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Red Bull is ‘Hugely Impressed’ with Honda Engine Progress

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Red Bull is putting a 12-year relationship with Renault behind as it looks forward to a future with Honda, and so far the team says it’s been “hugely impressed” with the Japanese manufacturer’s progress in 2017.

Since the new V6 turbo hybrid engines were introduced in 2014, Red Bull and Renault have failed to seriously challenge for the championship, winning just 11 races over the course of four years. Renault has consistently produced a weaker engine than its rivals and Red Bull is hoping that switching to Honda, with which it would have an exclusive partnership, will help put an end to that.

The first step was uniting Honda with Toro Ross, Red Bull’s sister team, for something of an exploration year that would allow Red Bull to assess whether going ahead with Honda would be the right move. So far, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner is pleased with what he’s seen.

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“We’ve been impressed with the progress that Honda have been making during the course of the year,” he said. “Obviously, we’re now working closely regarding incorporating the engine into RB15 for next year. I have to say the communication has been excellent between both companies.”

“We’ve hugely impressed by the effort, commitment, desire, determination to succeed that there is in Honda,” he added.

During practice at the Russian Grand Prix and then in the race in Japan, Honda introduced an extremely promising update to its engine that had everyone raving about it, despite some difficulties with its integration in the Toro Rosso chassis.

“It’s obvious that progress—and good progress—is being made and that’s really encouraging for us,” Horner said. “In-roads are being made to reduce that gap to the benchmark in Formula 1. You need all elements to be performing to win in this sport, and of course the engine is a key element. We’re looking very much forward to 2019 and starting this relationship with Honda.”

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