Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says communication with Honda will be the key to a successful partnership next year. After a season in which Honda supplied power units to Red Bull's junior squad Toro Rosso, a deal was decided in June for the Japanese manufacturer to give engines to the energy drink squad in 2019.
Red Bull has failed to mount a title challenge in the turbo hybrid era running Renault power units, with the relationship between the two dilapidating over the last number of years. Honda, who re-entered the sport with McLaren in 2015, has been inferior to its rivals in terms of both power output and reliability.
However, it did make a leap from 2017 to 2018, and for the first time since its return, next year it will supply to more than one team. But Horner says that there must be a strong communication link in order for the marriage to work.
“Communication in any business, in particular in this sport, is a vital element,” Horner said. “Obviously Honda being based in Japan but their UK base is just around the corner from us in Milton Keynes. We’ve obviously got a huge amount of discussion going on between the groups and so far it’s all been very positive.”
Honda spent three years powering McLaren, however the stint was anything but a success. Now separated from the Woking squad, Honda F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto says the communication was much stronger with Toro Rosso than it was with McLaren.
"We had much better communication with the team compared to the past,” Yamamoto said. “As a result of that we had better connection between the chassis and power unit on the technical side."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing