Going for it: Red Bull F1 team confirm switch to Honda power units for 2019
Posted By: Editor   |  19 Jun 2018   |  12:11 pm GMT  |  304 comments

The tectonic plates moved slowly on this over the last few years but the inevitable has happened and Red Bull Racing have confirmed that they will become the works Honda powered team in 2019, ending their partnership with Renault after twelve seasons.

This raises the prospect of Red Bull winning with Honda, with McLaren having reversed out of the deal in favour of becoming a Renault customer.

McLaren’s relationship with Honda was irreparably damaged by three seasons of broken promises. But Honda has steadily improved with Toro Rosso this year and now Christian Horner and the senior management team, following months of deliberation, have teamed up with Honda officially on a two-year deal. Horner confirmed that the agreement is “multi-year”.

“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,” said Horner.

“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.”

Honda returned to Formula One as a power unit supplier with McLaren in 2015, but their turbulent partnership was ended in 2017, with McLaren switching to Renault power.

Honda then agreed to supply Toro Rosso for 2018, with a view to also run in the Red Bull senior team from 2019.

“We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1,” said Horner, “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 deal marks the first time Honda have supplied two Formula One teams since the 2008 season, where they supplied their works Formula One team and Super Aguri.

“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,” said Takahiro Hachigo, President & Representative Director of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

“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.”

The new deal ends Red Bull’s association with Renault, a partnership which has yielded 57 grand prix wins, four drivers’ championships and four constructors’ championships.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates winning a fourth drivers title at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix

Red Bull’s choice of power unit supplier for 2019 was believed to hinge on the progress shown at the Canadian Grand Prix, where updates to both the Renault and Honda power units were introduced.

Their decision to switch to Honda power comes on the week of Renault’s home race, the French Grand Prix, and, with Red Bull being the highest-placed Renault-powered team, the news will be a big blow to the Renault works team’s ability to monitor their own progress against Red Bull.

“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,” Horner added.

“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.”

All Images: Motorsport Images

How successful do you think the Red Bull – Honda partnership will be? Leave your comments below.

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Chris Sturgeon

If Red Bull do well with Honda, and they might, what will that say about McLaren?


You know its funny Brown denied all the stories of Freddo Frogs.. From past experiance F1 “stories” many times come to light lol…. Will Dan drive for 20 Million Freddo Frogs?


I believe Daniel will sign with Renault due to RB signing with Honda. Renault desperately need him, Dan knows the Renault engine is half way decent, and they will be on the upward trajectory Him going to a work’s team and being number 1 driver will be his best opportunity to challenge for the top step. He won’t be going to Fer & Merc, , why go and take that gamble with RB/Honda just to be number 1.5 driver ok, number 2 driver.


A story comes out saying Mclaren are looking at Danny. Then a story comes out that Ferrari are looking at Leclerc,…. ie. Danny and Ferrari aren’t looking (are talking out the finer points of a contract) at each other.

Come on Merc swoop in and take him.


I’ve been say it since last year, & I’ll say it again.

Danny Ric WDC 2019 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda.

This also opens the door for Repsol sponsorship to coincide with Marc Marquez moving to 4 wheels in 2021.


I highly doubt it. Just because RB signed Honda does not mean that they will magically come good with the engine. I cannot wait for the clash between Honda and the dynamic duel (Horner & the old guy). This weekend we saw TR drivers raising doubt over reliability on the new Honda engine


This is a very interesting part of a story that started with McLaren and there size zero concept that fails in there faces and was credited to Honda. What we are looking here will be an amazing rise of a engine manufacturer that was disgraced by Alonso and McLaren. Next year you will see what Honda can do in a proper chasis

Shueb Chowdhury

Great to see Red Bull going with Honda. I think Mclaren were a bit stupid and short sighted for being so bullish when they first signed up with Honda. It’s funny how they claimed they will fighting for the championship prior to their first season.

And just show how incompetent the senior management are at Mclaren. No surprise they are struggling with Renault at mo.

I think Redbull and Honda will surprise everyone – they prob won’t get a win in the first season, but they probably will get the odd few podiums. I think 2020 will be the season that red bull and Honda actually become genuine contenders, and if not contenders, certainly winning race in the same manner as they have this season.

I think red bull will reap the benefits of Honda being with mclaren for 3 years, all the mistakes have been made, inefficiencies eradicated, and have slowly gelled with Toro Rosso free of any pressure or expectations. And with both their red bull and hondas huge budgets, they can only be successful.


Huge budgets do not guarantee success. Toyota entered F1 with NO BUDGET. And we all know how that went


I love how this is being presented as a decision for RB to make. Hadn’t Renault already said they were not going to supply RB anymore?

Lots of saving face going on here I think.

It’s a huge jump into the dark, but I hope that it works out and we can have three competitive teams rather than usually just the two. Sadly, I don’t have much faith in Honda to produce the goods here. Their track record isn’t great is it? At the moment it looks like it may just keep RB about where they are on pace but build in a lot more reliability problems.

I wonder what the drivers think? It seems Max knew all about it but Dan? I’d be a bit thrown if it was me. But there’s also not much they can do. Max has his contract and Dan doesn’t seem to be wanted by the big two. Looks like he’s faced with either staying put (with the potential to be the new Mark Webber) or moving to a lesser team. I thought at the time that him very bullishly coming out in public as “on the market” wasn’t the best idea. He may now be faced with having to stay put with a team that aren’t best pleased with him due to the rather amateur way his people have been dealing with his next contract.

I wonder what Newey thinks? He’s jumped to a new challenge a couple of times before but he may be more locked in this time with the Aston Martin connection.

Interesting times at RB. With the potential for carnage. From many directions.


Danny’s not going anywhere if Red Bull have a say, because he’s the only one turning in consistent results, including 2 well earned wins this season. Max has moments of brilliance, sure, but is more often overshadowed by his inconsistency and poor judgement.


Agree with all that apart from DR not leaving. I think there’s a good chance he will. Marko has been making some comments recently that show the team’s patience with him is wearing thin. And if the rumours are true, DR isn’t a fan of the switch to Honda.

And there are stories coming out now that he’s talking to McLaren. Which I think would be a crazy decision. I’d like to think he has more about him than just chasing money.

It’s all going to play out to the finish soon.


If cuts both ways. Dan’s patience with Dr M must be wearing thin too!


RBR has reaped the work that McLaren put in for years in a brilliant way. But I wonder if it’s not really the work of Honda in reality, McLaren got a s***load of money, doing nothing it seems. If they had, they should be where they boasted they were, one of the top teams in chassis and so on, we all know the story. Now RBR are in a brilliant position. Honda has all the potential now, even more so when the new regs kicks in. if not they, RBR, can probably still shop around. I think Ron’s idea was the only reasonable at the time, and they should’ve sorted it out. There are some people in McLaren who should take the blame, not that a divorce is the end of the world but all the other rubbish that’s been going on. And the fall out relationship cant be blamed on Honda, they all need to deal with it to begin with, not expect a miracle from day one, like Alonso, and Zak followed suit it seems, in a very naive way, but how can one driver have so much input in the dealings of a large team is utterly mind bogging.


I have no doubt Lewis will sign as well as Bottas. That’s been kind of settled since some time I would believe. And Ham wont quit now, I think he would have given some notice. But If he do soon, or today, he’s really achieved enough to call it a day anytime. One thing I don’t get, is the constant talk about Ric, media always likes to make stories out of nothing or inflate them. But from he’s fans perspective, I don’t get the urge that seems to linger on for some time now, that he has to get a seat in Merc or Ferrari. As I see it RBR is a great team to be in, both for today and the future. He need to deal with Max, and he’s done that. I can see the fear that he could still be more or less a second driver, since that’s how politics works sometimes in F1 unfortunately. But I cant see where he would be a certain number one, or even for certainty have equal status, of the two other teams, rather harder then where he’s at now, I would say. So I would say stay put, and he seems to get equal treatment at RBR, although there are signs in the horizon that are bothersome, but get a good contract.


@Ashish Sharma

Well if Briatore would be welcome there..just kidding, of course he wont. But keep dreaming;))


Renault, ‘Infiniti’, and now Honda in the space of a few seasons. They truly are the engine tarts of the grid.


And if Honda results don’t pan out for 2019, they can just rename it to “Powered by Aston Martin” for 2020.


You left out TAG.


Cant see this deal improving RBR’s championship prospects until the new engine regs come in, and probably not afterwards either. The last promise a Honda powerplant showed was in 1992…


A works team without naming rights. What are the commercial implications for Red Bull maintaining another car manufacturer as their named sponsor? Given Honda (I assume) will not be paid for the engines, I wonder if/how they are recompensed for that.

Even when Renault were the named works engine manufacturer for Red Bull there was the perception that they received disproportionate levels of recognition for their success.


Disproportionately large or disproportionately small? More recent history shows that the RedBull chassis can make up for a deficiency in the engine. Maybe Renault got to much credit?


@ Gary…Left field, i like it. Add the drivers and again you arrive at a similar construct.


bit vague really but press and public goes into a frenzy of short memory fantasy.

Are they works team of just getting an engine supply?

The fact Aston martin is still part of the team name indicates otherwise.

Why should Honda hide itself behing a small volume boutique operation?

My guess is that red bull are paying for an engine supply.

Quality of the engine is not as important as at mclaren as the car is good.


Red Bull thinks it can win with what Honda is offering them. It will be great for F1 if they do. As for Ricciardo, he will stay at Red Bull unless Hamilton quits F1 at the end of this year.


Things no McLaren fan wants to hear – Cyril Abiteboul – “”And there are a number of things that we could not offer,……., like access to core facilities, because our priority and focus is on the consolidation of the performance of Renault Sport F1.”

WIth Renault saying this openly, is there a chance that Alonso will go back to Renault in 2020 after a season of IndyCar next year?


I think Cyril’s on record already about not trying to recreate past glories with the same people (i.e. Alonso), but rather looking for the next top driver.


I thought Cyril would take Alonso if Renault were championship-ready, as he had mentioned that he thought Renault are not there yet.

“We know that it’s going to take us a bit of time to have a car that can offer that, so clearly the one thing that I would not want is to have a frustrated Fernando in a Renault car, that’s for sure.”

[ https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/131509/renault-not-ready-to-sign-alonso-for-2018 ]

Also Alain Prost has recently said that they hope to be in a position to attract a big name for 2019. [http://www.f1i.com/news/280369-renault-improvement-2018-will-help-attract-leading-name-prost.html ]

Renault is a place where Alonso doesn’t have a bad history unlike, Mercedes, Honda or Ferrari so still seems like an option.


A good move by Red Bull, but the real question is whether this is a long-term partnership or just a bridging deal until Red Bull can run Aston Martin-badged engines in 2021. It looks a little untidy in that regard – if the Honda is working well, there’s little incentive for the team to switch to something untried. If they don’t take the engine, then I’m not sure Aston Martin’s ownership is viable and Mateschitz will still be looking to make his exit from F1. I wonder whether Porsche could ultimately scoop the team up, or Honda might fancy another crack at being a constructor.

At the time McLaren broke the Honda deal, I feared they were doing so at the wrong time. That looks more likely than ever, now. Honda, at McLaren’s urging, took a big gamble for 2017 and it backfired horribly, but they’ve now improved their offering incrementally, to the point where it already looks competitive with McLaren’s Renault units.

It’s hard to envision McLaren’s route back to the front from where they stand today. Ferrari will always be a no-go. They are a competitor of Mercedes. They are a customer of Renault, who have ambitions for their works team to win. They’ve well and truly burnt their bridges to Honda. Their high downforce, high drag design philosophy isn’t really delivering.

Their options are hoping the Cosworth/Aston/McLaren tie-up pays dividends, getting another major manufacturer (who is not a direct road car competitor. Toyota? Peugeot?) to enter F1 and working through all the teething troubles that entails, or tooling Ricardo up to make leading F1 engines (expensive and not a guaranteed success). They’re deep in Williams Territory, now.


I too don’t see how Aston Martin fit into the picture. It seems odd that Mercedes own a 10% share of Aston Martin and supply road car engines but will have nothing to do with Red Bull! Han the car realky be halled an Aston Martin Red bull Honda? If Honda were a supplier to A.M. it might have made sence but since they are not I’m Baffled!

Shanghai Cowboy

That’s why they’ve got to venture into Indycar and wec. Otherwise they will be irrelevant.


…but the real question is whether this is a long-term partnership or just a bridging deal until Red Bull can run Aston Martin-badged engines in 2021. It looks a little untidy in that regard – if the Honda is working well, there’s little incentive for the team to switch to something untried

The thing is, the 2021 reg changes are supposed to make it easier for a new manufacturer to enter the sport. This is largely achieved by dropping the MGU-H. However, this does not automatically mean that any newcomer will immediately be on the same level (or even close enough) as the four current established manufacturers. It might still actually take one or two seasons of building-up to achieve that. Is Red Bull (or McLaren for that matter) willing to go through that again in 2021?


Toro Rosso could take the Aston engine in 2021 with Red Bull following in 2022 or 2023. Honda effectively becomes a back up.


Ballsy move by RB Kenny! No guarantees in the short term.


From a very simple perspective, I fear Danny will have no choice to stay at Red Bull; because Ferrari don’t have the guts to put the Honey Badger next to Vettel. It could become sweet and sour ribs. It’s not in Ferrari to cook that way by the looks.


@ Jam

Currently, Vettel is the best qualifier in F1. No ‘badger’ is going to change that, and a frustrated badger will only cause aggro and damage the team harmony.

However, I do so wish Kimi would sometimes shove Ferrari team harmony up where it belongs and show them a nice bit of aggro with it. That would be something.


Well, I don’t know. Wasn’t Vettel decisively thrashed in 2014 – I mean I was like watching and saying – “Does Vettel NOT feel like racing at Red Bull anymore because Danny is just out-gunning him all over. And didn’t he? I just think that Ferrari don’t want to rock the boat. Giving Leclerc a seat is exciting but I bit too soon. It could destroy him if he doesn’t perform. Don’t really want Leclerc at Ferrari yet, he’s not a Verstappen type. It would be a shame if his reputation was ruined if he under performed too soon. Kimi is exciting sometimes, he pulls some amazing stunts here and there but Ferrari just shaft him and use him. No one denies that now. So – I would be kind of surprised if Ferrari get Danny. He could out-gun Vettel with the same car, he wouldn’t be happy, but like some prominent observers have said, maybe Sebastian just needs to accept that. Anyway, it’s all speculation.


Do you really believe that? Dan outqualified him 12-7 in 2014.


KRB, currently [this year] VET certainly looks unassailable as king qualifier!


Honda: The power of dreams.

RBR: Dreams of power.


So I guess we can expect a few Renault grenades to go “bang” in the back of the Red Bulls for the rest of this season then ….


lol…don’t even know if they’ll go bang rob…just a few pineapples disguised as grenades 😉


Probably not as Renault would like it to appear that RB made the wrong decision even if they are secretly glad to be shot of them!


Great news for all concerned. Now we can all get some sleep … 😉

I wonder how this will affect Dan’s thought process, not just about where to drive next year but as to his future partnerships and those all important sponsorship contracts.

His promise to forge an allegiance with Dale Earnhardt Jr & JR Motorsports after F1 means that he will have to be a staunch Chevrolet man.

The very tight Chev / Earnhardt family connection has been going on for decades. They are considered a part of each other’s DNA.

Chevy’s main rival in America (other than the obvious … Ford) is Honda.

Not sure that Ricci being a highly prominent global marketing face for Honda for the next couple of years or so would go over well in that camp.

Dan stands to earn a massive amount with Earnhardt and Chevrolet in The States. Conservatively speaking, it’ll probably be triple what he’s earned in F1!

For that reason, the Honda deal may be another thorn in RBR’s contract negotiations. Especially if there is a very tasty counter offer from Ferrari on the table.

I know which way I’d go, the complete opposite direction to Max, Jos and Marko!!!

By leaving RBR Dan could tick off some very important career bucket-list items … such as … Drive for Ferrari – Win a championship or two – Drive the best cars in their class for 5 fun years in America with Earnhardt Jr & Chevrolet – and as a nice little bonus – Make a cool hundred million US over those 5 years as a cosy little retirement fund!

But wait, there’s more …

There’s the fact that RBR won’t be paying at least $75 million pa for PUs anymore … which means they can easily offer Dan a King’s ransom to remain under their umbrella … ~$40 mill per year maybe? Even if it’s only a defensive ploy, to keep him out of a Ferrari and selfishly prevent him from beating them, they’d see it as worth the outlay!

