► Red Bull Honda 2019-2020 deal
► Leaves Renault after 12 years
► Honda to get double the data
In an announcement today, Red Bull has revealed it’ll be using Honda engines in 2019 and 2020 – finally ditching Renault PUs. The move comes after 12 years under Renault power, with four of those yielding drivers’ championships for Sebastian Vettel.
‘We have always taken decisions such as this dispassionately and with only one criteria in mind – do we believe the outcome will allow us to compete at a higher level,’ said team principal Christian Horner. ‘After careful consideration and evaluation we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team.’
‘Honda’s alignment with both Red Bull Formula 1 teams provides enormous potential,' Horner added. ‘Honda will have access to a wealth of data from both outfits, with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing leading the way, and the opportunities for faster, more effective and more competitive development are doubled.’
F1 engines: weighing up the options
It’s been no secret that the Milton Keynes-based team has been weighing up which power unit to use for the past three months. Despite early successes with Vettel, Red Bull has openly criticised its Renault supplier in the hybrid era. With Mercedes and Ferrari unwilling to supply engines to such a close competitor, Honda was the only other viable option.
Thanks to its involvement in the Honda-powered Toro Rosso team, Red Bull has been able to analyse the progress of both the Japanese engine and its own Renault unit over the course of the season – and it felt Honda had better performance.
Have McLaren made another mistake?
The move also sees Red Bull go the opposite way to McLaren - a pretty surprising decision when you consider Honda’s sub-par performance for the past three years. From 2015 to 2017, McLaren and Honda suffered some seriously poor results, with extreme packaging resulting in an engine that just wasn’t powerful or reliable enough.
However, with Red Bull privy to both sets of engine data, the Honda must be the better choice going forward; perhaps McLaren has made the wrong decision again? Time will tell...
Either way, it’ll be interesting how Red Bull Honda fares next year. For the past few years, Red Bull has produced one of the best chassis, and it’s only been the engine that has prevented its cars from being championship contenders. Perhaps Red Bull Honda will see Adrian Newey’s cars back consistently on the top step.