R ed Bull declares war on Mercedes. The World Cup third finally wants to compete for the World Cup again. In the five-year hybrid era, the bottom line is that there are two runner-up world titles in 2014 and 2016, as well as twelve GP victories. Not enough for a racing team that dominated Formula 1 from 2010 to 2013.
From Red Bull's point of view, the reason for the defeats had a name. The team management and the engineers blamed engine partner Renault. According to Red Bull's calculations, the French V6 turbo lacked between 40 (race) and 80 hp (qualification). Therefore, the marriage with Renault was divorced in the summer after twelve years. The new bride is called Honda.
Honda wants to close the power gap
The experience at Toro Rosso encouraged those responsible. The junior team was used as a test laboratory last year. With the third expansion stage, the Japanese engine gained 35 hp in the second half of the season. In its last version, the Honda unit was only missing 30 hp from the best-in-class Mercedes and Ferrari.
This gap should be almost closed by the start of the season. There should also be a real qualifying power mode so that the drivers don't always have to catch up during the race. Red Bull and Honda have set themselves big goals. The world championship title must come in the next two years. Motorsport boss Helmut Marko asserts: “We have planned the world championship title for 2019.”
Performance more important than reliability
However, those responsible expect that the aggressive further development has its price. It comes at the expense of reliability. “We are counting on five engines for the season,” reveals Marko. In order tothe pilots would have to expect starting place penalties in two races. “If the engine penalties are used wisely, the damage is minimal. Performance is more important. ”
As in the previous year, Honda will probably use Toro Rosso as a guinea pig again. Whenever an expansion stage promises a few extra horsepower and is ready for action, the junior pilots are used for a practical test. In 2018, the two Toro Rosso racers each started five times further back.