Decisions, decisions, decisions …….


This is what needs to happen as dream scenario for all F1 fans.

Vettel wins championship this season.

Kimi retires.

Ferrari and Merc agree a driver swap between Hamilton and Vettel.

Ricciardo joins Merc.

In another shock move Alonso rejoins Ferrari, and Ferrari in an unprecedented move decide to let both drives battle it out.

Bottas joins Mclaren and accidentally gets a win in the 4th race of the season after a major clash between Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso taking each other off.

The season concludes with a four way battle between all Merc and Ferrari drivers. And in the mix of it all Verstappen wins the final 3 races of the season with Honda.

What a season!

Oh and Schumacher makes a full recovery and makes his first public appearance since his accident.


Hamilton is on 50m

Vettel on 60m

Max on 10m

Alonso 30m

Bottas 12m

Ric on 6m

Rumoured: Ric asked (who?) for 33m, McLaren seemingly upped their offer to 20m after Monaco. RB might offer 20m, unlikely any higher.

MB or SF not showing hand, but either can easily come close to what he is asking. RB not likely

Ric wants a championship winning car for next 2 years, which takes RB & McL out, provided of course SF vacates Kimi seat for him.

And just for the Leclerc discussion; he is on 150k.


If a shot at championship is what really RIC care for, 40 mill offer from RB might not hold him there. Not to mention the fact that, it might even rattle the team dynamics due to the vast difference it would create in the pay between VER and RIC.


I thought VER was on $36m now.


Where did you hear that?


Some interesting things there. It depends on whether Dan will go for money over racing for a team like Ferrari and fighting for WDCs. Well, whether Ferrari are interested in him or RBR are willing to offer him a big contract is another matter. Anyway it’s highly unlikely Dan will reject an offer from Ferrari if he gets one, IMO.


Newey and Ricciardo to Renault….

Just imagine….


Newey’s contract is up? Bob bell is happy to relinquish his role?


I don’t know McB, but theres a rumour that Newey has an offer from Renault, which he has yet to deny…


Up until reading this whole thread LKFE I couldn’t….


I’m finding it so hard to read the play for Dan Ricciardo.

Everyone seems to be thinking in terms of joining Ferrari, Merc or stay at Red Bull, each with another driver already in the number 1 car. He might pick up a few more wins with any of those teams, but would spend the whole time hoping the designated number 1 gets tired of doing laps and wants to do something else

Why not be a number 1 driver in a second tier team instead? Like Renault? I could see a scenario making sense of Dan going to Renault as team leader and number 1. Sainz to Red Bull to bring back the sort of team mate pressure Red Bull like to see,


Red Bull must know something about Honda that I don’t know because on the surface this doesn’t seem like a very smart move.

Or Mercedes and Renault are planning to leave F1 next year or in 2020.


Luke, my feeling is that this is part of an exit strategy for Redbull -or at least a downsizing. If the rumour is true and Honda will but TR, they reduce their footprint straight away, then who know’s what Honda might cough up if the RB/Honda combo works.

If i were Mateshitz, i would think this was a good hedge against the uncertainty of Liberty’s direction and what the sport looks like post 2020.


I have a feeling this might turn out to be winning combo like Mclaren/Honda from years gone by. Just a hunch.


@ Luke C my thoughts exactly.

Matthew Cheshire

Renault have never matched Mercedes on power. Even before the hybrids.

Honda has been back for four years and now matches Renault.

Red Bull has pushed them hard for a decade and they know that Renault will only be a 90% solution for the foreseeable future.

Honda is now comparable and has real potential to improve further.

It’s a no-brainer.

And what are the chances that both McLaren and poor old Fernando would take all that pain and then shoot themselves collectively in the feet when the deal was about to bear fruit? We all know that’s about 100%. Admit it.

Torchwood Mobile

To be fair, all things aside, the Honda spokesperson said after 2017 winter testing, that last year was effectively Year One.

I cannot think of anyone who would not have jumped ship, if hearing that in Year Three.


Luke, that’s a bit of a leap!


Time will tell.


Luke, of course, but it has been widely predicted before.


Karma at It’s best when Honda power lapping a furious matador. GP2 engine blowing past him. Sad for McLaren though if it happens.


Irrespective of engine parity, RB is going to blow past ALO.

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