Honda thinks it will have a "more equal partnership" with Toro Rosso in 2018 after three ill-fated years with McLaren. The Japanese marque's Yusuke Hasegawa admitted this week that Honda was "not ready" to link up with a "top team" like McLaren back in 2015.
So with that relationship now ended, Honda will power the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso cars next year, and Hasegawa said engineers are already hard at work. "We've been the ones making the majority of requests so far, but it's fair to say this will be a more equal partnership than it was with McLaren in terms of leadership," he said. "Obviously Honda as a company is huge but we had little recent F1 experience. So from that point of view McLaren was still leading us. That won't be the same with Toro Rosso," Hasegawa added.
He said Honda will begin the Toro Rosso relationship with an engine that is based on the one used by McLaren this year. "It will remain the same power unit concept from this year, so we are able to use the current one as the starting point," Hasegawa confirmed.
But he said that with lessons learned from the McLaren era, Honda will not be setting any early targets for 2018. "We have to provide Brendon (Hartley) and Pierre (Gasly) with the performance they need," said the Japanese. "Of course they are very good drivers but they are also rookies in F1 so it's too early to say what we can target from a constructors' championship point of view." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing