F1: Can Honda give Red Bull Racing its 5th World Championship?
The motorsports world has been captivated by the very highly anticipated two-year engine deal between Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
Red Bull Team principal Christian Horner has been quoted as saying, “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.”
Considering the recent form of Honda, this deal appears to be a brave one even though Horner has said that the team has taken this step following rigorous data and performance analysis of its sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Honda on other hand are happy with the deal and a new relationship with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, and have expressed that this move is a step closer to the championship.
The decision of abruptly ending the 12-year relationship with Renault came as a result of deficient performances and reliability issues. It goes without saying that the split didn’t go down well with Renault, who have reportedly said that they will make Red Bull repent over Red Bull’s decision to go for the Honda engine in its quest for the championship.
Honda in the past have shown incredible performance as an engine constructor, specially in the 1983-1992 era. They dominated the constructors back then and gave several sleepless nights to big names like Ferrari.
Honda started off as an engine partner in 1983 with Spirit racing, but their push for the title started in 1984 when Tyrell Racing started achieving great results for the team and for Honda. The first taste of championship success came with Williams in 1986 when Sir Nigel Mansell won the WDC (World Drivers Championship), and that was followed by Nelson Piquet in 1987.
Drivers in that era believed that they could power up from any grid position if they had Honda engines at the back. Honda enjoyed four consecutive world championships with McLaren before withdrawing from the sport.
Honda returned to Formula 1 as an engine supplier in 2015 for McLaren, but they didn’t perform as expected. The continued their poor form with slow engines and reliability issues until 2017, ultimately resulting in the McLaren-Honda split.
Honda almost lost its market when that deal ended, but Red Bull's sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso decided to go for Honda engines in 2018.
This year Honda is performing better, having secured a P4 (Position 4) in Bahrain and P7 at the difficult track of Monaco where Gasly almost caught the front group just behind Esteban Ocon in Force India.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. are known for their hard work and they have surely improved a lot. Still, it is brave of Red Bull Racing to give Honda a chance, considering the fact that they have not shown anything spectacular since 2015.