Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost is confident that Honda will soon transform its dismal form and performance into strong results. Next season, Toro Rosso will take up Honda engines after McLaren decided that it will divorce from the Japanese manufacturer at the end of the year.
Toro Rosso currently run with Renault power units and had a deal in place for 2018 with Renault, however that agreement has since been scrapped. Honda re-entered the sport in 2015 to power McLaren, but the partnership has been far from successful.
Toro Rosso now enters a new chapter, while the relationship will be monitored closely by parent team Red Bull, who may well run with Honda engines in 2019. Tost thinks that Honda will be a lot quicker next year - more so than what some may people think.
"The beauty is that we expect a successful cooperation with Honda, because otherwise we would not have done the deal. I am convinced that Honda will sort out all technical topics – and I am also convinced that the engine is already much better than many people think because McLaren is quite close to us – unfortunately – and sometimes even faster than us. So I am sure that this cooperation will be successful."
This weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly makes his debut for Toro Rosso, stepping in place of Daniil Kvyat. When asked if Kvyat would ever return, Tost replied: "It is all open. He is still a Red Bull driver and has a valid contract. Yes, there is nobody else from our junior programme. But let’s see."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing