Is Honda set to become a bigger engine supplier in Formula 1? Perhaps it's the solid pace of the Toro Rosso race cars as Red Bull Racing themselves have begun talking to Honda for a possible engine deal by next season.
In fact, Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko met with Honda motorsport chief Masahi Yamamoto in Baku. The two sat down for the first official talks regarding an engine deal beyond the 2018 season. According to Yamamoto, the first talk was 'positive', stating that “It’s the starting point for a potential future”. That said, both Red Bull Racing and Honda must make a decision by May 15. The FIA said that teams must declare their engine suppliers for next season by the deadline the organization had set.
With less than two weeks before the deadline, Yamamoto aims to use the remaining time to continue talks with Red Bull Racing. In their first meeting, both sides have talked about conditions and expectations for the future seasons. Yamamoto is set to discuss the matter with Honda board members and, afterwards, meet up with Red Bull Racing for further discussions. Should the deal push though, it will be the first time Honda will be supplying engines to two teams in the turbo-hybrid era. Honda is aiming for a multi-season deal that will power both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing beyond the 2020.
Following Honda's split from McLaren, it looks like the Japanese company has flourished with Toro Rosso, and the folks from its sibling team Red Bull Racing have noticed. Pierre Gasley brought his Honda-powered car to fourth in Bahrain while rookie Brendon Hartley turned in tenth in Baku. As it stands, the team outscores Haas, Sauber and Williams in the constructors championship race.