight for the top three at the top of the grid."
Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost was also present at the conference, but played down any chances of challenging at the front of the grid: "Toro Rosso is not Ferrari and Mercedes, we don't have the infrastructure," he said. "But I can promise you that we, within our possibilities, will do the best possible job and the rest we will see.
"It is not always the money that is decisive for success and I hope Toro Rosso will work efficiently because this is our slogan, to get the most out of the package. The rest we will see and the future will show. If necessary then of course we can bring in more people and increase the infrastructure, whatever is necessary to get the success that Honda wishes."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing