Red Bull switch to Honda engines

A couple of seasons ago, I said that Red Bull Racing may just pick up the Honda deal that McLaren couldn’t come to grips with and have their own engine supplier and that’s exactly what has happened. Red Bull Racing were not happy with their Renault engine performance and they wanted a new supplier. Unfortunately Mercedes and Ferrari refused to supply the team. They were stuck as Honda was still with McLaren and the only option was Renault.

Red Bull extended its Renault supply, as the only choice it had, but renamed the power unit a TAG instead of a Renault. They also began a partnership with Aston Martin, having loaned Adrian Newey to the car maker for a super car design, and began whispering of a new engine supply from them. For Aston’s part, there weren’t keen to enter Formula 1 under the current regulations though and said they would wait until 2021 to potentially enter.

When Honda left McLaren and joined Toro Rosso, I believed that the junior team would work the niggles out of the Honda engine in 2018 and prep it for the big team to come over in 2019 and that’s what has happened. Red Bull is a privateer and having their own engine supplier is a very important issue for them if they want to compete for world championships. It isn’t going to happen using a Mercedes or Ferrari and the Renault is still down on power and committed to its own works team. Honda is the best choice for a long-term potential.

This leaves the concept of Aston Martin and to be honest, I believe Christian Horner could do a lot more with an international car maker like Honda and their resources than Aston Martin. There’s no mystery why the deal they signed is for two seasons. That’s when Aston says they might enter the sport if the engines are cheaper to make and less complex. I would argue that Honda have a lot more resources to dedicate to Red Bull than Aston do but we’ll see. Here is the official press release from the team:

The Team is proud to announce that it has reached an agreement with Honda Motor Co Ltd to race with the Japanese manufacturer’s power units for the 2019 and 2020 Formula 1 seasons.

Team Principal Christian Horner said: “This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s efforts to compete not just for grand prix wins but for what is always our goal – championship titles.

“We have always taken decisions such as this dispassionately and with only one criteria in mind – do we believe the outcome will allow us to compete at a higher level. After careful consideration and evaluation we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the Team.” He added: “We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso, and by the scope of their ambition, which matches our own. We look forward to working with Honda in the coming years and to racing together in pursuit of F1’s biggest prizes.”

The Team will continue to race under the name of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.

Takahiro Hachigo, President & Representative Director of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. said: “Having established a good relationship with Scuderia Toro Rosso, we have decided to extend our Formula 1 involvement to the other team in the Red Bull family, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, as from the 2019 season. Having two teams means we can access twice as much data as previously. We believe that working with both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing will allow us to get closer to our goal of winning races and championships, building two strong partnerships. Discussions proceeded very quickly, thanks to Red Bull’s open and respectful attitude towards Honda, leading to a deal that is fair and equitable for all parties.”

Our partnership with Honda deepens Red Bull’s collaboration with the Japanese manufacturer, which in 2018 entered into a partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso. Red Bull and Honda have already enjoyed success together in motorsport on both four and two wheels.

“Honda’s alignment with both Red Bull Formula 1 teams provides enormous potential,” Christian Horner said. “Honda will have access to a wealth of data from both outfits, with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing leading the way, and the opportunities for faster, more effective and more competitive development are doubled.”

With this announcement, the 2018 season brings to an end the Team’s 12-year relationship with current power unit supplier Renault.

The Team first used Renault power in 2007 and during F1’s V8 engine era the partnership yielded 47 grand prix victories and eight world championship titles (four Drivers’ and four Constructors’) between 2010 and 2013, and a further ten grand prix victories since then.

Commenting on the team’s time with Renault, Christian Horner added: “We would like to thank Renault for the past 12 years, a period during which we experienced some incredible moments together. We have sometimes had our differences but Renault has always worked tirelessly and to the best of its ability to provide us with a competitive power unit. That is still the case today and we would like to thank the Renault team, and particularly the guys in our garage at every race, for their unstinting commitment and we look forward to ending our partnership on a high come the end of this season. Our focus for the rest of this year is still very much on delivering the best results possible in the 2018 Championship and we wish Renault Sport all the best for the future.”

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This is exactly why I like Red Bull Racing. It’s clearly a risky move, but there’s a ton of upside potential. The key will be creating a healthy partnership with Honda. That’s something McLaren couldn’t do 2015-17.


The McLaren – Honda model wasn’t working. McLaren seemed to want Honda all to themselves which only gave Honda two cars to test on. If its me, I want 4 or more engines to get mileage on and get data from than just two (especially when those cars were doing good to complete lap 1). Honda have showed potential this year as they are consistently finishing races. I hope the Red Bull teams can get a Honda powered car up to speed by early next season so we can see more teams fighting for the top spot. That can only… Read more »


Its a brave move from AMRBR, The Honda p.u is certainly much improved this season, but still the highest p.u element usage so far. So a high risk of reliability affecting their competitiveness, just when they have clawed themselves up to a competitiveness after 5 seasons off the pace. And its only two seasons until the new regulations.
The other challenge they will have is shifting to a long wheelbase design, so they can fit ‘Aston Martin Red Bull Racing – Mugen Honda’ down the side ;-)


Definitely seems to be the right move to me. The relationship between Renault and Red Bull has been…contentious…in the past few seasons. It was just a matter of time before a change occurred. The BIG question for RB at this point is what Adrian Newey is going to do. There are rumors that he may be considering a change. Could RB get a competitive engine just as they lose their Adrian Newey Ace In The Hole?

Intrigue! And people wonder what we like about F1!

Tom Firth

Good. It’s a risk but it solves a lot of issues so it is worth it.


Carlos to STR
Gasly to RBR
Daniel to ?????


Renault, or McLaren?
Or maybe Ferrari, or Mercedes,
But probably, stay at AMRBR-MH


I’d prefer Ferrari, but he would be a team leader at Renault.