Honda partnership "a release" for Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso technical director James Key says the Formula 1 team's new partnership with Honda gives it a "release" to achieve its ambitions in grand prix racing.

Honda partnership "a release" for Toro Rosso
 Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
James Key, Technical Director, Scuderia Toro Rosso, and Franz Tost, Team Principal, Scuderia Toro Rosso
Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
 Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Paul Monaghan, Red Bull Racing Chief Engineer and James Key, Scuderia Toro Rosso Technical Director
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12

Red Bull's junior team will have a works engine partnership for the first time next season, having ceased its Renault customer status in order to take over McLaren's vacated Honda supply.

Key, who worked at Force India and Sauber before joining Toro Rosso, said it was a big moment for the team.

"It feels very exciting," Key told Motorsport.com. "Like a release really, because it's the sort of thing that you always want to do to make the next step with your team, and it hasn't been possible until now.

"It's a huge challenge, and it's also a huge responsibility to that company as well. It's nice to have a partner rather than a supplier.

"You can really talk about the whole project and work out what the globally best solutions can be."

During McLaren-Honda's tumultuous reunion, the quality of communication between the British team and the Japanese manufacturer was often under scrutiny.

"I have to say that the communication flow has been really good, they are incredibly quick at being able to respond to requests and questions," said Key.

"They seem to have a lot of information available, either to hand, or they're able to find out pretty quickly if you need a particular bit of data.

"We've had a lot of technical discussions, and they have supported it and communicated it very well."

Toro Rosso's Honda deal has come together after the team started work on its 2018 chassis, but Key reckons it is much better than when it picked up a year-old Ferrari supply deal late in 2015.

"We've built up a resilience and flexibility in the team to having to cope with late decisions or changes of direction, which sometimes you might expect and other times you may not," he added.

"Because we've been through it on a number of occasions before, we're very proactive with our planning, and put as much forethought into something as possible.

"If it looks like something might happen, we start immediately talking in the background about 'What if?' scenarios.

"It's several months earlier than the Ferrari situation in 2015. It's quite a bit easier to deal with, although there's a lot of work to do."

Honda made it clear it felt the split from McLaren was in the best interests of both parties, and McLaren co-owner Mansour Ojjeh said he is "happy" it has found another team to supply in the form of Toro Rosso.

"It's like irreconcilable differences in a marriage or something," he said. "They've done as much as they could. And we've done as much as we could, and it didn't work."

shares
comments
Renault "not afraid" of being beaten by McLaren in 2018
Previous article

Renault "not afraid" of being beaten by McLaren in 2018

Next article

Ferrari risks "chaos" with big technical overhaul

Ferrari risks "chaos" with big technical overhaul
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Prime

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021