The Red Bull Formula One team hasn’t had much luck in their quest to ditch their faulty Renault power units after this year. Now they’re being linked to an engine manufacturer whose cars have been even slower than the Renaults this year: Honda.
Yesterday, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo said that he was confident he would be driving next year in a pre-race press conference at Circuit of the Americas, despite Red Bull’s threats to quit the sport:
Not much has changed to be honest. Yeah, we’re still not really confirmed with anything yet. From my side I’m still confident I’ll be racing. Confident we’ll be there, hopefully competitive. I think that’s more the concern. I have confidence we’ll be on the grid it’s just the concern is can we be competitive? I want to make sure we can be. This year, obviously we have got a couple of podiums, which is nice, but certainly not enough to keep us extremely happy. So, yeah, we want to be competitive again and I think that’s just as important as being on the grid.
Today, Motorsport.com reports that there are rumors linking Red Bull to Honda, despite Honda previously saying that they would not provide customer engines in 2016. A Honda spokeswoman told Motorsport.com:
As [Honda chief officer of motorsport Yasuhisa Arai] has said, Honda has no plans of supplying a second team next year, and this has not changed.
As Honda have always said since returning to Formula 1, we are open to supplying additional teams in the near future.
However, as it is very late in the 2015 calendar year to make such decisions, it is unlikely that we will be supplying any other teams for the 2016 season.
The combination of a new power unit and a new chassis will require additional development from both parties.
Honda would need to seek the approval of current F1 partner McLaren before they could offer to supply Red Bull. Unfortunately for Ricciardo and all the others who yearn for a competitive Red Bull, Honda has struggled to develop a competitive power unit for McLaren this year. However, they have only been working with McLaren’s two cars data in developing the power unit, and Motorsport.com points out that working with more cars could give Honda the proper feedback to get that power unit up to par.
Honda made some progress in their latest upgrade, however, they’re still off pace compared to the others. However, with Ferrari and Mercedes refusing to supply Red Bull with power units in 2016 and a feud with Renault so bad that Red Bull is likely to snub Renault’s latest upgraded power units this weekend, Honda is the only option left.
Motorsport.com suggests that Red Bull could enlist F1 head honcho Bernie Ecclestone to help convince Honda to supply them with power units next year. Sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso is still rumored to be taking on Ferrari power units next year in place of their Renaults.
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