After checking the sporting regulation for 2018, there seems to be some penalty for changing engine mid season, but maybe I'm misunderstanding the vocabulary there:
8.3 A competitor may change the make of engine at any time during the Championship.
All points scored with an engine of different make to that which was first entered in the Championship may count (and will be aggregated) for the assessment of a commercial benefit, however such points will not count towards (nor be aggregated for) the FIA Formula One Constructors Championship.
A major car manufacturer may not directly or indirectly supply engines for more than three teams of two cars each without the consent of the FIA.
For the purposes of this Article 8.3, a major car manufacturer is a company whose sha
For the 2018 season, the team official entry is listed as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing with a Tag Heuer engine.
https://www.fia.com/events/fia-formula- ... entry-list
If I read it properly, in the case Red Bull were to run a Honda and not a Tag Heuer in 2018, the points scored would not count for the constructor's championship, rendering the season useless in term of championship.
It's pretty much set in stone now that 2018 will be the last year for Red Bull and Renault, and although not impossible, I find it improbable that they would run a Honda engine in 2018.
F1 is a small world, last year we had heard of the existence of an aerodynamic loophole (T-wing) few weeks before any launches, so it would be surprising that zero info would have leaked of such a massive change one week ahead of the rb14 launch.
If we look at it pragmatically, sacrificing Torro Rosso for one year and spending large amount of money with Honda to basically run a test season for 2019 seems to be to the advantage of Red Bull. At the same time, if Renault did an ok job Red Bull could once again claim several victories this year, so why sacrifice this and rush a 2018 swap? To satisfy fans and piss Renault off?
Will see soon enough anyway.