Scuderia Toro Rosso has announced that it has reached a multi-year agreement with Honda Motor Co. Ltd. to run Honda power units starting from the 2018 Formula 1 season. The deal will see the Italian team switch power units for the third year in a row.
"Ever since its founder Soichiro Honda entered his motorcycles in events, racing has always been a central part of the company's ethos. It's a very exciting challenge and I hope that both parties will gain a great deal from it as we develop together. Honda has a long history in Formula 1, dating back to 1964 when it first entered the sport with its own team and, as an engine supplier it has taken five Drivers' World Championship titles and six Constructors. This heritage, together with the full confidence that we have in Honda's capabilities to succeed, make me strongly believe that we will achieve a fruitful future together."
Technical director James Key proved similarly pleased, despite the issues that Honda has had so far in its Formula One spell since rejoining in 2015.
"We are very pleased with our new partnership with Honda and the opportunities this presents, and we start to work immediately", Key commented.
"It will be a question of adaption of our plans rather than a wholesale change and we are in the process of re-planning our design and production activities in conjunction with Honda to ensure that we both hit all our important deadlines. There are some challenges to face given the time of year but Toro Rosso has faced many difficult tasks with timing in the past and has the flexibility to deal with it. We will be working hard not to only re-design the PU installation but also ensure that this has minimal or no effect on the ongoing development work for 2018 – that is our current target. The architecture of the car will change in line with the PU requirements and our chassis and gearbox designs are currently under review to be adapted accordingly, similarly we will be working closely with Honda on the performance aspects of the PU installation that the chassis will influence to ensure we maximise the potential of the package as a whole from the outset. We look forward to a strong, stable and proactive partnership with our colleagues at Honda."
"Toro Rosso is an experienced team with a youthful energy and history of nurturing the stars of the future. Everyone at Honda is looking forward to working with Toro Rosso, and we are excited to start this new chapter in our Formula 1 journey with them. I would like to express our appreciation to Liberty Media and the FIA for their cooperation toward the realization of this partnership. Honda and Toro Rosso will work as one team to strive for progress and a successful future together. We appreciate the support of our fans as we begin this challenge."
The note of thanks to the FIA is especially worth mentioning, and considered vital in the deal going through after McLaren opted not to continue with Honda. This move required one of the Renault supplied teams to switch to Honda, as the French manufacturer was only prepared to supply three teams.
"Renault Sport Racing can confirm that it has mutually agreed the termination of its partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso at the end of the 2017 season. Renault Sport Racing has partnered with Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2014, 2015 and 2017 seasons, scoring 137 points in this period, with a best-finish of fourth twice achieved by Max Verstappen in 2015."