Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko insists the team believes in Honda’s potential ahead of Toro Rosso’s switch to the Japanese power unit manufacturer.
Having previously been supplied by Renault in 2017, Toro Rosso has taken over from McLaren as the sole Honda partner from this year onward in what is essentially a swap of power unit suppliers as McLaren becomes a Renault customer. With Red Bull’s contract with Renault set to expire at the end of the year, Marko says the team will be watching how Toro Rosso fares but has faith in Honda’s abilities.
“We are very happy with the Toro Rosso and Honda cooperation,” Marko told the official Formula 1 website. “Toro Rosso will put all its efforts into making a competitive chassis. We do believe in Honda – otherwise we wouldn’t have made that deal.
“I am very impressed with the facilities that they have – and their determination to win. It is just a matter of bringing everything together and we believe that this moment will arrive sooner than everybody is expecting. We will observe very closely – beyond 2018 everything is open!”
And Marko is also expecting to see a stronger performance from Toro Rosso as a team in 2018 having had such a disrupted season last year, with driver changes seeing a new line-up of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley racing together for the final three rounds.
“Toro Rosso started  reasonably. Then they ran into unbelievable reliability problems – unbelievable! Also in terms of the car development, it was not what it should have been. Now they are focused on next year and their cooperation with Honda. Since the announcement all their efforts have been going into that.
“The drivers? All the drivers the team started the season with were gone at the end! [Carlos] Sainz is loaned to Renault; [Daniil] Kvyat is gone, so Toro Rosso had to restart in midseason with two blank pages. I think for the circumstances Gasly and Hartley did really well. And the good news is that Brendon doesn’t have to switch anymore between Porsche and F1, so I am sure for next season Toro Rosso has a very promising driver line-up.”