Franz Tost already sees benefits in Honda partnership for 2018 F1 season
The Red Bull junior team gets its exclusive engine partner for the upcoming season.
With McLaren switching to Renault power untis from the 2018 Formula 1 season, the Woking-based outfit will become one of the customer teams of the French manufacturer. Whereas Toro Rosso with the Honda engines, gets the 'works' status.
While for McLaren, it seems like a relief to end a strenuous relationship with the Japanese manufacturer, for Toro Rosso, it is all-together a different world as it becomes the only team to run the Honda engines, which allows them much more freedom in designing its cars.
Keeping aside the unknown performance and reliability factors for the new season, Toro Rosso's team principal Franz Tost already feels a big difference from its past years with Ferrari and Renault. "I am very happy, because we are their only partner in F1," he said to F1 website.
"I see it already with the design of the monocoque: we can come up with our own ideas and are not having to take what others have planned for themselves. That is a big advantage. And because we are the only one, we’re sure will have enough power units and parts for the whole season!
"It is fantastic to be the ‘benchmark’ for an engine manufacturer. We are on schedule [with the car]. Of course every other day we have video conferences – so yes, there is a very close cooperation already."
The Japanese manufacturer, in turn, are also optimistic about their partnership with Toro Rosso. Its out-going F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa had implied that they will not rush into predicting the future and will go about the job systematically.
While on the engine front, they expect better reliability in the coming seasons, on the managerial front, they have already shaped things around, as former F1 and IndyCar engineer Toyoharu Tanabe given the supervising role from Hasegawa.
Most importantly, with the deal between Red Bull Racing and Renault running out at the end of the 2018 season, Honda will be hoping for an improved performance in terms of power and reliability, so as to gain Red Bull's trust and become their engine partners in the future.
Meanwhile, talking about the 2017 season, Tost lamented the loss of Carlos Sainz in the second half for losing out to Renault in the battle for sixth position, despite the solid start in the first half. A mid-season change around and lack of developments hurt the Faenza-based squad.
Among all the Red Bull drivers, Daniil Kvyat was the biggest loser with the Russian not only losing his F1 drive, but was also dropped from the junior programme. Despite the lack of results, Tost believes Kvyat still has the potential to do well in his career and that he deserves a F1 shot.
"I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him," he said.
"He was involved in many incidents – but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.
"Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team. Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point.
"He wanted too much in the first hundred metres – success by any means! That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works. I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1."
The Russian is believed to be in the running for the Williams F1 seat, but recent rumours suggest the front-running contender to be his countryman Sergey Sirotkin. The other drivers whose names are listed with the seat are Pascal Wehrlien, Paul di Resta and Robert Kubica.