French Grand Prix – Masahi Yamamoto, manager of Honda’s motorsport division, has outlined the Japanese manufacturer’s position regarding contract talks with Red Bull Racing.
Red Bull Racing have swapped to Honda power for 2019 onwards, ending their 11 year partnership with Renault. In the wake of the announcement, Yamamoto released a statement outlining the goals for the new partnership:
“I think now all other teams have already started the development for 2019 so we will also have to start work on the matching of the chassis and the power unit with the team. Though we have more time compared to last year’s Toro Rosso situation, it is still a relatively shorter timeframe than everyone else. So we have to make sure we have good communication in order to have smooth development together.”
“As a starting point, we do not want to see Red Bull Racing’s performance drop below its current level. But our target is to go further and do better than they are doing at the moment.”
“We’ll supply the same specification PU to both Red Bull and Toro Rosso. From a manufacturer’s point of view, it doesn’t make sense to identify either team as either works or customer as current regulations oblige us to supply the same power unit to all our teams.
“In that sense, this contract puts the three parties into an equal position. Just as was the case with Toro Rosso, we felt a sincere respect from Red Bull throughout the conversation that led to this contract. We appreciate them showing us such an attitude even after seeing our difficult time over the previous three years in F1.”
“Though we are not going into further details of the contract than shown in the press release, I should say the condition is very fair for both parties. We feel that we will have to live up to their high expectations, but can see their respect for us, and we will put everything we have into the development for next season.”
“When we returned to F1 in 2015, it was always our intention to be running two teams from this year, therefore we have the organisational structure to deal with that. In addition, as Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso are in the same family, we are able to have a simpler organisation on the Honda side. But we still have some more room for improvement in terms of the organisation and personnel and we will work on this very soon with the two teams.
“Clearly it is an advantage to have factories close to one another. Though there are plenty of technologies nowadays like TV conference and we are fully utilising them, I believe face-to-face communication is still very important as it can still make a very big difference.”
“There won’t be a change in the current relationship between Honda and Toro Rosso. But we expect mutual transaction between the teams and Honda within the regulations, so that we need to make sure we maximise that advantage in order to get good synergy together.
“We are now working on development to get further improvements to challenge for even better results for the rest of this season.”
“Red Bull Racing is one of the top teams. It has won several championships and this year too it has already won some races. In addition, it is also obvious that they have a very good chassis and this means we’ll have better chances of winning races. This gives further motivation to all the members of Honda, but at the same time, it is a huge pressure and responsibility for us.
“However, it is Honda’s nature to always aspire to a very high target, and I think that’s what makes Honda Honda.”