Back in 2018 when Red Bull Racing announced their partnership with the once ridiculed Honda hybrid engine, there was a great shock as well as worry over what the future of the team will be. However, this has all changed.
At the Mexican Grand Prix, ironically where Red Bull won with Max Verstappen powered by a Renault engine, their intentions were shown. The pace on the speed traps was outstanding, the engine competing with the once untouchable Mercedes engine.
The pace is now there, and with Adrian Newey at the helm as the chief designer at Red Bull, it looks promising. We all know that Ferrari will give them an engine because if so, they would have the fastest car due to the aerodynamic advantage and Mercedes would also not allow this, Toto Wolff blocking an attempt by Red Bull to get an engine.
So this only left Honda, as Red Bull’s relationship with the French giants Renault had fractured to a point where a new partnership was seen as not negotiable.
Honda’s development is not to be overlooked, with the “Joke era” of Honda over, Red Bull can compete as the strong power unit as well as the chassis and the infusion of both of the Red Bull teams will also help.
The driver partnership will also suit Honda and Red Bull. Verstappen is on paper the second best driver on the grid and the inclusion of the young French driver Pierre Gasly will be excellent as a second driver (Although Red Bull will not publicly say this) will also benefit the team if the constructor championship is close.
However, the main biggest difference is the attitude of those at Red Bull. During the terrible Mclaren Honda era, the attitude of the designers of Mclaren was to fit the engine in a certain size. However, at Red Bull, this is completely different.
Red Bull asked Honda not to build a compact engine, but to build the fastest engine and the aerodynamics will be sorted for it. This could allow Honda to be this year's dark horses, as their engine will be the fastest possible.
Overall, any advancements will be seen as a positive in gearing a challenge for titles with Max Verstappen in future years, and if there are a title challenge and competitiveness this year will show how far the Honda engine has gone since the Japanese company’s re-arrival with Mclaren in 2015.