Honda Partnership a ‘Release’ for Toro Rosso
For the first time in its Formula One history, Red Bull Racing’s sister team Toro Rosso will enjoy an exclusive partnership with an engine constructor after spending years as merely a customer—and James Key, Toro Rosso’s technical director, couldn’t be more optimistic about what that means for the future of the team.
“It feels very exciting,” he told Motorsport. “Like a release really, because it’s the sort of thing that you always want to do to make the next step with your team, and it hasn’t been possible until now. It’s a huge challenge, and it’s also a huge responsibility to that company as well.”
In the past, Toro Rosso was supplied with engines by either Renault or Ferrari, but in both cases the suppliers had bigger investments elsewhere. In the early 2010s, Red Bull was the most important Renault-powered team—now it’s Renault Sport. And Ferrari will always have Ferrari as its primary interest. But now, with Honda as its exclusive partner, Toro Rosso can look forward to real progress and being more than just a customer team at the low end of the midfield.
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“It’s nice to have a partner rather than a supplier,” said Key. “You can really talk about the whole project and work out what the globally best solutions can be.”
Though the quality of communication between McLaren and Honda had come under scrutiny during their turbulent relationship since 2015, Key has not yet encountered the same difficulties. “I have to say that the communication flow has been really good, they are incredibly quick at being able to respond to requests and questions. They seem to have a lot of information available, either to hand, or they’re able to find out pretty quickly if you need a particular bit of data. We’ve had a lot of technical discussions, and they have supported it and communicated it very well.”
With both Honda and Renault seemingly on the rise, next year’s midfield battles are sure to be explosive.
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News Source: Motorsport.com