Toro Rosso to keep ‘works’ Honda status

Jun.20 (GMM) Toro Rosso will not lose its works status now that senior team Red Bull has signed up to also be powered by Honda engines from 2019.

That is the news from Honda’s F1 general manager Masashi Yamamoto, following Tuesday’s official announcement.

Toro Rosso, a smaller team, has been revelling in its so-called ‘works’ status this year, but from 2019 might be seen as little more than a customer or secondary partner.

But Yamamoto insisted: “We’ll supply the same specification 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,” he added. “There won’t be a change in the current relationship between Honda and Toro Rosso.”

Indeed, Auto Bild claims that Toro Rosso – and Red Bull – will be much better off financially with Honda, as Renault was asking for EUR 18 million per season.

Yamamoto continued: “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.”

He admitted, however, that supplying Red Bull puts a lot of pressure on Honda, particularly after the failure of the McLaren collaboration.

“It is one of the top teams,” said Yamamoto says. “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 us Honda.

“As a starting point, we do not want to see Red Bull’s performance drop below its current level. But our target is to go further and do better than they are doing at the moment.”

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