Honda 'confident' of improved reliability in 2018 with Toro Rosso
After a dismal three seasons with McLaren upon its Formula 1 return in the hybrid era, Honda is already looking ahead to working with its new partners, Toro Rosso.
With the Woking-based outfit deciding to switch to Renault, the Japanese manufacturer found a new home with the Red Bull junior team for 2018 and beyond.
Even though the partnership is being said to be an encouraging one, with Toro Rosso effectively becoming a works outfit - there is still questions marks over the power unit's performance and reliability.
Ironically, both McLaren and Toro Rosso are currently facing troubles with their respective suppliers, as penalties keep coming for every new parts they bring.
However, Honda is still optimistic with its 2018 advancements as it will not overhaul its power unit concept, but merely make adjustments - which they feel, will be enough to improve the reliability.
"From last year to this year, we have completely changed the configuration concept of the engine," said Honda's Yusuke Hasegawa. "We tried to do a little bit too much, the modification.
"So, that’s why I have decided to keep the concept for next year, so that from a reliability point of view we are pretty much confident.
"So, [now] we need to squeeze more performance from the same concept of the engine, so that’s what we are currently doing," the Japanese added.
Earlier in the season, Hasegawa admitted to having troubles with its 'oil tank design and severe vibrations through the transmission' - from the pre-season, which put them on the backfoot again.
But, with another year of developments in 2017 since the pre-season testing, Honda is confident of a better show in 2018, since all the work put in this season will reap benefits next year.
At the same time Toro Rosso's Franz Tost feels Honda's past reputation doesn't affect its future partnership and that the Faenza-based outfit will do all to produce a competitive chassis to match with Honda.
"I must say that we from the Toro Rosso side have to build the most competitive car. This is what we can do from our side," he said in Brazil. "What happened in other teams and during the collaboration in the past is not our topic.
"What we will provide Honda with is hopefully a very close and fruitful co-operation on the operational side and once more our target is to come up with a competitive chassis because I’m convinced that Honda knows what they have to do.
"And they are on a good path because we have already had a couple of meetings and I am more than sure that they will improve their performance next year and hopefully we have a good car and then I am sure that we will have a real competitive package," he added.
Meanwhile, Tost reiterated that Frenchman Pierre Gasly and Kiwi Brendon Hartley will be Toro Rosso's drivers for the 2018 season, but added that the final decision lies with Red Bull only.
On the engine side, when asked to give Honda's opinion on the proposed 2021 regulations, Hasegawa chose not to share much details, but it feels that there is room for further modifications.
"Obviously, we have started the discussion with the FIA so I don’t think it’s a good idea to say yes or no in this public situation, but we are respecting the FIA’s decision of course, that they are trying to create a good competition for the FIA for the Formula One.
"But we are thinking there is some room to modify so that we are trying to find the good solution, but obviously the cost reduction is very important and we are welcoming new manufacturers so from that point of view we would like to keep discussing with the FIA."