Honda is excited by the potential Toro Rosso has shown over the two years of its partnership so far, ahead of the team’s first season racing as Alpha Tauri.
The junior Red Bull team was first to partner with Honda following the Japanese manufacturer’s split from McLaren, and its work in 2018 was crucial in Red Bull then also making the switch last year. While Red Bull’s three victories were the headline results, Toro Rosso also had the most successful season in its history in 2019, and Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe believes there can be further progress as the power unit supplier improves its way of working with two teams.
“I believe (the team can go even further),” Tanabe told RACER. “Especially after the summer break, their performance looked to have improved well. They are getting stronger. I think they will have a strong car for this year, then I hope we will have more good results next year with Toro Rosso and Red Bull.
“I’m basically satisfied with the two-team support for (2019). It was challenging, of course, then more staff here, more PUs here. So far everything went reasonably well for both teams. I asked the people, engineers and the mechanics here, what can we do for next year? So please review what we did this year, what was a concern? What was a problem? In terms of the trackside (operations), the management, I asked them to make a list and then discuss it internally, discuss with R&D, and then bring ideas for next year. That’s what I asked them.”
Honda supplied two teams last season for the first time since its return to F1 in 2015, and Tanabe said the concept of mixing experienced staff with new members across both Red Bull and Toro Rosso worked well.
“We support two teams equally, of course PU specification, everything equal,” he said.
“And then the number of engineers and mechanics was equal, the scale also equal, so when we started (2019), some people from the previous year moved to Red Bull, some were new to Toro Rosso. So we mixed the (experienced) people and then made our support level the same. We’ll keep the same style for next year. Not only next year – always!”