Toro Rosso technical director James Key insists his team would be boosted by a power unit deal between Red Bull and Honda in future and wouldn’t cost it works status.
For the first time in its history, Toro Rosso has a works power unit partnership after signing a deal with Honda while McLaren switched to Renault. As Honda’s only team at present, Toro Rosso has works status, but next year is likely to see Red Bull also use the Japanese manufacturer. Even if that happens, however, Key says his team will retain a works partnership with Honda.
“I think it’s an opportunity to work closer together on certain aspects which would be good for both teams, so in that respect I have no issues with it,” Key said. “We have a separate deal to whatever Red Bull would have, it’s not a combined contract, it’s an STR contract for three years as a works deal. I think if Red Bull came on board it could only be added to that for us.”
With Red Bull currently a Renault customer – along with McLaren – Key also doesn’t see the current set-up as difficult for the parent team even though Toro Rosso is the one with a works deal this season.
“It was a decision made jointly in some way I suppose. The teams are owned by the same company and that was a company decision in that respect. I think for us to be honest we’ve been keeping up with Honda for several years. We’ve very much wanted to work with them.
“I’ve known they’ve had their issues in the past but team principal [Franz Tost] knows them well, I’ve worked with them in the past, we felt we could have a very amicable relationship with them potentially because we have a kind of an understanding there and so far that’s been very much the case. I think for us it was a hope that we could do that and when the possibility arose, it was actually very possible for us.
“What Red Bull Racing do is ultimately their decision in the end but if we can share an engine supplier it would be very good. It’s not a tricky decision or anything like that, no.”