Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to switch to Honda engines starting in 2019
21 June 2018 - Autoblog
This ends a 12-year partnership with French automaker Renault
After a 12-season partnership with Renault, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team is switching engine suppliers. Starting next season, the team will use Honda powertrains, following the move this year of Red Bull's junior team, Toro Rosso. This effectively makes Red Bull Racing the Honda works team, something it's never truly benefited from since joining the sport in 2005 after purchasing the former Jaguar Racing team.
Honda has had a rough time since returning to F1 with McLaren back in 2015. Both sides hoped that the move would rekindle one of the most successful pairings in F1 history. Unfortunately, Honda powertrains were both underpowered and unreliable. The partnership proved to be so toxic that McLaren ended the deal early, moving to Renault power starting this season. On the other hand, Toro Rosso is off to a fine start this year with Honda, surely helping cement Red Bull's decision to drop Renault.
Since moving to Renault power in 2007, Red Bull Racing has won 57 races, four drivers' championships and four constructors championships, making it one of the most successful teams in F1 history. The move should be a huge boon for Honda. Red Bull Racing is currently one of the top teams, fighting for both podiums and wins, so the move shows how much faith Red Bull has in the Japanese automaker. When McLaren picked up Honda power, it was a mid-pack team that had just two podiums in the previous two seasons.
The Honda partnership is likely to play into Daniel Ricciardo's next move. His current contract with Red Bull racing ends at the end of 2018. He's one of the best and most talented drivers racing today and unlikely to stay with a team that might prevent him from winning races and fighting for championships.